Public Health

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.

Woman in green shirt and protective gloves put delivered box with food products on wooden table in kitchen.

How Grocery Shopping Online Could Help Close Equity Gaps

Low-income families can’t easily shop for groceries online, contributing to COVID-19 disparities—but allowing them to use food stamps online could help. Food policy advocates are asking the state to provide online purchasing opportunity for pregnant women and families with young children who get benefits through WIC.

Health equity is a key reason why allowing WIC recipients to shop online is so critical. California has the largest WIC program in the U.S. and most recipients are people of color.

How Have Wildfires Affected You? Tell Us Your Story

In California, we now regularly see wildfires rip through communities, forcing mass evacuations, devastating homes and sometimes claiming lives. And this summer, on top of fire season, we have COVID-19.

These disasters also take a toll on mental health. We want to hear your story.

If you’ve been affected by a wildfire in the last 10 years, or if you are a mental health professional working with survivors, you can help by filling out a brief survey.

What We Can Learn About Resilience from Indigenous Leaders

Germaine Omish-Lucero’s ancestors were taken from their homes and forced to build California’s Mission San Luis Rey de Francia—a mission in what is now Oceanside, California—about 200 years ago. There, they were exposed to diseases such as measles, to which they had no immunity.

As a new tragedy—the coronavirus pandemic—grips the globe, what can we learn from indigenous leaders like Omish-Lucero about resilience?

For Californians Without Water Access, Coronavirus Adds Another Layer of Struggle

As Californians across the state shelter at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an estimated 1 million of them lack access to clean drinking water, one of the most fundamental resources for maintaining health and hygiene.

Many of these residents are concentrated in rural parts of the state, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, where dozens of small public water systems fail to meet safety standards.

Community Groups Serve as Pandemic Information Lifeline to Non-English Speakers

Across the state, groups that serve immigrant and ethnically diverse populations are scrambling to meet a sudden surge in demand for coronavirus-related information in languages other than English.

While state and local authorities do provide translations of some information, particularly in more widely-spoken languages such as Spanish, there remain huge gaps in what is available, particularly given the speed at which news and policies around the coronavirus are developing.

Pandemic Underscores the Plight of Undocumented Californians

California is home to more than 2 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Now, in the unprecedented economic and health emergency of COVID-19, undocumented Californians are among the most vulnerable.

Some immigrant advocacy groups are calling on the state to extend unemployment insurance and the earned income tax credit to undocumented workers to cushion the economic blow from job losses.

Coronavirus Disrupts Services, Heightens Risk for Medically Fragile Children

Even though children in general are less likely than adults to develop serious illness from the coronavirus, that may not be the case for kids with compromised immune systems and complex health care needs, medical experts said.

Still, families of children with complex health care needs are, in some ways, more prepared than others to handle the threat of coronavirus infection. Hand washing, disinfecting and caution about venturing outside are already a reality.

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