Monday, November 30, 2009

Calendar events added

Be sure to look at the calendar at the very bottom of the blog for new events, trainings, advocacy opportunities, etc.

DHCD public hearing, December 9

Public hearing on DC’s FY 2009 Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report:   The hearing (noticed in the November 27 DC Register) is being held on December 9 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.   The purpose of the hearing is to discuss how effective the District has been in using the $38 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to meet the housing and community development needs of the city and its residents.

Funding was given through four programs:   the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; the HOME Investment Partnerships Program; the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) program; and the Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

The public comments will be part of DHCD’s and the District’s evaluation, as required by federal regulations (24 CFR 91.520).   This hearing is reserved for a discussion of the District’s FY 2009 performance.

More information about the hearing, such as how to register to testify, is in the hearing notice.

Proactive apartment inspections roundtable, 12/16

Public roundtable, “Implementation of the Proactive Inspections Program by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs”:   This December 16, 10:00 am roundtable is being held by the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (CM Bowser, Ward 4, chair).   The purpose is to hear from the public about DCRA’s implementation of the proactive inspections program.

What is the proactive inspections program?   It is an inspection program for all 4,000 multi-unit rental properties in the District of Columbia.   All units will be inspected regardless of whether complaints have been lodged by tenants.

DCRA has additional information on their Web site.   This information includes consent forms for tenants in the event they are not present at the inspection.   The forms are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Amharic.   Also online is the inspection schedule for the current month and a searchable database of past inspections.

Details about how to testify are in the hearing notice.

Comment on Healthy People 2020

Every ten years, the federal government (HHS) considers the research, scientific insights, and lessons learned over the past decade and creates science-based, 10-year national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease.   The set of objectives is known as Healthy People; the forthcoming plan from the feds, then, is Healthy People 2020.

Healthy People 2020 "will reflect assessments of major risks to health and wellness, changing public health priorities, and emerging issues related to our nation's health preparedness and prevention."   (Healthy People 2020,   The kinds of areas covered in HP2020 are access to health services, adolescent health, early and middle childhood, educational and community-based programs, and injury and violence prevention.

The proposed national Healthy People 2020 objectives are online and the public is encouraged to comment.   Comments may be submitted or by emailing HP2020 [AT] hhs [DOT] gov.   Comments are due by December 31.

There are more than 40 objectives related to school and adolescent health.   The American School Health Association has pulled these objectives together in this document   Given the demonstrated value of school-based health and the District's interest in expanding offerings in schools (see this post on funding for such programs), those interested in teens should pay particular attention to these objectives.

The District presumably will update its Healthy People 2020 plan.   That said, there is no information on a process on the DOH Web site.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Council presser November 30, 10:00 am

The Council Chair will hold a pre-Legislative Meeting presser on November 30 at 10:00 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.   On the agenda are a preview of the December 1 leg session and various announcements from members of the City Council.   Questions?   Email dmccoy [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us.

Mayor Fenty on homelessness, housing and HIV/AIDS on 11/30

Mayor Fenty talks homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing at 10:30 on November 30.   He will deliver his remarks at the Department of Housing and Community Development, 1800 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE.   In the afternoon, Mayor Fenty will attend the Obama Administration's discussion on HIV/AIDS; that is at 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On January 1, 2010 education in DC will change

Check out the continuing education section of the Community College of the District of Columbia Web site for the latest on the offerings beginning in January 2010.   Continuing ed is launching more than 500 online classes on January 1, 2010.   And, what is most personally and professionally gratifying is (drum roll please) is the inaugural live class "Elements of Effective Advocacy:   How to Engage District Government."   Bonnie Cain and I will be teaching.

Sign up for the CCDC email list to stay apprised of the many changes that will be made over the coming months.

Fenty's re-election site

If you've not signed up for email updates from the Fenty re-election campaign, or at least visited the Web site, you probably should.   Good opportunity to stay on top of the campaign if you are an advocate or a supporter.

Mayor to remark on DCRA inspections today

Mayor Fenty will give remarks at 3:30 pm today at a press conference where DCRA will announce proactive inspections.   The event will take place at 1626 21st Pl SE.

Funding for school-based health centers

Last week in this post I shared the value of school-based wellness centers for adolescents.   So as not to give the impression that the District does not recognize their value, I wanted to be sure to bring to your attention the recently released Notice of Funding Availability for school-based health centers.   The NOFA seeks proposals for three schools:   Ballou Senior High School, Coolidge Senior High School, and Anacostia Senior High School.

