A note from Angie Dillon-Shore, Executive Director First 5 Sonoma County
Published: November 28, 2016
Many of us are
concerned about the impact of the election on the families that we serve. We’re
all aware that many children and families are
afraid -- afraid of being deported, being separated from their families, being
attacked or bullied because of race, religion, sexual identity, language and
national origin. Families who rely on health insurance through Medicaid or
Covered California are fearful of losing their coverage.
Thanksgiving is often a day when we reflect on the things
in our lives for which we are grateful. My personal reflection is that in spite
of the uncertainty and pessimism we might feel, we are so fortunate to be in a
position to respond to and fight injustice, to stand up for those whose rights
are being infringed upon and work as part of a 0-5 provider community that
offers safety and reassurance to vulnerable families and children. Now,
more than ever, we need to lock arms and work as a united front of advocates
and allies to protect the safety and well-being of children and families. I call on each of us to commit to double down on our
efforts to help all children thrive.
As we move
forward, I want to assure our partners that equity
will remain a guiding principle for all the work we do at First 5 Sonoma
County. We will continue to vigilantly monitor policies that may harm children
and push marginalized families farther to the edges. Please help us to keep our
0-5 systems partners informed by sharing critical information you might
have about potential and actual policy changes that may impact families and
children. Resources and links can be sent to Sheri Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will
make sure information is disseminated out to providers and stakeholders via
email and/or First 5’s website.
some resources to help Sonoma County families right now:
- Ease children’s
fears. We all know that loving
relationships with trusted adults are key to helping children feel secure. Here
are a few resources:
- Inform families about
their rights. Everyone has basic rights, no matter who is President.
Undocumented immigrants have these rights, too. The National Immigration Law
Center has information about these rights and safety plans. Share this
information widely: English and Spanish. Legal Aid of Sonoma County has been a long-time
advocate and protector of vulnerable Sonoma County residents.
- Join with others to
behalf of children and families – support and engage with local, state and
national organizations. Local organizations include: Parent Voices, North Bay
Organizing Project Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County and the Child
Care Planning Council.
- Promote Covered California. While we don’t know which pieces of the Affordable Care
Act (aka “Obamacare”) will remain, it likely will take some time to “repeal and
replace”. Covered California is active; current coverage remains intact for
2017 during which the rates will not change. Enrollment is now open and runs
through January 31, 2017. Encourage families who need health coverage to sign
up now or to renew into their existing plan. Advise them not to risk a
financial burden in 2017 by not enrolling. Families can access assistance with
enrollment in Covered California at these locations.
Finally, I encourage all of us to support each other in
denouncing those who incite hatred and fear. It is unacceptable and
intolerable. We must speak up and defend the rights of individuals and groups
whose basic rights are being targeted, most especially for the sake of our
community’s children. Please join First 5 Sonoma County in pledging to do
whatever we can to ensure that our community is a safe place where every child
has the opportunity to thrive.