The Chronicle of Social Change’s rundown of child welfare and youth-related news from up and down the Pacific Coast.
Oregon School District Requires Teachers to Report Students’ Sexual Activity
Teachers and staff at the Salem-Keizer school district in Oregon must report to law enforcement or state Department of Human Services if children under the age of 18 are sexually active, even if it is consensual.
According to Oregon law, anyone younger than 18 is not considered able to give their consent to sexual activity. All school district employees are considered mandatory reporters and must report cases of suspected abuse. While the law is on the books across the state, the Salem-Keizer school district is the only one to enforce it, according to a report from the Statesman Journal.
Teachers in the district were given slides outlining the implementation of the policies in October and must affirm that they have seen the policy by Nov. 15.
An online petition asking the Salem-Keizer school board to reconsider the rule has drawn nearly 3,500 signatures over the past three weeks.
California Legislative Committee Meets in L.A. to Address Youth Homelessness
Last month, legislators who work on human services committees in the California state legislature met to discuss ways to address youth homelessness in the state.
California had 11,222 homeless youth in 2016 — nearly one-third of the total number of homeless youth in the nation, according to a background paper released before the hearing that discussed the needs of homeless youth and reviewed some emerging solutions. The paper noted the disproportionate representation of LGBTQ youth, those who were in foster care or involved with the juvenile system and African American youth among the homeless youth population.
Held at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the hearing featured three panels of experts from across the state, including representatives from Chapin Hall, Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, among others.
Washington’s New Child Welfare Agency Takes Shape
After Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in July to create a new entity to oversee the state’s child protection efforts, the new agency made its first budget request last week and is working on a series of reports that will help define how it works with stakeholders.
In creating the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), Inslee combined three agencies — the Department of Early Learning, the Children’s Administration and Juvenile Rehabilitation — in the hopes of producing better outcomes for at-risk children in the state.
DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter must deliver a series of reports to the governor and the state legislature by Dec. 1 that will outline how the new agency will partner with stakeholders in the state, how it will work with tribal communities and what metrics it will use to measure progress, including reducing racial disproportionality in the system, among other issues.
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