Two people in the District of Columbia are interested in the reasons why 160 children and youth died in FY 2007 and what we -- the community and the government -- can do to prevent many of these deaths.
Two people in the District of Columbia are interested in the reasons why 160 children and youth died in FY 2007 and what we -- the community and the government -- can do to prevent many of these deaths.
As Deputy Director for Policy and Programs in the Community Health Administration, Dr. Beers has been responsible for policy and practice related to a number of special populations including infants and teens. His contributions at DOH have expanded upon his work at Children’s National Medical Center.
His email remains the same – nathaniel [DOT] beers [AT] dc [DOT] gov.
The success of the initiative is demonstrated by:
Today, the District celebrates high insurance rates for children and youth – upwards of 90% of children eligible for DC Healthy Families (some even say it is closer to 100%) and for all kids in 2007, DC is better than nationwide when it comes to kids having health insurance (96.5% in DC to 90.9% nationwide). (See this blog post for other data and links to the source.
No matter the success DC leaders (in and outside of government) have achieved, more needs to be done to guarantee every eligible young person has health insurance. As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on June 19, the federal reauthorization of CHIP was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year as P.L. 111-3.
What this means for children and youth in the District is that the city will receive $14 million by the end of FY 2009. (See insurekidsnow.gov) According to the Child Welfare League of America, this reauthorization "guarantees dental benefits and mental health parity, [and] offers states the option to implement express lane eligibility."
Youngsters in DC generally have been poorly served by the mental health and oral health communities; if this funding helps to address that, the reauthorization is worth its weight in gold.
Consider that of the 75,676 children and youth between the ages of 3 and 20 eligible for EPSDT in FY 2007, 28,275, or 37%, received any dental services. (Annual EPSDT Participation Report, FY 2007, from the Department of Health Care Finance, April 24, 2009) If the reauthorization can help DC increase reimbursement rates for dentists, then more children will receive essential services. Mental health parity can also help the many children in the city with Serious Emotional Disturbance and other mental health problems.
This is the first plain-language step-by-step guide to the District of Columbia's complicated, confidential juvenile justice system. Published in English and Spanish, the guide will be valuable to youth, their families, victims of juvenile crime, social service providers, and the general public, as well as for members of the media who cover the District of Columbia.
Participants in the press conference will include Marie Johns, chairman of the Council for Court Excellence Board of Directors, and Robert Spagnoletti, chairman of the project committee which developed the Guide.
The Guide will be posted on the CCE Web site after its release. CCE encourages organizations to participate in the distribution of the Guide. Direct questions to Priscilla Skillman, 785-5917 or skillman [AT] courtexcellence [DOT] org.
Empower DC, a grassroots, membership-based organizing project, promotes the self-advocacy of low- and moderate-income DC residents. The purpose of the advocacy is to improve their quality of life and to ensure the improvements are sustained. Empower DC seeks an Organizer to lead the Child Care for All Campaign, a grassroots advocacy campaign to secure quality, affordable early childhood education for for low-income families. Read the position description here.
The David A. Clarke School of Law is part of the DC university system. The law school honors the legacy of former DC Council Chair David A. Clarke, a strong advocate and leader on civil rights and humanitarian issues. They seek candidates for the position of Instructor in the UDC-DCSL HIV/AIDS Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic. This position will provide an opportunity for a practicing lawyer to gain experience in clinical law teaching. Read the position description here.
Elected officials have a short period of time to propose a balanced budget for FY 2010. They have somewhat longer, three months, to close a $190 million gap for FY 2009.
The two budgets are connected. If the mayor and council opt to balance FY 2009 by drawing down funds from the Contingency Reserve Fund, the city is obligated to repay half of the draw down by close of FY 2010 (September 30, 2010). This means that $95 million (half of the $190 million draw down) will be added to the just-announced gap of $150 million. The total potential gap for FY 2010, then, is $245 million.
So the deal is this:
What this means is that while many thought we had a "final" BSA, the veto delayed the actual adoption of the budget.
The Office of the City Administrator is already working on closing the gap. They started with a $35 million cut as previously discussed here. Reports are that community-based and other nonprofit organizations have not been in touch with OCA about this very important budget issue.
On June 22, DC CFO Natwar Gandhi announced $190 million less in revenue than was estimated in February 2009. This means that to keep the FY 2009 budget as approved one year ago, the city has to find at least $190 million. In FY 2010, to keep the budget whole, the city will need to find $150 million – and that is before any further revenue estimates are made.
According to the CFO, the city can use money in the Contingency Reserve Fund to fill the $190 million hole. If this happens, at least half of the drawn down $190 million must be repaid to the Fund by the end of FY 2010. This means that the FY 2010 gap would grow from $150 million to $245 million.
