Support for Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence Survivors

The Board passed a motion my staff has long worked to bring to our agenda, co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, asking our CEO to designate $3.1 million in ongoing funding for the County’s critical DV Shelter Based Programs. The motion also asks for a report back on the budget and staffing needed for the Office of Women’s Health and the Domestic Violence Council for prevention and support services.

The decision to leave an abusive relationship is an incredibly challenging one, even if it can save the person’s life. When people are ready to make that choice, the County wants to ensure that our 29 shelters are prepared and well-staffed to welcome them and their children to recover, gain strength and move safely on.

Over the past several years, however, State and Federal funding has greatly diminished and it has become even more important to help these vital services to continue. Stay tuned.

Veteran Suicide Review Team

Veterans have served our country with courage, but the scars they carry aren’t always visible. It is a terrible tragedy that veteran suicides continue to rise, and we must do more to understand this phenomenon and to better meet the needs of veterans who have mental health issues in order to prevent these tragic deaths.

The Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger formally commencing the Veteran Suicide Review Team, a one-year pilot program that is the first of its kind in California. The team will be comprised of the Department of Mental Health, Office of Violence Prevention, Veteran’s Administration, and the Medical Examiner/Coroner. They will review cases of veteran suicide to better inform our prevention policies.

Department of Youth Development

In a major step forward in our Youth Justice Reimagined initiative, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Holly Mitchell amending and formally establishing the purpose statement of our newly developed Department of Youth Development.

Brought about in our motion earlier this year, the DYD will coordinate investments across our budget in youth development and direct the planning, development, and implementation of strong alternatives to youth arrest and incarceration designed to support the well-being of young people in LA County. In addition, the department will prioritize diversion, youth development, and health-focused prevention and intervention models for young people and their families.

We have a unique opportunity to end a cycle of incarceration of young people before it even begins, forever changing the trajectory of lives for the better. By investing in this department and the youth it will serve, we can greatly impact individual lives and our society as a whole.

Codifying Reproductive Rights in the California Constitution

I’m proud that the Board passed a motion I teamed up with Supervisor Hilda Solis on to formalize County support for a state constitutional amendment that would enshrine the rights of Californians to access abortion, contraception, and protect same-sex marriage.

Twenty years ago, as a State Senator, I authored and got signed into law SB 1301, which codified the rights contained in Roe v Wade in California statute. However, we have seen that the radical anti-choice movement is undeterred by long-term precedent, so we would be wise to support additional action to cement these critical rights further. This motion sends the message that LA County and California will not go back, and we will fight to maintain the freedoms that protect women and LGBTQ+ people.

Efforts to Address Social Determinants of Health

More and more, we are realizing that social determinants such as where you live and work, your socioeconomic status and your poverty level are more impactful on your overall health than even genetics. So at this week’s Board meeting, we passed a motion from Supervisor Solis to advance healthy equity by gathering more research on social determinants of health and using the findings as a starting point for potential policy and programmatic changes.

The motion calls for a landscape analysis and gap analysis, so we can understand how these underlying determinants are currently affecting the health of our residents and where help is needed most. It also asks the Department of Public Health and several other County departments whose work involves those determinants to submit recommendations to the Board in six months.