The Summit was organized around the theme "Healthy, Safe, Educated and Economically Secure Children". These same four major goals are used as the basic template for the development of our goals. We have written the following draft of a "CALIFORNIA CHILDREN'S POLICY AGENDA" to begin to articulate the goals which must be addressed by the services provided for children in California.
Recognizing the interdependence of these services and programs, we have found that there are many overlapping goals and areas of responsibility. We believe that clearly stating our state-wide commitment to serving the "whole child" will provide the framework for development of a significantly enhanced capacity to work together, minimize turf battles, invent new models of integration and cooperation and to deepen our understanding of what caring for the children of our society will mean in the future.
The reality of the enormous diversity of the children of our great state must be addressed as we work on long-term goals and plans. New waves of immigrants have added to the language and cultural richness and have presented new challenges to service providers and policy-makers. In addition the commitment to address the special needs of many children have added a new dimension to the constantly changing demands on a piecemeal delivery system.
This draft AGENDA is being distributed to the Summit participants, Roundtable members, local, state and regional collaboratives, public agencies and others. They are being asked to review, suggest revisions and, most importantly, begin to discuss specific objectives needed to provide the next steps in the development of a comprehensive plan to realize these goals.
We are asking all of you who receive the AGENDA to review it, make comments and send your input to the California Children's Policy Action Council (C-PAC) at the Children's Advocacy Institute, 926 "J " Street, Ste. 709, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916)444-3875, fax (916) 444-6611. We also hope that you will distribute it to your own members or constituency through newsletters, meetings and whatever other communication tools you use. The AGENDA is posted on our website, http://www.vme.net/castand and on the Virtual Stand for Children at http://www.stand.org. Please report to us where you have distributed the AGENDA and/or discussed it. We will log this information into our database for inclusion in the long-range plan for organizing and networking which is currently being developed by C-PAC.
Our current task is to develop a plan for regional outreach to distribute the AGENDA around the state and set up a statewide communications system. The purpose will be to get input into the refinement of the AGENDA and to begin to develop specific objectives and benchmarks within these goals. Eventually it is our hope that this AGENDA and the PLAN FOR CALIFORNIA CHILDREN'S SERVICES we will develop will become the plan around which service providers, advocates and policy-makers can coalesce. We believe that a consensus-driven plan will make policy, legislation and services more logical, effective and coherent and increase the likelihood that our long-term goals will be accomplished. C-PAC sees this process as a vital component of building the movement for children in California. Strong "glue" organizations will keep us together as we all work to make all our children Healthy, Safe, Educated and Economically Secure.