Olga Acosta Price running specialty GW health care center

Apologies for the delayed notice but congrats to Olga Acosta Price, PhD who, in early October, was appointed Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. The Center is sponsored by the GW School of Public Health and its Department of Prevention and Community Health.   You may remember that Dr. Price spent time at the Department of Mental Health where she launched the School Mental Health Program and nurtured its growth over six years.   More here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Council hearings noticed in 11/20 DCR

There are a number of hearing notices published in the November 20, 2009 DC Register related to children and youth:
  • B18-449, "Foster Care Youth Identity Protection Amendment Act of 2009", public hearing:   The Committee on Human Services (CM Wells, Ward 6, chair) is holding a public hearing on December 9 at 1:00 pm.   The purpose of the legislation is to discover if foster kids, prior to their emancipation, have had their identities stolen.   Details about testifying are in the hearing notice.
  • Aquatic programs in the Department of Parks and Recreation:   The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (CM Thomas, Ward 5, chair) is holding a public oversight hearing on December 7 at 10:00 am.   The purpose of the hearing is to consider concerns and challenges in DPR.   Details about the hearing, including how to testify, are in the hearing notice.
  • Youth Issues:   The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vince Gray, At-large, chair) is holding the next youth-only hearing on December 12 at 10:00 am.   Details are in the hearing notice.
  • "The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration" public oversight roundtables:   The Committee on Health (CM Catania, At-large, chair) has scheduled two hearings concerning the administration’s performance in facilitating and monitoring the delivery of HIV/AIDS services to DC residents.   The first hearing will be held on December 4, the second on December 11.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New events added to calendar - check 'em out!

New learning and advocacy events have been added to the calendar at the end of the blog.   So check them out.

Should DC enroll more childless adults in Medicaid?

That's the question on the table at the November 25 Medicaid Advisory Committee meeting at 1:30 pm.   The Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) seeks input at its regularly scheduled meeting to discuss modifying the current 1115 waiver to enroll additional childless adults in Medicaid.   Details about the meeting and more on the 1115 waiver in the notice.

Final rules in November 20 DCR

Some of the final rules published in the November 20, 2009 DC Register:
  • Authorizing some dental hygienists to administer local anesthetic:   This final rule from the Department of Health will allow dental hygienists who have been administering local anesthetic and nitrous oxide to continue to do so by applying for authorization.   These rules adopt a grandfather provision which allows those hygienists who have been administering local anesthesia or nitrous oxide during the past 2 years to continue doing so.   The rules are final upon publication.
  • Final rules regarding public parking at the MLK library:   The final rules note that no public comments were received.
  • Final rulemaking to add a new title to the DCMR on compulsory ed and school attendance:   The Office of the State Superintendent of Education-issued final rules reflect moderate revisions to clarify the proposed language while maintaining consistency with the intent of the proposed rules.   According to the rules,
    The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) recognizes the necessity for a transition period to enable a deliberative implementation of this rule and expects schools to address these requirements as expeditiously as possible to assure full compliance no later than the beginning of the school year 2010.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Will Congress give greater autonomy to DC?

The District's top elected and appointed leaders were joined by two well-regarded thought leaders on November 18 before the House of Representatives' Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia Subcommittee.   The hearing, entitled "Greater Autonomy for the Nation's Capital", was planned to hear the view of District leaders the impact of H.R. 960, the "District of Columbia Legislative Autonomy Act of 2009" and H.R. 1045, the "District of Columbia Budget Autonomy Act of 2009."

Witnesses scheduled to testify included:

  • The Honorable Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor of the District of Columbia
  • The Honorable Vincent C. Gray, Chair of the Council of the District of Columbia
  • Natwar M. Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer
  • Walter Smith, director of District of Columbia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
  • Alice M. Rivlin, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution

Prepared testimony of the witnesses as well as an on-demand video of the hearing is on the subcommittees's Web site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Media advisory from Chairman Gray re: community college roundtable

The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vincent C. Gray, chair) will hold a public oversight roundtable on the "Implementation of an Independent Community College" on November 20 at 11:30 am.   Various experts in higher education and the labor market will comment on the issue at hand and make recommendations for ensuring a high quality curriculum that is appropriate to meet the needs of District residents.

