This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation by 2022 to establish a codified Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of California, including a research-based outline of the essential needs of children, which would address health, safety, well-being, early childhood educational opportunities, and family support.
AAP Positional Letter
January 11, 2017
The Honorable Richard Pan
State Capitol, Room 4070
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4906
RE: SB 18 (Pan): Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Senator Pan:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports your proposed legislation SB 18 (Pan). SB 18 would declare the intent of the Legislature to expand and codify the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California, so that it outlines the research-based essential needs of California’s children and establishes standards relating to the health, safety, well-being, early childhood and educational opportunities, and familial supports necessary for children to live safe, healthy lives.
Children are not simply “little adults”: they have complex and unique needs distinct from those of adults. In order to effectively steward California’s resources and plan for California’s future, we must align our state’s policies with the growing body of evidence that identifies critical factors needed for children to thrive and to grow into productive, physically and emotionally healthy adults.
SB 18 (Pan) would begin that process by affirmatively declaring that children have a number of rights, such as the right to parents, guardians or caregivers who act in their best interests, the right to social and emotional well-being, and the right to appropriate, quality healthcare, among others; and, furthermore, by declaring the intent of the Legislature to enact a comprehensive, evidence-based framework of children’s rights, accompanied by the legislation necessary to make sure this framework is applied evenly and equitably across California.
The mission of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California is to promote the health and well-being of all children living in California. We look forward to working with you and others to gather the necessary data and input to ensure that the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California established through this legislation is a vibrant, research-based, appropriate framework to support the children of our state.
Pediatricians strongly support SB 18 (Pan). We thank you for your public service and for your leadership on behalf of children, youth, and families in California.
CC: AAP-CA Leadership; Lydia Bourne