Policy Recommendations

Out-of-school Policies

One common thread that has become clearer because of COVID is that out-of-school factors (neighborhood conditions, access to health care, dental care, etc.) have largely been ignored in education policy and social policies broadly. Income and racial inequality in Los Angeles County’s Black communities is striking, requiring a focus on the basic needs of families to address poverty and family, maternal and infant health in response to under investments where many expecting mothers and young families reside.

Students’ & Families’ Basic Needs

Two districts that serve the greatest number of Black students with the largest homeless student enrollment in the state are Los Angeles Unified (18,979) and Long Beach Unified (7,251) (Bishop et al., 2020). These figures paint a stark reality of not only the sheer numbers of students experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, but also point to a need for supporting housing insecure Black youth. Unemployment numbers in Los Angeles County reveal that 599,000 residents have filed for unemployment, which could result in significant consequences for 558,000 children who live in households unlikely to be able to pay the rent, including Black families (Blasi, 2020). Many Black communities will benefit from policy remedies at all levels of government focused on meeting basic needs.

Cities
Establish clear benchmarks for anti-poverty efforts carried out in coordination with nonprofit and county agencies.
School Districts
Link families to community-based organizations, agencies and case workers who can help young peoples and families on a case-by-case basis.
Los Angeles County
Leverage Measure J funds to target investments in these 14 communities to focus on youth development, job training, small business development and supportive housing services.
State of California
Encourage partnerships between education, housing and child welfare stakeholders & dedicate state community schools grants to Black communities.
Federal Government
Prioritize federal housing vouchers, food stamps, cash grants, Medicaid, and tax credits which all have been found to boost student learning for financially struggling families.

Family, Maternal & Infant Health

Low birth weights and high rates of asthma related hospital visits for Black families that reside in the districts included in this report reflect systemic challenges around family, maternal and infant health. While identifying the causes of racial/ethnic and economic status disparities in low birth weight and poor health for mothers can be difficult, a number of preventive policy actions can be undertaken.

Cities
Encourage centralized and mobile clinics to screen for and address maternal and infant health issues.
School Districts
Establish opportunities for community health clinics to come to school campuses to meet with and provide health care services to families and small children.
Los Angeles County
Work with medical providers to identify barriers to accessing maternal mental health services.
State of California
Invest in home visiting models that eliminate access challenges for expectant Black mothers.
Federal Government
Expand health care coverage for uninsured women throughout their lifespan, with a particular emphasis on their reproductive years, to ensure that every woman receives a basic level of coverage and has a medical home.

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