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State restores some funding for kids with special needs

July 8, 2014

State restores some funding for kids with special needs

By Lisa Renner

Born five weeks premature, 2-year-old Corbin can’t speak as well as other children his age. But the Modesto toddler is improving all the time because of an infant development specialist provided by California’s Early Start program.

Now more infants and toddlers with developmental delays and those at risk of delays will receive those services because of the state Legislature’s recent move to restore funding of the program to 2009 levels.

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Charter Schools May Affect Quality of Education for Disabled Students

June 18, 2014

Charter Schools May Affect Quality of Education for Disabled Students

By Robin Urevich

Charter schools — public schools run by parents, teachers and others largely free of state and local regulations — were designed to provide competition for traditional public schools, forcing them to improve, or lose students.

But the schools’ detractors argue that charters sometimes look better on paper than they are in reality.

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Safe Surrender Program Committed to Saving California’s Youngest Residents

June 3, 2014

Safe Surrender Program Committed to Saving California’s Youngest Residents

By Linda Childers

Debi Faris still remembers the incredible sadness she felt after hearing a news report about a dead baby boy who was found in a duffel bag on the side of the Harbor Freeway in San Pedro. It was the spring of 1996, and the Yucaipa mother of three was haunted by the story of the infant who had been tossed from a speeding car.

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School Success Means Catching Vision Problems Early

May 12, 2014

School Success Means Catching Vision Problems Early

By Mary Flynn

Leon Rodriguez, a 3-year-old Latino boy, sat patiently in a small chair in the darkened room.  Under a massive crop of fluffy, curly hair, he trained large dark eyes on the young man holding a small camera three feet in front of him.

Leon was one of approximately 40 preschoolers gathered at the Vargas Child Development Center in Sunnyvale.

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A Class Robot Helps Kids with Autism

April 25, 2014

A Class Robot Helps Kids with Autism

By Pamela K. Johnson

An 8-year-old boy with autism ran up to a booth where a small robot named Nao sat on a display table at a technology conference a few years ago. Nao was “looking” around. When the child touched the robot’s shiny white and blue body, its sensors engaged, and it turned its head and began to ask the boy questions in a pleasant, computerized voice.

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Transitional Kindergarten Aims for a Lifelong Boost

April 23, 2014

Transitional Kindergarten Aims for a Lifelong Boost

By Lisa Renner

State Senate Democrats are pushing for the expansion of transitional kindergarten for all 4-year-olds in hopes that it will reduce costs in special education and incarcerations down the road.

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Nurses Becoming a Rarity in California Public Schools

April 11, 2014

Nurses Becoming a Rarity in California Public Schools

By Natalie Jones

Each school day, about a fifth of the children in California schools attend class without a nurse in the building.If emergency medication needs to be administered — an epinephrine shot for allergies, for example, or other kinds of medication injections — there may or may not be someone qualified or trained to provide the treatment.

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Teachers Make House Calls for Seriously Ill Students

April 3, 2014

Teachers Make House Calls for Seriously Ill Students

By Pamela K. Johnson

At Kendall Hollinger’s school, the classroom and cafeteria are adjacent, and there are no students slamming locker doors and yelling “Wait up!” to a group of friends. That’s because the 17-year-old has been home-hospital schooled since kindergarten, owing to severe and potentially deadly allergies.

The trouble started when she was only two days old, after a toxic reaction to her mother’s milk caused her to stop breathing.

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Fatherhood Program Hopes to Make a Difference in Merced County

March 24, 2014

Fatherhood Program Hopes to Make a Difference in Merced County

By Lorena Anderson

Like many men, Cesar Vera got his ideas about being a father from watching his own dad, who worked 12 hours a day for little money, but managed to provide for a family that lived most of the year in migrant farm camps in the Central Valley. “I played with my kids more than my dad ever had time to play with us,” Vera said. “I thought I was father of the year.”

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Giant Billboards Put Sex Trafficking in Front of Oakland Commuters

March 21, 2014

Giant Billboards Put Sex Trafficking in Front of Oakland Commuters

By Genevieve Bookwalter

The billboards are impossible to miss along the freeways running through Oakland. “Being a prostituted teen isn’t a choice. It’s slavery,” reads one. They are the most visible part of the new Protect Oakland Kids campaign.

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