Welcome to the California Hands & Voices Blog!

We are delighted you are here! We will use this site to keep our members up to date on what’s happening within California Hands & Voices and other related news. Check back often! In addition to this site, our CA Hands & Voices Facebook group is a great online community where you can network with professionals and families raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing children throughout California. We also invite you to visit the Hands & Voices Blog.


An Update!

A huge heartfelt thank you to the Assembly and Senate for continuing to stand with California’s deaf and hard of hearing children and including the hearing aid program in their budget and sending it on to Governor Newsom for his signature.

Today, the Senate and Assembly voted to include the Governor’s January proposal to establish a program that provides hearing aids and related services to children up to 600 percent of the federal poverty level. The main budget bill which passed today (SB 74) includes $1 million for DHCS to make necessary system changes this budget year in order to implement the program for families beginning July 1, 2021. It assumes that there will be $10 million in the General Fund in ongoing annual costs beginning in 2021-22.

The legislature sent the Governor SB 74 tonight, and there are additional negotiations between now and the deadline by which he must sign the bill, July 1st. We will remain vigilant to ensure there are no subsequent changes to this vital program before the Governor signs the final set of bills.

With hearing aids, California’s children regardless of their background or socioeconomic status will have an opportunity at a bright future. With hearing aids, a baby aided by six months of age can develop the same rate as their hearing peers; a toddler will hear their loved ones talk, read, and sing to them to lay the foundation for their brain development; and school aged children can attend school and now classes held online. We are hopeful that Governor Gavin Newsom will keep California’s deaf and hard of hearing children in his heart when finalizing the state budget. #LetCAKidsHear

Questions? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Administrator,

As we begin the discussion of what school looks like Post-COVID-19, we are proactively sharing anticipated accessibility barriers, in hopes that districts, SELPAs, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and their families can work together collaboratively to educate and find solutions. The California Hands & Voices Advocacy, Support, and Training (ASTra) program has developed this flyer to assist you in developing accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students during the COVID-19 crisis. The flyer has been endorsed by the California Association of the Deaf (CAD), the California Educators of the Deaf (CAL-ED), and the Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) organization. We are asking that you distribute this flyer, endorsed by parents, professionals, and the Deaf community, to every school that is attended by one or more Deaf or Hard of Hearing child(ren), and that the six areas outlined in the flyer are discussed and implemented, in order to ensure the school setting remains accessible for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. More information and questions to help guide your discussion are on our web site at cahandsandvoices.org/COVID-19-resources.

Sincerely,

Rosabel Agbayani, MPH
President, California Hands & Voices


Johanna Wonderly
ASTra Coordinator, California Hands & Voices

A HUGE thank you to Assemblymember Arambula and Senator Pan for the opportunity to provide public comment on Governor Newsom’s withdrawal of the children’s hearing aid program, the one he proposed as the alternative to AB 598, a bill that passed unanimously across the board.

Take a quick listen to the testimony of  Michelle Marciniak, co-chair of Let California Kids Hear https://vimeo.com/422570888


WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW MORE THAN EVER!

The Senate and Assembly submit their revised budgets by June 1, then they will be reconciled with the Governors’ budget, to announce the final state budget by June 15. 


WE ONLY HAVE
FOUR BUSINESS DAYS TO JUNE 1st TRY TO INFLUENCE THEIR DECISION!

We need you to call our legislative champions EVERY DAY, especially if you are a constituent. 


-  Ask them to continue to stand with our children. 

-  Tell them it costs the state $1M for every child who doesn’t not receive early intervention in special education, and other medical complications.  

-   The cost is minimal to act on the Governor’s January proposal ($10M) or sign the bill into law ($3M). 

-   The absence of a solution with continue to cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. 

-  Share how the impact is devastating to the newborn who needs to be aided by 6 months to develop at the same rate as their hearing peers; the toddler who needs to hear their parents talk, read and sing to lay the foundation for their brain development; and the school-age child who needs to hear their teachers and classmates online to be able to attend school. Without hearing aids, this won’t happen, and it puts their future in jeopardy. 

-   If the Governor won’t sign the bill AB598 into law to mandate the health plans cover the cost and providing permanent coverage to our children, then he should keep his promise to our children and reinstate the $10M in his budget. 

-   It’s sound fiscal policy. It’s the right thing to do. And, it’s time to Let California Kids Hear. 

 

Our champions in leadership who can influence the next step, include:

Senator Toni Atkins: (916) 651-4039  

Senator Holly Mitchell: (916) 651-4030  

Senator Dr. Pan: (916) 651-4006  

Speaker Anthony Rendon: (916) 319-2063

Assemblymember Phil Ting: (916) 319-2019

Assemblymember Dr. Arambula: (916) 319-2031

 

Then, call/email/ tag the Governor Newsom. https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/ 

 

Please tag and share this with anyone who cares! It’s time to Let California Kids Hear. 

 

Dear Assembly Member Domokos,

California Hands & Voices is an organization that supports the families of deaf and hard of hearing children in a respectful and non-judgmental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools, or educational approaches.
 
We are writing today to ask for opposition to AB 1850 and AB 2257 unless it is amended to include a professional services exemption for sign language interpreters and real-time captioners. These professionals provide crucial ADA mandated communication services to our children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our children must have meaningful, unrestricted access to these services.
 
Please vote NO on AB 1850 and AB 2257 unless these bills are amended to include exemptions for sign language interpreters and real-time captioners for deaf children and adults.
 
Thank you,
 
Rosabel Agbayani, MPH
President, California Hands & Voices
 
RA: ngs

May 15, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom,

California Hands & Voices is an organization dedicated to supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in a respectful and non-judgmental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools or educational approaches. We’re a parent-driven, non-profit organization providing families with resources, networks, and information to improve communication access and educational outcomes for their children.

California Hands & Voices is extremely dismayed that funding for hearing aids for minors was removed from the state budget in the May revision. As you know, AB 598 (Bloom) would have required insurance companies to pay for hearing aids for minors. The bill passed unanimously through both houses of the state legislature. At your request, the bill was not sent to you for signature or veto. Instead, you made a commitment to provide funding for children’s hearing aids through the state budget.

While the May revision maintained funding for special education and for vulnerable populations, it cut the funding for children’s hearing aids. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing cannot benefit from special education if they do not have hearing aids. Deaf and hard of hearing children especially need hearing aids during this pandemic, when so much instruction is occurring on-line. Classes taught on-line are often not captioned. Even if they are captioned, young children and multiply-disabled deaf and hard of hearing children cannot read the captions. They must be able to hear what the teacher is saying.

By not funding hearing aids for children, deaf and hard of hearing children are being left out, again. We request that the funding for hearing aids for minors be restored to the budget.

Sincerely,

Rosabel Agbayani, MPH
President-California Hands & Voices

RA:ngs

About CA Hands & Voices

California Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in a respectful and non-judgmental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools or educational approaches. We’re a parent-driven, non-profit organization providing families with the resources, networks, and information to improve communication access and educational outcomes for their children.

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California Hands & Voices is a non-profit organization that depends on the support of its members to succeed. Please consider donating or becoming a member.

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Contact Us

 

California Hands & Voices
c/o Kat Lowrance
2844 Gunn Ct.
Redding, CA. 96001-5484, USA

 

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