Womens Foundation of California 2006

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Womens Foundation of California 2006 Powered By Docstoc
					                    SAMPLE POLICY PROPOSALS


A proposal for state budget and administrative change to prioritize getting California women
in the welfare-to-work ranks out of low-income, dead-end jobs by providing them with access
to non-traditional jobs that can result in higher-paying, self-sufficient wages.

The goal is to stop the poverty cycle and state dependency that results from current state policies.

In 2005, the average wage for a CalWORKs recipient was $7.23 an hour. Most of the CalWORKs
recipients are the sole supporters of their families. According to statistics from Alameda County, a
single mother in Oakland with one child must make at least $18 an hour in order to support herself
and her child, and this figure increases incrementally with more children.

There is great potential for women in the employment ranks of construction, biotech, metal industry
(machining), satellite/cable installation, and other non-traditional fields. Although women are not
prohibited from participating in training programs for these careers, it is apparent they are not
actively recruited for these programs. Many of these training programs report a typical ratio of only
four women trainees out of a total of 100 participants. These numbers are staggering, because for the
few women participants, these training programs are often a lonely and discouraging place to be. The
barriers of entry for women into non-traditional careers must be identified and resolved.

Construction Careers provide a great potential for CalWORKs and other low-income women:
Women currently comprise less than 3% of construction workers nationally and less than 5% in
California. Paradoxically, the booming construction industry is experiencing a nationwide shortage of
skilled workers, and this urgent workforce challenge may soon become a crisis in California. The
Department of Labor estimates that the construction industry nationwide will require 240,000 new
workers each year for the next five years – yet only 150,000 new workers are expected to enter the
trades yearly, creating a continual workforce shortage. For every four people who leave the trades,
the apprenticeship programs now supply only one new person to replace them.

A woman can expect to earn 20-30% more in a construction career than in a traditionally female
occupation. Entry-level jobs in the trades, which often only require a GED and a driver’s license,
start at $12 to $18 an hour. After completing a three to five-year union apprenticeship that includes
free classroom and paid on-the-job training, journey-level workers can make a minimum of $22 an
hour, and often as much as $40 an hour or more, depending on their trade. These careers also offer
excellent family health and pension benefits, as well as career pathways beyond working with tools.
The recently passed infrastructure and transportation bond measures, representing $50 billion worth
of taxpayer funding for California projects, are estimated to require 144,000 new construction
workers over the next 10 years. As by far the lowest demographic percentage in the skilled trades,
women represent the greatest untapped resource to meet this critical workforce shortage.

Proposed Solution
In order to access these lucrative jobs, women need to be recruited, trained and supported to enter
and succeed in the various training programs that lead to success in these non-traditional careers. A
dynamic statewide media /outreach campaign to promote these careers to California’s low-income
women can be developed through funds from the Dept. of Social Services and/or the Employment
Training Panel, and/or through the legislative budget process. Through partnerships with state
agencies (such as the DSS, ETP, Division of Apprent. Standards, CA Apprenticeship Council, Dept.
of Education, Community Colleges, etc.) and other community stakeholders (such as
employer/contractor associations, building trades councils, community-based organizations, etc.),
model programs can be developed that will significantly increase the numbers of low-income
California women who participate and succeed in non-traditional career paths and training
preparation programs.

For more information contact:

   Inez Gonzalez – National Hispanic Media Coalition, (213) 534-3026, igonzalez@nhmc.org
   Annie Marie King Meredith – North Richmond Empowerment Collaborative, (510) 374-7113,
   Jenny Whyte - Marjaree Mason Center, (559) 487-1316, jenny@mmcenter.org
   Beth Youhn – Tradeswomen Inc., (510) 891-8773 ext 313, beth@tradeswomen.org
                    Family Communication Challenge Grant Program
                                Concept Statement
                                              (Draft 12-7-05)

Problem Statement:
In California, certain communities and populations experience reproductive and sexual health disparities as
evidenced by key indicators, including disproportionately high rates of teen pregnancies and STIs, lack of
access to health services and information, and poverty. The lack of family communication about sexuality has
been identified as a specific need to address such disparities.

