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Insights: Retaining Qualified Teachers; Health Care Debate

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March 17, 2017

CDSS Awards Catholic Charities Additional Grant for Immigration Legal Services

The Catholic Charities statewide network of agencies has received $825,400 in additional funds from The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide immigration legal services to immigrants across the state. The additional funding will be used to provide no-cost legal representation for 1,138 low-income immigrants.

This award increases the Network’s total funding for the 2016-2017 fiscal year to $5,961,750—the single largest award under the CDSS Immigration Services program in 2016-2017. Funding will be used to provide legal representation to immigrants for DACA, Naturalization, and other affirmative legal remedies.

Catholic Charities has a robust network of immigration service programs in California. For over 60 years, local Catholic Charities organizations have provided high-quality, compassionate immigration services. Catholic Charities of California was instrumental in creating the State-funded Immigration Services program, administered by CDSS.

The Catholic Charities network has been funded by CDSS to provide immigration legal services since January of 2016. Through this funding, Catholic Charities organizations have provided no-cost legal representation to over 4,000 immigrants and provided Education & Outreach to over 14,600 immigrants.

Click here for more information on Catholic Charities agencies that provide immigration legal services.

 

Health Care Debate Ignores Massive Changes to Medicaid

Lost in the debate about individual mandates, the validity of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis and the political threat to allow the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “fail”, are the extensive changes to Medicaid proposed in the Republican American Health Care Act (ACHA).

By any measure, the ACHA will lower the number of insured.  The CBO – the non-partisan budget and policy analysis office for the U.S. Congress – projects 14 million less insured by next year and 24 million over the next ten years.  More than half of those uninsured will result from Medicaid reductions.

It is standard political practice for a proposal’s supporters to criticize and devalue the CBO’s finding when they run contrary to their proposal.  The opposite is true when the CBO supports their bills.  But the CBO has been a reliable, non-partisan estimator of Congressional proposals for almost 50 years.  It projected the impact of the ACA better than any other institution.

Posturing and spinning aside, Catholic social teaching stresses that any policy debate should focus on people and the effect of a proposal on their life and dignity.

Just as they did for the debate on the ACA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops suggested five guiding principles for health care reform: respect for life and dignity; honoring conscience rights; access for all; truly affordable; and comprehensive and high quality. 

In transmitting these principles to Congress, the USCCB stressed:

Any modification of the Medicaid system as part of health care reform should prioritize improvement and access to quality care over cost savings.

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Efforts Grow to Develop and Retain Qualified Teachers

One of the greatest gifts we can give our youth is the opportunity for a quality education.  The growth of knowledge and the maturing of life skills becomes one of the best guarantees for the achievement of personal and societal success.

In turn, the most effective way to achieve this goal of offering a good education is to have qualified and prepared teachers in the educational work force committed to their profession.

In California, however, there is a growing shortage of qualified teachers. This difference is often felt most in the most challenging districts, with high numbers of students coming from families living in poverty.

New teachers entering the work force also experience significant financial hardships, as they are required to enroll in costly induction and professional development programs aimed at converting their preliminary credential to a permanent or ‘clear’ credential, which must be done within five years of earning their preliminary credential. All of this is required of new teachers while they are also still paying off student loans and serving at the lowest end of the salary scales.

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Pray for Youth Advocacy Day Participants

On March 21, approximately 100 students from throughout the state will be in Sacramento for the annual Youth Advocacy Day.

Students choose the topics they will be discussing with lawmakers, and this year’s efforts will include discussions about youth homelessness, human trafficking, school admission for students whose parents are deported and a CalWORKS: education incentive to encourage and support low-income parents who reach certain educational goals.

The largely student driven event will commence with Mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by student-led presentations on the issues they will be discussing with legislators. They will then head over to the Capitol after lunch for scheduled meetings with lawmakers.

If you know a student participating in Youth Advocacy Day, wish them luck and pray for all of our youth as they express our Christ-driven desire to protect the innocent, exploited and oppressed. 

 

Lenten Reflections on the Death Penalty

As we work to live with mercy and justice always in mind, The Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) invites you during this Lenten season to join in prayerful reflection and contemplation on the death penalty.

Each week, the CMN is sharing reflections by a variety of individuals including George Williams S.J, Catholic Chaplain of San Quentin State Prison; Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach; and Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International.

You can view reflections from previous weeks here.

 

On The Web:

Bishop Jaime Soto, Diocese of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference, and Bishop Stephen Blaire (pictured), Diocese of Stockton, address a PICO California rally in support of Immigrant Rights.

March 17, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 10