Children's Rights

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Support for Senator Mark Leno’s Bill to Protect Children From E-Cigarettes

August 27, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced her support for SBX2 5, legislation authored by Senator Mark Leno to protect children and youth from the harmful effects of electronic cigarettes.  The bill ensures that e-cigarettes are included in existing laws that prevent underage smoking and mandate smoke-free spaces by explicitly defining them as “tobacco products,” in addition to requiring child-resistant packaging.

“Protecting children from a life of nicotine addiction is essential to good public health and smart fiscal policy,” said Attorney General Harris.  “I thank Senator Leno for his leadership on this issue and urge the Legislature to approve this important legislation.”

SBX2 5 will include e-cigarettes in California’s Smoke-Free Act, which prohibits smoking at workplaces, schools, daycares, restaurants, bars, hospitals and on public transportation. The legislation will also make sure e-cigarettes are covered under the 1994 Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act, which has successfully reduced illegal sales of cigarettes to children.  Tobacco use in California is responsible for $13.29 billion in health costs each year.

Attorney General Harris earlier this year launched a first-of-its-kind Bureau of Children’s Justice, with the aim of bringing together the California Department of Justice’s criminal and civil law enforcement tools to hold those who prey on children accountable, help shape and implement policies that help children, and work with a range of stakeholders to better support kids.  More info on the Bureau is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/bcj.

Diverse Legislators, National and State Advocates for Children Applaud Launch of Bureau of Children’s Justice by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

February 18, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES— Last Thursday, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the formation of the Bureau of Children’s Justice within the California Department of Justice.  The Bureau will increase support for vulnerable children, work with stakeholders to improve policies affecting children, and enforce California’s civil and criminal laws with respect to California’s foster care, adoption, and juvenile justice systems; discrimination and inequities in education; California’s elementary school truancy crisis; human trafficking of vulnerable youth; and childhood trauma and exposure to violence.

Attorney General Kamala Harris was joined by leaders of state and national organizations at a press conference in Los Angeles unveiling the bureau and other leaders from across the state and country are applauding this important step.

Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund:

“The newly established Bureau of Children’s Justice will help ensure that many more California children, now at great risk of entering the state’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline, will benefit from new protection and supports they need to meet their full potential and succeed in school and in life.”

Ted Lempert, President of Children Now:

“We are thrilled that Attorney General Harris is making children her top priority with this new Bureau. Given the Attorney General's past leadership and success with reducing chronic absence and suspensions in California, I’m confident the new Bureau will be very positive for children.”

Diana S. Dooley, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency:

“I’m happy to join Attorney General Harris in shining a spotlight on the importance of safeguarding our children. We at the California Health and Human Services Agency place a high interest and priority on addressing childhood trauma and we are committed with our county and community partners to meet the needs of all of our kids.”

Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO, The California Endowment:

“I commend Attorney General Harris for taking this important step to protect the youngest and most vulnerable Californians. The Bureau of Children’s Justice will watch over our state’s legal system and guarantee greater protection for our children, safeguarding their physical, social and emotional health and helping to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to grow up healthy and safe.”

Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria):

"I applaud Attorney General Harris for investing in children and preventing them from ever becoming involved with the justice system as victims or perpetrators of crime. As the chair of the API Legislative Caucus, I am painfully aware of the threat crime poses to Asian American and Pacific Islander children, specifically when it comes to discrimination, bullying, and human trafficking.  This is a good step in the right direction to protect all of California's children."

Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr. (D-Los Angeles):

“It is essential that our children are protected and that we take a proactive approach to that protection.  As the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color and the Legislative Black Caucus, I believe the Bureau of Children’s Justice will take an active role in protecting our at-risk children in California.”

Esta Soler, President and Founder of Futures Without Violence:

“The creation of this Bureau for Children’s Justice is a smart strategy that ensures our most vulnerable are protected today while also preventing crime and violence in the future. We are eager to work with the Attorney General to break the cycle of violence by helping traumatized children heal.”

