August 25, 2016
The Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 1567 (Campos) Before and after school programs: enrollment: fees: homeless and foster youth: snacks or meals
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Governor Brown:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA) representing 5,000 California pediatricians strongly supports AB 1567 (Campos). AB 1567 would waive afterschool program enrollment fees for children who are homeless or in a CalWORKs assistance unit, as well as give them priority in enrollment.
Homelessness is among the greatest risk factors to a student’s academic success, and affects hundreds of thousands of California students: as many as 270,000 in the 2012-13 school year. Even when it has not arrived at such extreme form, poverty is a significant stressor in a child’s life, and affects a far greater population: 49% of California children live near or below the poverty line. To ensure their academic success, it is of crucial importance that homeless children and children in low-income families receive academic support in stable, structured environments. Sadly, current law takes only school attendance into account when determining priority enrollment in afterschool programs – meaning that many of the most vulnerable students fall through the cracks.
AB 1567 would help mitigate the detrimental effects of childhood poverty and homelessness by giving homeless and impoverished youth priority enrollment in afterschool programs and assuring that they will not be barred from participating for lack of money. This would improve these children’s likelihood of escaping the cycle of poverty by raising their chances of succeeding academically, and would also provide a valuable source of stability and comfort to children who might have difficult home lives or no home at all.
Pediatricians, therefore, respectfully urge you to sign AB 1567 and thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.
Aaron Nayfack, M.D.
Senior Policy Analyst
American Academy of Pediatrics, California
CC: Stuart Cohen, AAP-CA Chair; Lydia Bourne, AAP-CA Legislative Advocate; AAP-CA Leadership