But there are other options. This year, for example, as was discussed here, funding is being cut in a number of, but not all, DC government agencies. Funding cuts are an option for FY 2010. Another option is doing work better so that Federal funds, and not Local funds, pay for services. The leading example of this is Medicaid billing in mental health, child welfare and schools. This can only happen when expertise is brought to bear on agencies and agencies take responsibility for improving their operations. If improving billing and documenting services does not improve, services will definitely be impacted.
The Council for Court Excellence, working with Trinidad-dc.org, is asking Trinidad neighborhood residents to participate in a community perception survey. The survey is anonymous and should take *2-3 minutes* to complete. Questions? Check out the contact info for the survey.
The District faces a projected FY 2009 revenue shortfall of $148,200,000 million, and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer plans to issue new revenue estimates in late June that may decrease revenues further for FY 2009. To prepare for the additional revenue shortfall, subordinate executive branch agency spending on non-personal services is hereby reduced by $35,710,604 as listed on the attachment.
Highlights of the cuts are:
There is good reason why the deaths were characterized as needless. The research shows that behavior -- mostly adult behavior -- can reduce the likelihood that a baby will die before age 1. For example, women can plan pregnancies, taking care to be healthy before they conceive. Others who live in the household can refrain from smoking at all. Smoke on clothing can negatively effect babies. Other behavior, such as placing infants on their back to sleep, rather than on their stomach, can also reduce the chance of early death. Other things like having a previous premature or low birthweight baby and having children back to back are also risk factors. (This Web site is the source for this information).
To put this in some context, the infant mortality rate in 2005 was 13.6. This means that there were 13.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. And the 2005 rate is up from 2004 following an overall trend down since 1994. (See pages 28 and 29) DC's rate was double that of some states. Not good. And if we unpack this data, as the Department of Health has done, this is what we see:
Though the trends indicate the overall rate of infant mortality in the District is declining, there continues to exist great disparities geographically. Wards consistently experiencing the highest rates of infant mortality include Wards 2, 5, 7 and 8. In 2002, for the first time, the infant mortality rate in Ward 8 was not among the top four highest. In fact, between 2001 and 2002 the infant mortality rate for Ward 8 decreased by 54% from 23.1 to 10.6. Conversely, between 2001 and 2002, Ward 1 experienced the highest percent increase (130%) in its infant mortality rate from 5.4 in 2001 to 12.4 in 2002. The significant disparities among population groups as well as geographically warrant further investigation of this issue in the District of Columbia. (Source)
Because we can reduce infant mortality, the Department of Health is holding a meeting to address the significant problem of infant mortality on July 21. The meeting is being sponsored by the DC Healthy Start Community Consortium.
There are some materials that will be good prep for the meeting:
And Kojo and Mark reunite according to FishbowlDC. Today at 10:00 am, Kojo Nnamdi from WAMU will be a guest on "The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin" (listen online at WTOP or on the radio at 103.5 FM). Mark Plotkin will return the favor by guesting on "The Politics Hour" at Noon on WAMU, 88.5 FM.
Those organizations which provide testing or counseling services are invited to contribute literature about their program; contact Tanchica Terry (724-8170, tterry [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us).
Training up and otherwise assisting non-custodial parents is a rather obvious way to increase financial support for children. And as we know, kids are not cheap. It will be interesting to follow this initiative to learn what works and what doesn't.
Prior to Evans’ involvement pushing this issue over the past month, the Council’s Committee on Judiciary had no plan to put new tools in place to help fight the likely summertime increase in crime. Evans moved a prior emergency proposal June 2nd, but withdrew it upon a commitment from his colleagues to move forward with an emergency measure prior to summer.
And finally, this:
This outta be an interesting start to the day!
According to the recently released report on gang and crew violence, "When allowed to work consistent with the model, there is wide consensus that Roving Leaders have a positive impact on the lives of young people." (A Blueprint for Action, online at www.dccollaboratives.org , page 16)
The District has been home to the Roving Leaders since 1954 when they were created to engage those we now refer to as "disconnected youth", those young people who are least likely to be connected with services and supports. Read the rest of the short essay.
Announcements are accepted on a space-available basis from public and nonprofit organizations only and must be received at least 14 days before the Thursday publication date. Include event name, dates, times, exact address, prices and a publishable contact phone number.
You can also, and should also, use electronic community discussion lists and your own networks. Have other ideas that you want to share? Let me know and I will post them here.
LaShawn A. v. Fenty: An Assessment of the District of Columbia's Child Welfare System (as of January 31, 2009) reviews progress toward the benchmarks in these areas:
The parties go back to court on June 29 for a scheduled, not emergency, hearing.
