From the Director
California is strongest when all of our children can unleash their talents and reach their full potential. Unfortunately, California’s policies create, sustain, and exacerbate barriers to success for many of our children – barriers that perpetuate historical discrimination and inequality.
The Children’s Defense Fund—California works to ensure that a child’s ability to lead a healthy and successful life is not determined by race, ethnicity, family income, zip code, gender, sexuality, home language, ability, health needs, immigration status, or involvement in the foster care or juvenile justice system. We believe every child deserves: a life free from poverty with enough family income to meet basic needs; comprehensive health coverage and care to maximize health and development; a high quality public education with pathways to college and career; and justice systems built on youth development and reintegration of young people.
California – the sixth largest economy in the world – has the resources to provide every child with the foundation they need to thrive but policymakers have not made California’s children a priority. By giving our children a healthy and fair start today, we set them up for better outcomes tomorrow. We are vigilant in protecting and championing policies and programs that safeguard children’s rights and well-being. Because we recognize that children do not come in pieces, we advocate for systems and policies that uplift the whole child and their families and communities.
Shimica G. Gaskins Executive Director