According to the media advisory,

"A high quality community college is key to effectively training and preparing District of Columbia residents for jobs in their own city that too often go to people who live outside of the District," Chairman Gray said....   My colleagues and I have been incredibly supportive of the Community College of the District of Columbia, the University of the District of Columbia, and these institutions’ progress; this hearing will give us new insight into how we collectively can provide the best college education possible for our residents."

Graham announces he will seek re-election

Another candidate announces and surprise, surprise, it is current Ward 1 CM Jim Graham.   DCist covered the announcement with a smart, witty analysis.   Check out the Graham campaign Web site and learn more about the CM's accomplishments and to donate time and money.

Every school should have a wellness center

Thanks to SHAPPE's Cathy Reilly for sharing this YouTube video on the Woodson Adolescent Wellness Center.   The five minute vid provides a good overview of what services are offered and, from the students themselves, why these school-based services are so important.

While many schools in DC have access to nurses in schools, not all have a full complement of staff, facilities, and services young people, particularly adolescents, need.   Cathy and others (led by Jennifer Guste Leonard, DC Assembly on School Health Care, (202) 237-6855, are encouraging school and health advocates to advocate for Woodson-like wellness centers.   And now is the perfect time; agencies are putting their budget proposals together and the mayor will start on his priorities in February/March.

FREE youth conference, December 12

The December 12 DMVoices Youth Conference is the place to be for young people who have something to say and want to make a difference.

The Latin American Youth Center's free half-day conference is featuring:

  • Workshops on topics like youth violence, education, and segregation/gentrification (These are examples only; the agenda is being finalized.)
  • Inspirational speaker(s)
  • Free food
  • Opportunity fair featuring groups and organizations that offer youth community-based developmental, educational, leadership and/or organizing opportunities

The event is being held from 1:30 – 6:30 pm in Columbia Heights.   More information in this flier and on the LAYC Web site.

But wait - there's more!   To pull off this ambitious event for young people, volunteers (young and old alike) are needed.   There's a job for everyone.   They range from outreach, registration, note takers, and serving dinner.   Volunteers get community service hours if they need it, free dinner, and LAYC's everlasting thanks!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Emergency and final rules re: excessive surpluses of health care companies

The Commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking published final rules in the November 13 DC Register to create and adopt detailed procedures for the review of the surplus of hospital and medical services corporations and to determine whether the surplus is excessive or unreasonably large.   This notice of final rulemaking follows the publication of emergency and proposed rules published in the DC Register on July 10, 2009.

Also published in the November 13 DCR are emergency rules on the same subject.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

COW today at 10 am

Remember to watch the COW today at 10:00 am.   You can go to the JAWB, watch on tv, or check out via computer (   Take a look at the agenda which includes numerous hearing and roundtable announcements.

Make the holidays brighter for children who have been abused

Safe Shores-The D.C. Children's Advocacy Center is a nonprofit serving child victims of abuse and witnesses to violence.   Again this year they are collecting gifts for their clients as part of the Annual Holiday Assistance Drive.   If you are interested in making wishes come true, check out the flier; it has details about participating in this important holiday event.

Listen and learn from youth in foster care

Want to hear directly from young people about being in foster care?   About having parents who can't take care of you?

Then go to WNYC's "Growing Up in the System."   "In the System" is the product of the Radio Rookies®, a New York Public Radio® initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.

So take a listen.   You may just learn something about why preventing child abuse and neglect is such a good thing.   Preventing maltreatment is about more than helping parents not hurt their kids.   It's about ensuring young people can achieve their promise.

Committee on Housing and Workforce Development 11/23 hearing

The Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (CM Barry, Ward 8, chair) is holding a hearing on three bills on November 23 at 11:00 am in the Council Chamber.   The three bills are:

Details about testifying are in the hearing notice.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bag giveway time change

The mayor and DDOE will give free tote bags away today at 11:45 am; this a change from an earlier blog post.

Pre-k dream not yet realized

Much to the chagrin of Council Chair Vince Gray and other members of the City Council, pre-k services have not expanded or improved as was the plan under L17-0202 (B17-537), "Pre-K for All DC Amendment Act of 2007."