Susie's commentary: During the CFSA FY 2010 budget hearing earlier this year, Committee on Human Services chair Tommy Wells (Ward 6) said he would be holding a series of public hearings on CFSA in the fall of 2009. Could progress on LaShawn be one topic? For other ideas, check out the Children's Rights Web site. What are your hearing ideas? Let me know.
The Partnership seeks presenters for workshops or discussions. Those who want to submit a proposal should integrate best practices, effective strategies, successful program models, or research in the following content areas:
Details about proposing a session and the required form are here.
CM Jim Graham (Ward 1) told the community about the report in an email to the community. Council Chair Vince Gray's (At-large) comments on the recently-released gang report are contained in this press release. The report is on CM Graham's Web site.
The DC Republicans also talk gangs. The DC GOP's presentation of gang-related data is on their just-launched new blog.
Susie's commentary: Other than this and the usual community comments and complaints about graffiti and gang activity, there is little dialogue out there about a more deliberate and comprehensive approach to reducing gang membership and gang violence and other criminal activities.
We may see some emergency legislation implementing components of the gang report. Not sure there is much that requires legislation but I will have to take a closer look. Beyond the meeting, convening and coordinating, though, I am not hearing anything on the program side about implementing what has shown to work to keep young people out of gangs and getting them out once they are in. The report does include some examples of what works. . . Let's see what the public will is like around doing more of what works and less of what doesn't.
These audioconferences are part of the work of NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. Session participants listen to lively talk-show style discussions between Institute staff, national policy experts, and city officials on best practices and key opportunities for municipal leadership on behalf of children, youth, and families. Registration information is available online. Also on this site are the audioconference archive and audioconference transcripts archive.
This information is timely. The gang report from the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council is being released on Friday, June 12 and the City Council is scheduled to vote on emergency crime legislation on Tuesday, June 16. GIP is being held up by many as a model that should be replicated, because it works and also because it would complement gang suppression efforts central to the emergency crime legislation.
Wondering who else out there -- nonprofits, elected officials, DC government agencies -- is using is technology to communicate? Let me know and I will share here so we can be better connected.
As the notice of the press conference says, the report’s release is timely given the City Council will consider emergency crime legislation at the June 16 legislative session. Various versions of the emergency crime legislation
Does your organization have any experience working with those in the faith community, and particularly related to this report, mainline Protestants? Let me know and I will share.
As an advocate, however, communication is essential. Communication is story telling, information and intelligence sharing, education, persuasion, opinion changing, and enlightening. It is, in fact, the currency in which we trade. And it is very much about your core mission.
Too often, advocates and service providers who periodically venture into advocacy (most often legislative and budget) only communicate – read, testify – when they want or oppose something. Worse, their communication is too often rife with complaints and with no accompanying solutions.
To me, the issue is less about whether you blog than whether you communicate at all. Donors, potential partners, elected and appointed officials, neighbors, clients/potential clients, and the media should not have to work hard to find out what you do, what your positions are, what good you are doing, etc. If they have to work, they are less likely to want to work with you, call you to comment on a story. In the world of advocacy, those insular organizations will not be at the top of the list to help solve problems.
So what is the solution? Certainly, those who believe that holding information close, parsing it out only to those who somehow "deserve" it will not change their mind as a result of this piece. In my experience, what non-sharers think is that all information has to be secret, not just that which is strategic. But for those who are interested in communicating, in actually working with others to solve problems, there are some publicly available resources that can help you on your way. A list from Have Fun * Do Good about blogging is a good place to start. Other blogs – such as those on the LIST OF CHANGE – also offer advice and how-tos.
So share information about the work you do, the population you serve, the challenges your clients face. This information helps colleagues and the wider community better understand the challenges facing your clients and even the broader community. This information can be used to support public policy decisions.
Bottom line: Tell the story, help your clients, be part of the solution.
Both viewpoints are correct in their limited ways (this is not a criticism of them). It is correct, for example, that civil injunctions have been misused. It is also true that children of teen parents too frequently struggle with behavior and social challenges. I would venture to say that many of us – who help inform public policies and make public policies – get this.
I would also venture this: That too few of us on the informing side of the equation are actually informing the public policies related to the range of youth issues – youth development and crime/gang/violence prevention and intervention. Too often, we lament proposals coming down from on high. And then we do the same thing over and over. We testify that proposals are unfair. We talk about proposals focusing on minorities.
What is it about saying these things this time that we think will result in what we want?
