child health data
Candidate Survey on California's Kids
Responses: Joan Buchanan
Office: Assembly, District 15
Q1: If you could tell California voters one thing about your commitment to the health and well being of children, what would it be?
Children and education are my passion. Providing children support, programs, and opportunities to become our future leaders and workers is critical to having healthy families, healthy communities and a strong economy.
Q2: In the past decade, Californian voters have consistently ranked children and child-related issues as a top priority, yet state programs that support children frequently lack adequate resources to fulfill their missions. If elected, what steps would you take to make the health and well being of children a higher priority in California?
I was on the Assembly Education Committee and currently serve as the Assembly representative to the Special Education Commission and the Early Learning Quality Improvements System Advisory Committee. I have authored legislation to expand newborn screening to include all conditions recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics and to develop and pilot an early learning quality improvement rating scale. I will continue to advocate on behalf of our children and do all I can to prevent cuts to programs like Healthy Families and childcare and to explore ways to increase funding for programs that impact their health and development.
Q3: How would you leverage the newly enacted health care reform legislation to benefit children in California?
It is critical that all children have healthcare coverage and access to well care and other services to enable them to achieve their potential. The legislature will need to work closely with providers and advocates to ensure the design of the health exchanges ensures this.
Q4: Statewide, 10 to 15 percent of families have a child with a special health care need -- a chronic physical, developmental, or behavioral condition that requires more than routine health and related services. As the fact sheet below illustrates, California ranks last in the nation on a minimum quality-of-care index for children with special health care needs. If elected, how would you address this situation?
I served on our local school board for 18 years working with special need parents to address the needs of their children. I've seen the strain on their families and their pocketbooks. I've also seen the positive outcomes when children receive the support needed to achieve their potential. In short, I believe providing these services and programs is one of the most cost-effective investments we can make.