By all accounts, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) took a great deal of heat for their failure to make the progress the council planned and children deserve.   Council Chair Gray kicked off the November 13 public hearing with this opening statement.   A few of the key highlights from Mr. Gray are:

  • "The Committee is deeply concerned with what appears to be a lack of collaborative and sufficient leadership in early childhood education within the Office of the State Superintendent of Education…"
  • "Prior reports from the field…indicate that many critical stakeholders have yet to even be contacted.   Most importantly, it is our understanding that since this legislation was passed, not a single new pre-k slot has opened in the community-based sector and not a single quality improvement for teacher preparation grant has been issued…"
  • "The Committee was gratified to see that the charter school community has emerged as a leader in early childhood education…"

State Superintendent of Education Kerri Briggs had this to say.   Briggs presented a background of pre-k and early childhood in the District, from that operated by the Department of Human Services to that operated by OSSE; accomplishments; challenges; and next steps.

Proposed rules re: student discipline

The State Superintendent of Education published proposed rules in the November 13 DCR regarding a new chapter in the DCMR, "Student Code of Conduct."   The latest proposal takes into consideration public comments received on the previous proposal published on February 6, 2009.

According to the notice,

The proposed rules provide state level standards for the development of student conduct at a Local Education Agency (LEA) in the District of Columbia.   The proposed rules recognize there must be a balance between individual rights and responsibilities with the rights and responsibilities of the school community.   The proposed rules give an LEA flexibility to develop a student code of conduct consistent with the state standards enunciated in Chapter A-25 of Title 5 of the DCMR.   LEAs are required to establish policies and procedures with a broad range of strategies and interventions to maximize learning time, and to minimize classroom disruption.   Consistent with best practices and a policy letter dated July 31, 2009, from the U.S. Secretary of Education to chief state education officers, these revisions also emphasize the importance of addressing the appropriate and selective use of seclusion and restraint techniques in schools.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education will take final action on the rules no sooner than 30 days from the date of publication.   Details about commenting are on the last page of the notice.

ANC vacancy bill hearing rescheduled

The hearing for B18-324, "Advisory Neighborhood Commission Vacancy Amendment Act of 2009", has been rescheduled by the Committee on Aging and Community Affairs (CM Alexander, Ward 7, chair).   The new date and time are November 19 at 6:00 pm in Room 412 of the JAWB.   This is rescheduled from an earlier date.   Details in hearing notice.

UPDATED: Free tote bag giveaway November 16

NEW TIME (posted at 9:04 am):   Giveaway is now scheduled for 11:45 am.

Mayor Fenty will join the Department of the Environment on November 16 at 10:30 am to remark on the launch of the Anacostia River Education Campaign.   The event will take place at the corner of Anacostia Ave NE and Blaine St NE.   One feature of the event is the distribution of free tote bags for residents to use at grocery stores and other retail outlets.   The flier for the announcement and bag giveaway is here.

You may recall that the City Council passed and the mayor signed "Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009" which contains the contentious provision to charge a fee for disposable plastic bags.   Other provisions include issuing Anacostia River Commemorative License Plates and creating a fund for the clean up of the Anacostia River.   The bag fee goes into effect on January 1, 2010.

The Department of the Environment has previously announced that they will be distributing free tote bags through the end of 2009.

OCT should take a time out

The Office of Cable Television just can't help itself from using better technology.   Most times, this is good.   But when so many organizations require tech staffers (who often in nonprofits are contractors) to download and install software, an unannounced change in the way that City Council hearings can be viewed is a no-no.   At a minimum, OCT should have put an announcement about the pending change on the Web site's home page and included what the change was and when it would be implemented.

So after my mini-rant, what is the change?   There are actually three.   The first one is that users must use Microsoft Silverlight to watch live streaming content.   OCT correctly notes that the Silverlight plug-in works with Windows, Mac and Linux.   For Firefox users, no fear; you can use Silverlight in your favorite browser!   Second, users can now listen only (no video) to live streams.   And third, you can live stream on your IPhone.

One final note:   There is no mention of the change and Silverlight requirement on the City Council Web site; you can link to vids from there, too.

