Recently California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the formation of the Bureau of Children’s Justice at the California Department of Justice. The Bureau’s mission is to protect the rights of children and focus the attention and resources of law enforcement and policymakers on the importance of safeguarding every child so that they can meet their full potential.
As one crucial part of this new Bureau, Professor Michael Gottfried of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School has developed a partnership with Harris’s office to create a multiphase project that involves the rollout of elementary school truancy reduction programs across the state. In phase 1, Gottfried’s research team will look at several model districts to determine what methods work reducing truancy and will also monitor truancy through data systems. This research will examine what happens in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
The hope is that after establishing what works in phase 1, those scalable and replicable methods will be rolled out as best practices throughout California in a potential phase 2.
The Bureau of Children’s Justice, staffed with both civil rights and criminal prosecutors, will focus its enforcement and advocacy efforts on several other areas beyond the state’s truancy crisis. Those areas include: California’s foster care, adoption, and juvenile justice systems; discrimination and inequities in education; human trafficking of vulnerable youth; childhood trauma and exposure to violence.
Professor Gottfried focuses on the economics of education and education policy. He is highly involved with educational policy issues both nationally, within the state of California, and within the UC-system. For instance, he recently presented the first annual UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) Bacon Public Lectureship focused on evidence-based educational policy. He has also been appointed to the newly-formed Faculty Executive Council of UCCS, similar to a Board of Directors.
This partnership between the Bureau of Children’s Justice and Dr. Gottfried is made possible through a grant from the Stuart Foundation.