👋AB #598 Update
WE ONLY HAVE UNTIL JUNE 1st TO INFLUENCE THEIR DECISION!
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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.


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

Attention Professional

California Hands & Voices would like to thank you for working diligently to support families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in new and innovative ways due to Covid-19. This has been a challenging period of time for everyone. Most importantly we hope that you and your family are healthy and safe. If we can support you in anyway please do not hesitate to contact us. Today. Next Month. Next Year. We are here!

Over the last few weeks we have heard from families at various stages of the journey. Some of the concerns that families have shared include:
  • Feelings of isolation and confusion.  
  • Concerned about how their DHH child will access distance learning. 
  • Upcoming appointments cancelled. (Audiology etc.)
  • Families are in need of everyday support not related to DHH. (food, money...)
  • etc.
We are honored to provide both emotional support and the resources that can help families through this period of uncertainty. 
 
Please contact us if know a family who would benefit from connecting with another parent. We have a referral form directly on our  website

We have hosted several virtual events over the last few weeks. If your families are experiencing a particular area of need that we may be able to focus on in an upcoming webinar we would love to hear from you. 

Professionals and Parents are invited to become a member click to become a member or you can join our mailing list (free)  click to join our mailing list.
 
Attached: California Hands & Voices flyer (English/Spanish) (those reading our blog can contact us for copies of the flyers. 
 
Hands & Voices Covid-19 resources:     visit today 
 
Making Online and Phone Meetings Accessible.     click to download
 
Children's Safety Toolkit. Please share this with parents and professionals http://handsandvoices.org/resources/OUR/index.htm
 
Connect via social media:  click to see the many options

Follow  Instagram @DHHFosteringJoy and use #DHHFosteringJoy
Fostering Joy is a family/professional effort celebrating the joy of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH). More info on Fostering Joy and how to get involved please visit:  the H&V website.
 
Parent-Professional collaboration is part of our mission and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with you. If you are not familiar with California Hands & Voices we hope you will take a moment to visit our website.   History, Mission and Vision.

Thank you again for your dedication to DHH children. We will get through this together.

Cora Shahid
Executive Director, California Hands & Voices
 

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

 

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