       Goal: To promote broader access to comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care and
        information for teens and their families through the model of family communication.

       Proposed program outcomes:
           o Increased family communication about sexuality in communities with the greatest need
           o Increased teens’ utilization of reproductive health services, including:
                     Protection against unplanned pregnancies and STIs
                     Timely access to prenatal care and abortion services
           o Increase information and awareness for teens and their families about the availability of
               existing confidential health care services in their communities

Proposed program concept:
          o Create competitive grant program to fund targeted community outreach and education
              models that:
                 o promote teens’ overall health and well-being;
                 o provide families with resources and tools for promoting family communication about
                 o provide information to teens and families about existing reproductive and sexual
                      health issues and/or services
                 o target California communities with the greatest need as defined
                 o meet organizational criteria as defined

Strategic Opportunities:
     Opportunity to continue momentum with allies who became active supporters of the Campaign for
        Teen Safety/No on 73 to organize around this issue.
     Opportunity for legislators to champion reproductive health access in a proactive manner that
        provides positive solutions.
     Opportunity to develop broader coalitions of communities that favor more education about sexual
        and reproductive health.
         Legislative Proposal to: Increase Breastfeeding Rates in California

In a time when overwhelming research shows that human milk is vastly superior to any sort of
manufactured human milk substitute, reaping great health and economic benefits for breastfeeding
families, the health care system, and society in general,i,ii breastfeeding is no longer seen as just
an individual choice, but rather as a public health challenge that deserves promotion to create
supportive systems and environments for mothers to breastfeed. The national goals as set by
Healthy People 2010 are for 75% of women to initiate breastfeeding, for 50% to still be
breastfeeding at 6 months, and 25% by 12 months.iii

Billions of healthcare dollars would be saved if more infants were exclusively breastfed and
breastfed for a longer duration of time.iv The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)
estimates that $2 billion per year are spent by families on infant formula and that $3.6 – 7 billion
dollars could be saved each year in preventable conditions if breastfeeding rates were increased to
the recommended levels. Breastfeeding is one of the most important contributors to infant health.
When babies are fed with formula rather than breastmilk, they are more likely to be ill more often
and more seriously. The health consequences of not breastfeeding for infants are higher rates of
gastrointestinal,v,vi,vii respiratory,viii,ix,x and ear infections.xi,xii,xiii Researchers have also connected a
host of serious, chronic diseases and conditions—SIDS,xiv diabetes, obesity,xvxvi childhood
cancers,xvii asthma and other allergic conditionsxviii,xixand lowered IQxx,xxi—to infants’
consumption of formula. These studies are especially significant because they demonstrate that
not only initiation of breastfeeding, but exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding matter. There
are negative health consequences to not breastfeeding for the mother also. Mothers who formula
feed their babies experience more postpartum bleeding and delayed uterine involution,xxii later
return or no return to pre-pregnancy weight,xxiii and increased risk of ovarian cancerxxiv,
endometrial cancerxxv, premenopausal breast cancerxxvi and osteoporosis.xxvii,xxviii

Additionally, formula feeding is not environmentally sound. It burdens our landfills and requires
fossil fuels for its manufacturing and preparation. It also increases the pollutants created from by-
products during the manufacture of plastic bottles and containers for the storage and delivery of
infant formula.

Despite this evidence, too few California women exclusively breastfeed their babies in the first
six months of life, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, let alone in the early
postpartum period.xxix Based on the most recent data from the California Department of Health
Services, 42 percent of California mothers are exclusively breastfeeding their babies at the time of
hospital discharge. Another 40 percent of California mothers are breastfeeding combined with
infant formula supplements at the time of hospital discharge, already compromising breastfeeding
efforts and leading to early cessation of breastfeeding.