If we are at all serious about informing public policies, about changing public policies, then we have to assess our messaging, our relationships with elected and appointed officials, identify what is and is not working and why. This is not blaming the advocate for failed, at worst, public policies. This is about us being successful so those on whose behalf we advocate benefit.
Susie's commentary: I am particularly intrigued with the Beldon experience because it is contrary to my nonprofit experiences. I'm not suggesting nonprofits have spend out plans - but we have got to change the way we do business.
The legislation brings current DC law and practice up to current research standards.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Health (Catania, At-large, chair) with comments from the Committee of the Whole.
The purpose of these amendments is to make changes to the process for reviewing and, if necessary, modifying and/or rescinding a youth’s community placement status. These amendments clarify how to initiate the community status review process, the manner in which Community Status Review Hearings are conducted, and the procedure for appealing a decision. These amendments incorporate the phrase "community status review" rather than "revocation" because it better reflects that the objective of a hearing is to review the youth’s community placement and that removal from a placement is not automatic.
DYRS intends to take final rulemaking action to adopt this amendment in no less than 14 days from the date of publication of this notice in the Register. According to the notice, DYRS has "good cause" for the shortened notice since the proposed rules were recently published with a 30-day comment period. The Public Defender Services, Georgetown University Law Center, and ParentWatch, Inc., in addition to other stakeholders, commented. (page 4395)
. . . thank you to everyone who has written the Council in support of moving emergency crime legislation in advance of the summer "crime wave" season. Your letters have made a difference over the past few weeks and I now believe we have a majority of the Council in support of moving forward on June 16th to put additional tools in place to deal with gang activity, increasing penalties for the use of stolen cars in the commission of a crime, and increasing various illegal gun possession penalties, among other provisions. Keep up the good work and keep contacting all your elected officials in support of this important measure!
Who knew crime waves were inevitable?
The purposes of the roundtable are to learn more about:
At the roundtable, the committee will receive testimony from District officials, including officials of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), regarding the escape of a youth from the recently opened New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, MD. Further, the roundtable will provide members of the committee, and of the Council, an opportunity to question District government officials and provide a forum for the community to present their views on these issues. More on the roundtable here.
Those who wish to testify at the roundtable should contact Vivian McCarter at vmccarter[AT]dccouncil[DOT]us or 724-8191 by no later than 4:00 pm June 9.
This legislation includes certain sections of an overall crime bill that are currently pending in the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. Specifically, sections on gang civil injunctions, unauthorized use of a stolen vehicle to commit crimes of violence, white collar theft, obstruction of justice, felon in possession of a firearm, pre-trial detention, gun offender registration, and enhanced penalties for chronic criminal offenders. These sections have been identified for enactment prior to this summer in order to address anticipated seasonal increases in crime rates.
A markup of the permanent legislation, of which these sections are a part, will be June 26, 2009. This will permit first reading June 30th and second reading July 14th.
More information as it becomes available, so stay tuned.
Seriously, this is a problem and let me tell you why:
So to those who want more police on the street, just know that more officers is not the only solution. Better information, leading to better strategic and tactical decisions, will go a long way to fighting crime and improving public safety.
Mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) disorders—which include depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse—affect large numbers of young people. Studies indicate that MEB disorders are a major health threat and are as commonplace today among young people as a fractured limb—not inevitable but not at all unusual. Almost one in five young people have one or more MEB disorders at any given time. Among adults, half of all MEB disorders were first diagnosed by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24.
Many disorders have life-long effects that include high psychosocial and economic costs, not only for the young people, but also for their families, schools, and communities. The financial costs in terms of treatment services and lost productivity are estimated at $247 billion annually. Beyond the financial costs, MEB disorders also interfere with young people’s ability to accomplish developmental tasks, such as establishing healthy interpersonal relationships, succeeding in school, and making their way in the workforce.
The full report can be read online for free.
And now to the subject at hand. Key dates are September 14, 2010 for the primary and November 2, 2010 for the general. The local seats up next year are:
Current office holders for the executive and legislative offices up for re-election are:
The legislation will be available on LIMS after the introduction.
Participate by calling 1-800-433-8850 or emailing kojo[AT]wamu[DOT]org. You may also Tweet Kojo @kojoshow.
The Trust sees summer as an important time to advance youth development. And they know something about positive youth development and OST. The Trust is the primary resource for developing partnerships that expand and improve services and opportunities for children and youth in the District of Columbia, especially during their time out of school. It provides funding to more than 150 community-based organizations, helping more than 20,000 children after school and during the summer.
To make the lives of my nonprofit colleagues easier, I have developed this short survey (it is, really) to demonstrate the utility of a guide to space rental for nonprofits. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey. The deadline is June 19. Thank you for your participation!!!