From the 11/13 DCR: Upcoming City Council hearings

Recently published in DC Register:
  • The Contracting Process Related to Parks and Recreation Projects (a continuation hearing):   Joint public oversight roundtable convened by CMs Kwame Brown (At-large), Mary Cheh (Ward 3), Harry Thomas, Jr. (Ward 5), and Marion Barry (Ward 8) on November 16 at 10:00 am.   Details in the hearing notice.
  • The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration:   Committee on Health (CM Catania, At-large, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on November 16 at 1:00 pm in the Council Chamber.   Details in the hearing notice.
  • Implementation of an Independent Community College in the District of Columbia:   Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Gray, chair), November 20 at 11:30 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.   The purpose of the hearing is to hear from experts on the costs and benefits of a community college and elicit recommendations about ensuring the delivery of a high quality curriculum that will meet the needs of DC residents.   More information about the hearing, including how to testify, in the hearing notice.
  • Government Contracting Reform in the District of Columbia:   Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CM Cheh, Ward 3, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on December 3 at 11:30 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.   The committee is interested in hearing from the public about problems in contracting and recommendations to fix them.   Details are in the hearing notice.
  • DC Statehood and Self-Determination:   The Perspective of Local Law Students:   Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination (CM Michael Brown, chair), January 21, 2010, 2:00 pm at UDC.   The committee is interested in hearing from local law students.   More information in the hearing notice.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 Gift of Love Tree Initiative

The DC Housing Authority’s Office of Resident Services has just launched the 2009 Gift of Love Christmas Campaign to support families living in public and assisted housing.   If you are interested in sponsoring a child, organizing a book drive, or sorting or delivering gifts, then go to this Web site.   If you have questions or need additional information, contact Angela Lee, 535-2902 or alee [AT] dchousing [DOT] org.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best practices models used by CFSA and Collaboratives

If you missed the release like I did about CFSA's release of best practices in case management, you can see the two documents online.   According to the release, the new practice models "make social worker-led teams the cornerstone of child welfare case management."   The in-home practice model is based on work initiated by the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council.   The out-of-home practice model released applies to CFSA alone.

More on youth promise bill hearing

At-large Council member Michael Brown has some definite opinions about youth violence, prevention, intervention, and the ways that the city can do better by residents, especially young ones.   Learn more by reading his opening remarks from the November 4 hearing on B18-367, "Youth and Young Adult Promise Act of 2009".

To watch the hearing, you can watch it on demand online.   You can follow along by taking a look at the witness list.

Susie's comments:   Not sure what to make of the skimpy witness list.   Did few testify because this is not an important issue?   If this is the case then I expect few to testify at the oversight hearings in February and March next year and at the budget hearings after that.   Any other thoughts out there?

Have you missed NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt?

If you have missed NewsTalk, you've missed some new and on-going stories of contracts, Mayor Fenty, and straight-up politics.   Gotta love the technology that lets you watch the segments after they air!   Some recent shows:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mayor Fenty on 11/11 NewsTalk

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 for NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt on November 11 at 4:00 pm to see Bruce interview Mayor Fenty.   Have a question you would like Bruce to ask or a comment for him to share with the mayor?   Send an email to newstalk [AT] news8 [DOT] net.

Updated flier for holiday gifts for foster children

A big ol' thank you is owed to the many who have already signed up to make the holidays fun and memorable this year for children who have been abused and/or neglected.   But more help is needed.   The updated flier with no deadline is here.

Challenges with Gov 2.0

Tune in to the The Kojo Nnamdi Show today for a discussion of the technical and cultural obstacles to realizing the promise of "Government 2.0."   Good timing for this show in light of the recent discussions and debates in DC government about transparency.   So listen today, November 10, at Noon to WAMU 88.5FM.

FY 2011 DCPS budget hearing

On November 6, the DCPS chancellor published a notice of a public hearing on the FY 2011 budget for DC Public Schools.   The hearing is being held on November 23.

The purpose of the hearing is to solicit comments from the public on programs and public funding levels regarding the FY 2011 budget for DPCS.   Details about the hearing, including time, location, and types of information sought are in the hearing notice.

"Preventing Child Abuse and Improving Responses to Families in Crisis"

Preventing child abuse and families in crisis was the topic of a November 5 congressional hearing.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), chair of the House Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities (a subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor), convened "Preventing Child Abuse and Improving Responses to Families in Crisis" to examine best practices to prevent child abuse and neglect and ways to strengthen and improve services for families in crisis.   Materials from the hearing, and an archived webcast, are on the committee's Web site.

Taking a look at the testimony is worth the time.   The testimony from witnesses from local and national organizations, including the CDC and American Humane Association, resonates in the District.

