June 01, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Crittenton Services for Children and Families
Stefanie Benvenuto, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
Fullerton, Calif—Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) is proud to highlight the recent bipartisan support for two of the three California State Assembly bills in the agency’s Pregnant and Parenting Dependent (PPD) priority bill package.
The package consisted of AB 1579, supported by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), and AB 2668, supported by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton). Both AB 1579 and AB 2668 enjoyed strong bipartisan support and will move to the California State Senate for consideration.
“These bills acknowledge what Crittenton knows to be true: advocating for pregnant and parenting youth isn’t over. There is still great need to assist young and oftentimes system involved teenage girls. There are tangible steps we can take to end the cycle of abuse and system involvement. Steps like those outlined in AB 1579 and AB 2668, for instance,” said Stefanie Benvenuto, Director of Policy and Advocacy, CSCF.
Earlier this year, Crittenton identified the aforementioned bills as a priority PPD package and has tracked the bills movement through the California Assembly. Going back to the 1800’s, Crittenton’s legacy is rooted in serving pregnant and unwed youth who are struggling with the demands of parenting. Today, the agency still serves pregnant and parenting youth in community and residentially-based programs with an emphasis on maternal mental health, infant development and mommy-baby bonding.
A study released in late May 2014, by the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, highlighted the fact that while rates of pregnancy among youth and young adults has been consistently declining, foster youth, in particular, are still disproportionately more likely to become pregnant, experience multiple unplanned pregnancies, and be referred to social services agencies for a charge of abuse and neglect. The majority of these referrals will be made before the foster youth’s dependent child reaches age five.
Research has also indicated that some of the major challenges these young parents face include lack of appropriate placement options, and a lack of expertise amongst county government staff and support systems. Crittenton’s PPD priority bill package takes important steps toward improving outcomes for both parenting foster youth and the next generation of children at-risk of becoming system involved.
As one of the last remaining teenage mother-baby placements in Southern California, Crittenton is hopeful that the bills will be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, and motivate other policymakers to prioritize legislation on behalf of this incredibly vulnerable population.
For more information about Crittenton’s Mom-Baby Program and Parent and Child Education Program, or the legislation mentioned, please contact Crittenton’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office.
Topics: Non-Profit, Social Services, Child-Welfare Agency, Community Based Services, Residential Treatment Services, Mother-Baby Programs, Juvenile Justice Youth, Foster Care Youth, Crittenton’s Teenage Mom and Baby Program, Crittenton’s Advocacy Initiatives
Geography: Los Angeles County, Calif., Orange County, Calif., Southern California