So why aren’t more California mothers exclusively breastfeeding their babies in the early
postpartum period? While demographic factors have an influence on breastfeeding rates, hospital
policies and practices also have a powerful influence on a mother’s attitude toward breastfeeding
as well as her perception about her ability to breastfeed.xxx,xxxi Studies have shown that supportive
breastfeeding practices in the hospital, such as early initiation of breastfeeding, early
breastfeeding guidance, allowing mothers and infants to remain together, and avoiding formula
supplementation significantly increase breastfeeding duration rates.xxxii,xxxiii,xxxiv

Existing Law
Several laws have been enacted in California to protect a woman’s right to breastfeed. In 1997,
Assembly Bill 157 added Section 43.3 to the Civil Code, which specifies that, notwithstanding
any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private,
except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and child are authorized to be
present. In 2000, Assembly Bill 1814 enacted a law that exempts breastfeeding mothers from jury
duty, and requires the State to take steps to eliminate the need for the mother to appear in court to
make this request. In 2001, Assembly Bill 1025 added sections 1030, 1031, 1032 and 1033 to the
labor code which mandates that employers accommodate breastfeeding mothers when they return
to work by providing a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to
express breastmilk for her infant child and to make reasonable efforts to provide the employee
with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the
employee’s work area, for the employee to express milk in private.

   In addition, existing law requires all general acute care hospitals, as defined in subdivision (a)
   of Section 1250, and all special hospitals providing maternity care, as defined in subdivision
   (f) 1250, shall make available a breastfeeding consultant or alternatively, provide information
   to the mother on where to receive breastfeeding information. While the intent of this law was
   for women to receive the support they need in the early postpartum period, the reality is that
   in most cases the law is not being implemented since there are no provisions for enforcement.
   Instead, women encounter multiple barriers during this vulnerable time, including lack of
   adequate assistance from hospital staff and messages and free samples of formula, which can
   undermine their efforts to breastfeed.

To address this issue, we are proposing breastfeeding legislation that would:
1) restrict formula marketing and the distribution of free formula samples within hospital
   maternity units; and
2) recommend that all licensed nurses working within a maternity unit of a hospital receive a
   minimum of 18-hours of training on basic lactation management and/or demonstrate a
   specified level of competency; and

   While women experience many barriers to successful breastfeeding, the proposed legislation
   would address three of the most egregious ones and those that occur during the most
   vulnerable time. The early postpartum period is critical to the successful establishment of
   lactation, making what occurs in this short window extremely important. While a
   breastfeeding woman can always switch to formula feeding very easily, the decision to bottle-
   feed is very hard to reverse even after only a few days.
Rationale for restricting formula marketing: Women need to feel confident in their ability to
adequately nourish their babies. Exposure to formula marketing and free samples of formula has
been shown to undermine a woman’s confidence, especially if she is encountering difficulties in
establishing lactation. The use of supplements has the negative effect of decreasing a woman’s
milk supply and further interfering with adequate latch on and can thus lead to greater
supplementation and early weaning from the breast. Restricting formula marketing during the
early postpartum period allows women to make a more informed decision about feeding, based on
personal preference and available resources. Given what has been proven about the health risks of
not breastfeeding, marketing formula to women during the vulnerable postpartum period, is
unethical from a public health standpoint and akin, if not worse than, schools selling soda and
junk food to impressionable youth. The two groups are particularly vulnerable to the products
being offered and often taken in by the highly sophisticated marketing tactics. Yet health care
professionals are colluding with industry by accepting materials, incentives and financial
assistance (discharge packs, free supplies, lunches, sponsorship of in-services and conferences,
upgrades and construction of maternity facilities, etc.) from formula companies. Instead of
formula samples and messages, health care institutions should provide women with unbiased,
medically accurate breastfeeding support and information.

Rationale for recommend training of nurses: Women need and should have the right to receive
medically accurate, evidence-based information about lactation from health care providers.
Adequate assistance and support during the critical postpartum period from nurses who possess
accurate, up-to-date information and skills in basic lactation management is essential to helping
women breastfeed. During the early postpartum period, nurses are often the most influential and
trusted sources of information about infant feeding. Yet, many do not possess the knowledge or
skills to adequately provide the support needed to help women to initiate lactation. Nurses who
have not been trained in breastfeeding management cannot be expected to give mothers effective
guidance and provide skilled counseling. Lactation management is often omitted from curricula in
basic training of nurses and is currently not a required part of on the job training.

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