Summer 2017 Issue 17

California State Budget Increases Dependency Counsel Funding by $22 Million!

After 5 years of hard work, relentless advocacy, and unstoppable commitment - we did it! The final California state budget for the coming year includes a $22 million increase for Dependency Counsel funding. 

To all of our allies who made phone calls and wrote letters –thank you for standing up for abused and neglected children and their families. We could not have done it without you. You are making a difference!  By giving dependency attorneys across the state the tools we need to be best we can be, you have given tens of thousands of foster children a fighting chance at a better future. 

And to every single overworked and underpaid dependency attorney, investigator, peer advocate, secretary, administrator, case manager, back office and front office staff... you are the heart, soul, backbone, sunshine and shining star for thousands of children and families - you are true heroes  - thank you. 

We are filled with gratitude, joy and relief!

Many people joined us in this effort over the years, and more than ever this year. Of special note though - Senator (and Senate Budget Chair) Holly Mitchell, Assembly Member Mark Stone, Senator Jim Beall, Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Assembly and Senate staffer Marvin Deon, lobbyists Steve Coony, Ed Howard, Dion Aroner, and Susanna Kniffin - you have been with us from the very beginning - never giving up hope and staying mission-focused for 5 years.

CLC Has a New Home!

CLC is thrilled to announce that we have moved into our brand-new headquarters in Los Angeles! At long last, our LA-based staff of nearly 300 are together in our beautiful new location just steps away from the Edelman Children’s Courthouse.

With the support of a grant from The Ahmanson Foundation, pro bono design services from Gensler, and our generous landlord Chase Partners LTD, the entire space has been renovated from top to bottom in a green and environmentally sustainable manner whenever possible, including solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations in our parking lot. The open design allows natural light to pour in, and staff are enjoying the large communal ‘café’ complete with freshly prepared food and beverages for sale, inviting seating and a barbeque area on our patio.

CLC Staff to Present at NACC Annual Conference

This summer, advocates in child welfare, juvenile justice and family law from across the country will gather in New Orleans for the 40th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference. The three-day conference will be held at The Roosevelt Hotel from August 10 through August 12, with a pre-conference ‘Red Book’ training on August 9th.

CLC is proud to be presenting two workshops at the conference. Executive Director Leslie Heimov and Supervising Attorney Jennifer McCartney will host “Lessons Learned from In re Alexandria P.: The Importance of Independent Child’s Counsel in Placement Decisions, the Importance of Focusing on the Whole Child and the Role of Media in Child Welfare.”

News from Sacramento

May 4, 2017 marked the annual ‘Big Day of Giving,’ an on-line giving challenge in Sacramento County (also known by Sacramento locals as ‘BigDOG’).  Coordinated by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, BigDOG is a 24-hour fundraising event that serves to highlight hundreds of non-profits and the critical services they provide in and around Sacramento.  BigDOG offers participating non-profits an invaluable opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to their local community.

Employee Highlight: Petra Alexander

CLC Attorney Petra Alexander was honored by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Los Angeles on April 7, 2017 for her incredible dedication to her work and her clients (CASA volunteers work with CLC attorneys on particularly complex cases in which CASAs are able to spend a great deal of time assisting our clients). An attorney with CLC since 2005, Petra is known by colleagues as a zealous advocate for her clients; those who work closely with her say that in working with Petra, you “have to bring your ‘A’ game” because of how diligently she knows the facts, the law, and every detail of her young client’s case. Indeed, one CASA present stated that Petra “makes us strive to be the best CASAs we can be.”

Client Spotlight: Lizett Cruz

Lizett entered foster care at the age of fifteen following her mother’s sudden and tragic death resulting from a brain aneurysm (an autopsy later revealed that she also suffered from pancreatic cancer). Lizett and her mother were extremely close and Lizett was left reeling and devastated by the loss, saying that her mom ‘did everything for me.’ Lizett never knew her father who had passed away years before. Lizett continued living with her stepfather, but as she grieved, their relationship deteriorated and Lizett decided to leave home to move in with her boyfriend.