UDC law school rates may be increased

The UDC Board of Trustees has proposed to revise tuition rates applicable to students at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.   The notice was published in the November 6 DC Register.

UDC will take action in not less than 30 days from the date of publication in the DCR.   Details about commenting are in the notice.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Life Liberty & the Pursuit of Family" adoption event

Adoption 101 on November 12 is a free educational event for the LGBT community to learn about the children and youth in foster care, the adoption process, and to explore specific issues of interest for LGBT individuals and same-sex couples considering adoption.   It's not too late to register and attend!

Sign on RIGHT NOW in support of CAPTA

From the Child Welfare League:
State and local groups are urged to sign-on to CAPTA letter by COB November 9.

The National Child Abuse Coalition is circulating a group sign-on letter in support of increased funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) for federal fiscal year 2011.   To sign on, email Tom Birch, Legislative Counsel, bircht [AT] earthlink [DOT] net.

Fall is a critical time for presidential administrations - now is the time when they craft the federal budget.   Various negotiations are taking place between the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and various departments including Health and Human Services (HHS).   The sign-on letter asks the administration to provide significant increases for CAPTA.   CAPTA includes three programs with grants to the states to develop innovative approaches to improve their CPS systems.   CAPTA discretionary funds support state efforts to improve their practices in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect.   These funds support program development, research, training, technical assistance, and the collection and dissemination of data to advance the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.   Finally, there are grants through the Community-Based Family Resource and Support Program that support efforts to develop, operate, and expand a network of community-based, prevention-focused family resource and support programs that coordinate resources among a range of existing public and private organizations.

To sign up for the CWLA Children's Monitor, go to

UPDATED: Will you buy a Christmas present for a child in foster care?

The clock is ticking toward the deadline for Christmas presents for DC foster children.   Within the next month, CFSA hopes to collect another 1,200 gifts (movies, books, toys, computer software, and gift certificates for the teens in care).

There are 900 children and youth signed up to receive presents this holiday season; this means that CFSA needs 2,700 gifts.   Right now, their pledges fall short of the need and they are appealing to the public to make this holiday season a good one for kids who are not with their families.   If you are interested in buying a gift or two (or more) details are in this NEW flier with no date for signing up.

Celebrate Council Chair Gray's birthday

Join Council Chair Vince Gray's birthday celebration on November 10.   When, where, etc. in this flier.

CM Graham's opening statements re: youth legislation

Ward 1 CM Jim Graham's interest in young people, their success, and their involvement in systems is well known.   Here are his opening statements as prepared for the joint public hearing by Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (CM Mendelson, At-large, chair) and Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (CM Thomas, Ward 5, chair) on November 4:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Events added to calendar

Be sure to take a look at the calendar at the bottom of the page; a number of events have been added.

More on DCPS RIFs including Rhee's presentation

If you missed the most recent Council hearing on DCPS RIFs, fear not.   The hearing is online on demand (Public hearing, Committee of the Whole, Vincent C. Gray, Chairman, Parts 1-3) and you can read the testimony of Michelle Rhee, Chancellor here.

Mayor to remark on new work readiness initiative on November 9

On Monday, November 9, Mayor Fenty will make remarks at the launch of the DOES Work Readiness Initiative.   The announcement will be made at 10:45 am at 7L Group, Inc.   (3119 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ellen London to lead CYITC on interim basis

Ellen London -- longtime staffer of the nonprofit founded in 2000 to leverage local, national and government funds toward the end of serving more young people in out-of-school time programs -- has been named Interim President and CEO of DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp.   She will assume this new role on November 9.

Current director Millicent Williams' last day at the Trust is November 6.   Remember, Millicent was nominated as Director of DC's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) by Mayor Fenty on October 26.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Must attend welfare-to-work forum November 12

Check out the details here for this important and sure-to-be-informative event, Voices for Change:   Perspectives on Strengthening Welfare-to-Work From DC TANF Recipients being held on November 12.

Join advocates, providers, residents, and government officials at the release of a new report by SOME, Inc. (So Others Might Eat) and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute about improving services for TANF families.   The event will feature a short video of TANF recipients discussing their experiences with the program and a panel discussion including CM Tommy Wells (Ward 6) and Georgetown Law School's Peter Edelman.

