children

California Laws Don’t Prevent Minors from Marrying Adults

In California, a person under 18 can marry with the consent of one parent and a judge. The state is one of only nine in the nation that do not set a minimum age for marriage.

People married as children or teens are more likely to experience domestic violence, contract sexually transmitted infections, have early pregnancies, and end up divorced, research shows. Marriage under 18 also contradicts age of consent laws in many states.

Analysis: Want a Mostly Normal School Year? Get Kids to Wear Masks!

We made the decision to send our son back to in-person school last year despite his vulnerability to infection because our district came up with a reasonable, safe plan to make it possible: Every student had to wear a mask.

Just as we were gearing up for a mostly safe year back at school, the Clovis Unified school board decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and create unnecessary confusion over which mask policies would be enforced, despite clear state guidance.

Opinion: What California Must Do for Kids’ Mental Health

Due to systemic inequities, children and teens of color are affected more often when it comes to mental health crises, with Latinos ages 10 through 19 representing nearly 40 percent of the total deaths by suicide among Californians in this age range in 2017.

The simple truth is that California does not have a sustainable, long-term plan to support children and teenager’s mental well-being. We cannot continue to cobble together a broken system that perpetuates inequity. Here are some recommendations.

African American father gave piggyback ride to his little daughter and having a good time together walking around the neighborhood while wearing mask during social distancing and new normal

Opinion: During a Pandemic, We Can’t Lose This Avenue to Health Equity

How can anyone think about taking away health coverage and critical consumer protections at all, let alone during a pandemic?

California fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, which allowed it to expand Medicaid and create Covered California, our state’s health insurance marketplace. As a result, our uninsured rate fell a whopping 53 percent between 2010 and 2015. Over the last 10 years, we have made tremendous gains in California and across the country. Now is not the time to go backward.

Nakenya Allen outside her home in Martinez, California. Martin do Nascimento / Resolve Magazine

How Families Are Fighting Racism and Disability Discrimination

Many parents of children with special needs — regardless of race — struggle to receive prompt diagnoses and services. But for families of color, the challenge is more acute.

“There’s just a lot of systemic racism,” said Kausha King, director of the Community Empowerment Project, a program that provides navigation support and training to Black families of children with special needs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

A mother grocery shops with her child in San Francisco, pre-pandemic. Photo by Kirkikis/iStock.

Opinion: One Thing We All Agree On

If there is one issue most Americans would agree on right now, it’s that we should protect our youngest children from hunger during the Covid-19 crisis. And yet the closure of child care facilities in California and across the country means hundreds of thousands of infants and young children may not be getting the free meals they regularly depend on.

As the pandemic continues, the government needs to take stronger action to ensure that our youngest children aren’t going hungry.

Black mother embraces little preschool daughter sitting on couch together at home.

Opinion: We Need a Safety Net for Children Experiencing Toxic Stress

COVID-19 is decimating our outdated safety net, and the vital links between families and their local economic, health and social supports.

The pandemic has made “underlying conditions” the new code phrase for the social and health inequities disproportionately impacting black and brown communities.

Shelter-in-place policies are compounding the isolation, stress, misinformation and trauma that are common to many communities of color.

A crowd of people wearing face masks in Los Angeles during COVID-19 face masks in Los Angeles

Opinion: The Pandemic Is Exposing How Fragile My Patients’ Lives Are

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on millions of Californians. This is especially true among low-income families, including my patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Most of our families barely get by in the best of times. How will they fare during a viral-induced economic downturn? The pandemic is exposing how fragile their lives are.

Doctor’s Notes: How to Protect Children as the Coronavirus Spreads

As a pediatrician and a father, I can tell you that children are able to sense fear among caregivers. I encourage parents to have age-appropriate conversations with their children to understand what they’ve heard, answer their questions and provide comfort.

We’re all in this together and solidarity will get us through this pandemic.

Opinion: Trump Is Traumatizing Children. California Must Protect Them

The federal administration’s attacks on immigrant families and children have been relentless. An entire generation of children is being traumatized.

As the daughter of immigrants and the president of a children’s advocacy organization that advocates for the healthy development and wellbeing of all children, this period of crisis is both personal and professional.

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