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund):

“Children are most important for the future ability of this state to thrive.  The step being announced, ensuring that there is a bureau dedicated to focusing on children, is one that will yield tremendous benefits, not only for the children who are affected, not only for their parents, but for the entire state of California.”

Jennifer Perry, Executive Director of Children’s Action Network and board member of Children’s Law Center:

“When you ask a children in foster care ‘why are you here?’, not ‘what are you doing here?’, you can bring the resources to bear on changing the future for that child.  Three percent of kids in foster care go on to complete a college or vocational education, 70% of them want to.  We should be asking ‘why?’  Why aren’t we helping those kids achieve their aspirations? I commend the Attorney General for already knowing the ‘why’ and making a huge step forward and looking at the ‘how’—how are we going to work together to make sure that all of them have the future that they deserve.”

Alex Johnson, Executive Director of California Children’s Defense Fund:

“We have to ensure that children have a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start, and indeed, a moral start in life.  That is the essence of this bureau, ensuring that children have those vital necessities that they need to succeed in the long-term.  It offers a great opportunity to address the root causes of the cradle-to-prison pipeline.  Let me thank the Attorney General and this office for its leadership in investing in children, recognizing that our moral authority as adults requires us to place children at the forefront.”

Ryan Smith, Executive Director of Education Trust- West:

“The Attorney General is building on her track record of helping students, supporting schools across the state, assuring that students have the right to an equal education.  Going forward, it’s up to all of us to work with the Attorney General to make sure that every child has the right to succeed.”

The Bureau draws on Attorney General Harris’ expertise as a career prosecutor focusing on sexual and physical crimes against children and her commitment to defending every child in California. Attorney General Harris served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco, where she created a child sexual assault unit. She also led the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families and specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

For more information on the bureau, click here or read the press release launching the Bureau here.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Unveils Bureau of Children’s Justice

In First Action, New Bureau Sends Letters to All California Counties Reviewing Responsibilities for Foster Care System Oversight
February 12, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today unveiled the Bureau of Children’s Justice within the California Department of Justice that will work to ensure all of California’s children are on track to meet their full potential. In the Bureau’s first action, Attorney General Harris sent a letter to officials in all 58 counties in California, outlining their legal responsibilities with regard to foster youth and urging each county to evaluate their current enforcement and oversight policies and practices.

The Bureau will enforce criminal and civil laws to hold those who prey on children accountable; work with a range of local, state, and national stakeholders to increase support for vulnerable children to prevent bad outcomes; and identify and pursue improvements to policies impacting children.

“We simply cannot let down our most vulnerable children today, then lock them up tomorrow and act surprised,” said Attorney General Harris.  “The Bureau of Children’s Justice will continue our smart on crime approach by addressing the root causes of crime, including our broken foster care system, and making certain that California’s children receive full protection under the law and equal opportunities to succeed.   One of the Bureau’s first orders of business will be to look at enforcement gaps in the foster care system and ensure that government agencies are held accountable to those entrusted in their care.”  

Attorney General Harris’ letter to counties lays out their responsibilities in protecting children in foster care and overseeing the agencies that provide direct services to these children. In the coming months, the Bureau will focus on identifying accountability and enforcement gaps in the foster system to ensure children have the support they need.

“We are thrilled that Attorney General Harris is making children her top priority with this new Bureau,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now. “Given the Attorney General's past leadership and success with reducing chronic absence and suspensions in California, I’m confident the new Bureau will be very positive for children.”

“I’m happy to join Attorney General Harris in shining a spotlight on the importance of safeguarding our children,” said Diana S. Dooley, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “We at the California Health and Human Services Agency place a high interest and priority on addressing childhood trauma and we are committed with our county and community partners to meet the needs of all of our kids.”