AG Nickles weighs in on two youth bills

Attorney General Peter Nickles has issued two letters, one each for two bills for which the council had hearings on November 4.   Here is the letter related to B18-344, "Information Sharing to Improve Services for Children and Families Act 18 of 2009.".   Here is the letter related to B18-367, "Youth and Young Adult Promise Act of 2009".

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pre-k enhancement status public hearing

The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Gray, At-large, chair) is holding a public oversight hearing on "Progress in the Implementation of the Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Act" on November 13 at 10:00 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.

The purpose of this hearing is to review the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) progress in implementing Law 17-202, the "Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Amendment Act of 2008."   The City Council unanimously passed this legislation to ensure that by 2014, every three-year-old is afforded an opportunity to attend a two-year high-quality pre-k educational program in a setting of their choice.   The legislation proscribed actions to achieve the goal and the hearing is designed to elicit answers to the basic questions including ones about the status of the planning process and the status of the expansion plan.

The public is encouraged to testify; details are in the hearing notice.

Event: Use of Custody GALs in DC Domestic Relations Cases

The Council for Court Excellence Children in the Courts Committee is holding a discussion of the use of custody GALs in DC domestic relations cases.   Unlike the practice for appointing and using counsel in other branches of the Family Court, there are no uniform standards or procedures for use of GALs in domestic relations cases involving child custody.   This discussion seeks to hear disparate views on whether more uniformity is desirable and, if so, what such uniformity might look like.

The event is being held on November 16 at 3:00 pm.   Details about the event, including location, are in this flier.

Tweets from 11/3/09 City Council breakfast

If you missed the tweets from WTOP's Mark Segraves from the November 3 City Council breakfast, all is not lost.   Read them here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

City Council maintains pressure on mayor, calling for improved practices

City Council Chair Vince Gray put pen to paper about the problems the council has with Mayor Fenty's contracting and procurement practices.   Read the letter to Natwar Gandhi, CFO.   Also read Gray: More questions about contract awards, Gray Calls For Wepman's Outster, and Thomas bills would set new limits for Fenty administration.

Sunshine is good for children says one attorney

Matt Fraidin, longtime advocate for low-income and otherwise marginalized DC populations including children and now associate professor at David A. Clarke School of Law, recently testified before the City Council's Committee on Government Operations and the Environment at the roundtable on "Improving Transparency:   Open Government in the District."   Matt asserts that DC Family Court proceedings must be opened to the public – that “sunshine is good for children” – because CFSA is failing children.

Matt is interested from hearing from people on his views and the testimony delivered on October 14.   Email him at mfraidin [AT] udc [DOT] edu.

Check out calendar updates

Advocacy in DC -- Calendar of Opportunities has been updated!   Check out new learning and advocacy opportunities.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wouldn't it be nice if kids engendered this kind of interest?

This post is in no way meant to suggest that the same sex marriage issue is not important.

All I've got to say is this:   Wouldn't it be great if as many folks who weighed in on the bill before the City Council took an equal interest in children and youth, poverty, the dearth of affordable housing, etc.?

Snitchin' on Kojo November 2

"Snitching" and Criminal Informants is the topic of the November 2 Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU 88.5FM at Noon.   The tease:   Police and prosecutors routinely use information derived from criminal informants to solve crimes and build cases against suspected wrongdoers   But critics say the widespread use of "snitches" erodes the justice system.

Emergency and proposed rules re: Newborn Safe Haven law

Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) published emergency and proposed rules in the October 30, 2009 DC Register related to the Newborn Safe Haven Temporary Act of 2009 which became effective July 18, 2009.   Emergency action was taken to ensure the safety and protection of newborns whose parents wish to relinquish their parental rights.   The emergency rules were adopted and became effective on September 1, 2009 and will remain in effect for 120 days from the date of adoption.

People may comment on the emergency and proposed rules; see the rules for instructions.   Final rulemaking action will take place in no sooner than 45 days from the date of publication in the DCR.

Early Stages' new director, Nathaniel Beers, MD

You may have noticed that Dr. Nathaniel Beers is no longer at the Department of Health.   Dr. Beers is now the Executive Director of Early Stages, the DCPS program that assesses children ages 3 to 5 for delays.   Contact information for Dr. Beers:
Early Stages Center
Office of Special Education
District of Columbia Public Schools
1125 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
T (202) 316-7125
F (202) 654-6075
E Nathaniel [DOT] Beers [AT] dc [DOT] gov

Information about Early Stages is abundant online.