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AB 823 (Dickinson): Childrens Cabinet of California

September 2011

AB 823 establishes the Children's Cabinet of California to ensure all state agencies and programs that touch the lives of children work in a coordinated and comprehensive fashion. The needs of children and youth are increasingly complex and the networks of services available to them are managed by multiple agencies and departments, often with different goals and objectives. Californias budget crisis and realignment efforts demand even greater coordination to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of services, the elimination of duplicative efforts and the maximizing of federal funding, in addition to clearly established priorities and outcome measures for children. The delivery of health, education and child/youth services will benefit from state leadership that supports interagency collaboration, integrated services, and policies that support stronger communities. According to the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, A strong and effective Childrens Cabinet can improve coordination and efficiency across state departments and local levels of government; mobilize resources around the governors priorities for children; facilitate a holistic approach to serving children; and strengthen partnerships with the non-profit and private sectors. 20 states currently have established cross-agency childrens coordinating bodies that are systematically changing the fragmented and ineffective way states typically do business for children and youth.and they are getting amazing results. The Forum for Youth Investment reports that Childrens Cabinets have been able to:

Eliminate Wasteful Programs. Kansas Childrens Cabinet identified underperforming programs and redirected funds to more effective approaches; Improve Outcomes. Marylands cross agency early childhood strategic plan led to a 20% increase in school readiness; Reduce the Need for Expensive Services. Maine and Maryland both site examples of moving young people out of expensive care in facilities and into community based settings, which is both cheaper for the state and better for the youth; Increase Federal Funds. 8 out of the 12 Race to the Top winners, which collectively received over $3 billion in federal funding, have a strong Childrens Cabinet;


Leverage Non-State Resources. Iowa secured federal and private grants in excess of $21 million to build on youth development initiatives and expand promising youth development practices. In addition, Maine found that by coordinating across systems, they can share limited resources among state agencies while identifying new funding streams including federal grants and funds from the private sector. The Childrens Cabinet has generated a net of over $40 million in new money for kids in Maine, including federal and private dollars. Specifically, AB 823 (Dickinson) would:

Establish the Children's Cabinet of California to advise and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on ways to improve the delivery of services to children and their families. Provide that cabinet membership include the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Secretary of California Health and Human Services, who would serve as co-chairs, and the heads of each agency and department within the state that provides services for, or has jurisdiction over the wellbeing of, children. Provide that the cabinet meet upon call of the co-chairs at least quarterly. Provide that the cabinet establish committees, as necessary, to further the work of the cabinet or to address specific issues. Submit a biennial report to the Legislature on or before October 31st.

AB 823 would not create a new board or commission, and it is not duplicative of the Child Welfare Council (CWC), which focuses on children in the child welfare system. The bill passed the State Assembly this May and is a two year bill. The author, sponsor and supporters of the measure are continuing to advocate with the Administration and the Legislature so that the bill can be enacted next year. In addition, there are significant efforts underway to generate support for the development of a Children's Cabinet by way of an Executive Order directly from Governor Jerry Brown. There is a growing consensus across the country, and here in California, that there is a need to change the way business is done for our states youth, and Assembly Bill 823 provides an important opportunity to move the state and our youth forward. Included below are the list of organizations who are supporting AB 823 (Dickinson).
Children Now (Sponsor) American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) American Academy of Pediatrics ASPIRAnet Atwater Policy Activities League Bay Area Council California Alternative Payment Program Association (CAPPA) California Center for Public Health Advocacy California Childrens Health Initiative (CCHI) California Childrens Hospital Association California Coalition for Youth California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) California Family Resource Association California School Health Centers

Association California School Nurses Association California State Association of Counties (CSAC) California State PTA Center for Collaborative Solutions Childrens Defense Fund California Children Specialty Care Coalition Choices for Children Community Social Model Advocates, Inc. Family Paths, Inc. Family Violence Law Center Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California First 5 Association of California First 5, Humboldt County First 5, Los Angeles First 5, Monterey County First 5, Santa Clara County International Institute of Los Angeles Judicial Option.Com Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital Marin Community Clinics Marin County Office of Education Marin Kids Merced County Local Child Care and Development North Regional SELPA Planning Council Merced County Office of Education Mission Focused Solutions PACE Professional Association for Childhood Education Plumas Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) Public Health Law and Policy Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors The Child Abuse Prevention Center (CAP Center) The Childrens Partnership The Link to Children (TLC) For more information on the Childrens Cabinet of California please contact Brad Strong at or Nicette Short at