In Support of the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of San Mateo County

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In Support of the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of San Mateo County


HON. JACKIE SPEIER

OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ms. SPEIER. Madam Speaker, today I rise to applaud the Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council and the San Mateo County Youth Commission for their inspired work in creating the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of San Mateo County. I especially want to thank Youth Commissioner James B. Pollack for his articulate and passionate presentation of the Bill of Rights when the groups visited with me last month.

This ground-breaking document was born from the shared belief that all young people--regardless of race, gender, disability, economic status or other identifying characteristic--should be allowed to grow and blossom to their fullest potential, experiencing the joy, wonder and happiness that so many of us remember from our own childhoods.

The Bill of Rights reads:

"We resolve to invest in all children and youth so that:

They have a healthy mind, body and spirit that enable them to maximize their potential;

They develop a healthy attachment to a parent, guardian or caregiver and an ongoing relationship with a caring and supportive adult;

Their essential needs are met--nutritious food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and accessible transportation;

They have a safe and healthy environment, including homes, schools, neighborhoods and communities;

They have access to a 21st century education that promotes success in life, in future careers and a love of life-long learning;

They have training in life skills that will prepare them to live independently, be self-sufficient and contribute to their community;

They have employment opportunities with protections from unfair labor practices;

They have freedom from mistreatment, abuse and neglect;

They have a voice in matters that affect them;

They have a sense of hope for their future."

Madam Speaker, in our democratic system of government, we are taught to believe that all voices are heard equally. But most 12-year-olds don't have a lobbyist and few tables in the halls of power make room for families. That is why the work of the Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council and the San Mateo County Youth Commission and the principles laid out in the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth are so vitally important.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).