Author: Claudia Boyd-Barrett

Bill Would Reverse ‘Discriminatory’ Policy That Mostly Impacts Women of Color

California is close to revising a rule that excludes family caregivers from unemployment.

If signed into law, the bill is expected to extend unemployment eligibility to more than 119,000 family caregivers, who are primarily low-income women of color, according to a home care workers union. Supporters say that’s only fair, given that people employed as in-home caregivers who are not family members do receive unemployment benefits.

Pandemic Pushes Parents Of Kids With Special Needs To Breaking Point

Thousands of parents across California are caring for children with physical, behavioral and developmental conditions. They typically rely on a small army of teachers, therapists, nurses and other caregivers to get through the week. But that has been stripped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents are feeling isolated, stressed and overwhelmed at a time when families need more support than ever to deal with a loss of routine, heightened anxiety and other challenges.

Amid Pandemic, Young Kids With Special Needs Missing Out On Services

As COVID-19 disrupts the transition from early intervention to school, children are going without occupational, physical and speech therapies and other services they’re entitled to.

The danger, advocates for children with special needs said, is that these kids are missing out on interventions at a critical moment in their lives. Since mid-March, California’s complex special needs care system has struggled to move children from one program to another, parents and advocates said.

How Colleges Are Supporting Students Leaving Abusive Relationships

Relationship violence threatens not only students’ physical safety and emotional well-being, but also their academic prospects. Some campuses are finding solutions to help keep survivors in school.

Federal law requires schools and universities that receive government funding to prevent gender-based violence and harassment, and address the needs of survivors so they can continue their education. Survivors have the right to special accommodations such as extra time to complete their school work.

A mother hugging her child.

For Survivors of Violence and Their Kids, a Push to Prioritize Housing

Domestic violence, the leading cause of homelessness among women and children, is increasing during the pandemic, but a way for survivors to get “housing first” is a bright light.

While people from all socioeconomic backgrounds experience domestic violence, low-income survivors and immigrant women are especially at risk of becoming homeless due to lack of resources.

Former foster youth Diana Pham, 26, celebrates her graduation from San Jose State University in May. She completed her degree online after the school halted online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

California Considers Extending Foster Care for Young Adults Until Pandemic Emergency Ends

More than 7,000 young people ages 18 to 21 are in California’s foster care system. These young people, and others who recently aged out of foster care, are struggling under the weight of the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Meeting the needs of foster youth is also a racial justice issue. A disproportionate percentage of foster youth are Black or Native American, largely due to structural inequality and racism.

Two seniors wearing masks sit on a bench near Venice beach in mid-April.

For Seniors, Another COVID-19 Hazard: Scammers

Advocates who work with seniors are bracing for a new wave of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already, California Senior Medicare Patrol, which helps Medicare beneficiaries avoid fraud, has received reports of several new scams. Fraudsters have visited residents in senior housing offering them “opportunities” for COVID-19 testing in exchange for their Medicare number. Con artists posing as Medicare officials have called seniors and promised them a (non-existent) COVID-19 vaccine.

At High Risk From Coronavirus, Undocumented Seniors Fear Seeking Medical Care

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to fulfill a budget proposal that would expand Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented seniors.

They argue that having thousands of uninsured elderly residents in the state puts these seniors and the broader public at risk. Many see it as a step toward a broader goal: extending coverage to all low-income, undocumented adults.

Kids Who Rely On Ventilators Can’t Get Enough Supplies, Putting Their Lives At Risk

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for ventilators and accessories has soared. As a result, families caring for medically fragile kids are being forced to ration and even reuse parts.

At least 3,000 children in California rely on ventilators, according to the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, and many of them are facing a shortage of the supplies that help keep them alive.

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