The Bureau will draw on the civil and criminal law enforcement capacity of the California Department of Justice and build on CADOJ’s existing work on key issues affecting children. Core priorities for the newly formed bureau include

  • California’s foster care, adoption, and juvenile justice systems
  • Discrimination and inequities in education
  • California’s elementary school truancy crisis
  • Human trafficking of vulnerable youth
  • Childhood trauma and exposure to violence

Attorney General Harris also announced that the California Department of Justice was one of just three state agencies accepted by the U.S. Department of Justice to be part of its national Defending Childhood Initiative. Through this initiative, California will work to improve outcomes for children exposed to trauma by ensuring that at-risk children are screened for exposure to violence at school, when they visit a pediatrician, or when they become involved with child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

“I commend Attorney General Harris for taking this important step to protect the youngest and most vulnerable Californians,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO, The California Endowment.  “The Bureau of Children’s Justice will watch over our state’s legal system and guarantee greater protection for our children, safeguarding their physical, social and emotional health and helping to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to grow up healthy and safe.”

The Bureau will expand CADOJ’s efforts to combat the crisis of elementary school truancy, piloting programs with school districts to improve attendance and launching a new partnership with University of California, Santa Barbara to ensure these pilots can be replicated across the state.

The Bureau draws on Attorney General Harris’ expertise as a career prosecutor focusing on sexual and physical crimes against children and her commitment to defending every child in California. Attorney General Harris served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco, where she created a child sexual assault unit. She also led the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families and specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

The Bureau will be staffed by attorneys and experts on legal issues impacting children, including civil rights, education, consumer protection, nonprofit charities, child welfare, privacy and identity theft, fraud, and human trafficking.

To view the letter to counties, click here: http://bit.ly/1vHdkg7

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Legislative Leaders Unveil Truancy Legislation

March 10, 2014
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a package of legislation to help local school districts and communities address California’s elementary school truancy crisis. Each year, an estimated one million elementary school students are truant and 250,000 elementary school students miss 18 or more school days at a cost of $1.4 billion in lost funds to California school districts.

Joined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, State Senator Bill Monning and Assemblymembers Raul Bocanegra, Rob Bonta, Joan Buchanan, Isadore Hall and Chris Holden, Attorney General Harris announced her sponsorship of five bills that will help schools, parents and government effectively intervene when children are chronically absent, and improve local school districts’ and counties’ ability to track attendance patterns.

“California’s Constitution guarantees our children the right to an education, yet our elementary schools face a truancy crisis,” Attorney General Harris said. “When children in kindergarten through sixth grade miss school, they fall behind and too many never catch up. The consequences for California’s economy and public safety are very serious. These bills modernize attendance monitoring and build the support schools, parents and communities need to get California’s children to class."

The legislation will:

-          Assist schools and counties as they work with parents to address the core reasons behind truancy and chronic absence.

-          Provide local school districts and counties tools to comply with attendance tracking requirements in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), state truancy mandates and state and federal reporting requirements.

-          Modernize state and local systems to track and prevent truancy and chronic absence.

-          Ensure that schools, districts, counties and the state can evaluate the success of interventions to combat truancy and chronic absence.

“It is an honor to be able to partner with Attorney General Harris on SB 1107. We have long known the importance of early childhood education, and that full attendance of elementary school students is one of the keys to later academic success. By mandating the annual tracking and reporting by the Attorney General, we will be able to offer local school districts additional tools in tackling this very complex issue,” Senator Monning said.

“I’m proud to stand with Attorney General Harris to unveil this package of legislation that will help to address the truancy crisis here in California. AB 1866 will allow educators and stakeholders to identify students at risk of becoming truants earlier in the process, which will allow preventative steps to be taken to ensure these students get back to school and back on track. Hundreds of thousands of our young men and women are truant from school each and every year. That is simply unacceptable and I applaud Attorney General Harris for helping to shine a spotlight on this critical issue,” Assemblymember Bocanegra said.

“Putting our children on the right path starts with making sure they are in school, and requires that we all work together to ensure that happens. That means developing the lines of communication between schools, parents and law enforcement to address the issue—which is what AB 2141 does. Additionally, this package of bills being put forward by the Attorney General will help stakeholders intervene early when students are not in class,” Assemblymember Bonta said.

“With the right individuals at the table, such as mental health or social service agencies, we can work with students and families to find a positive solution to attendance challenges. By requiring every county to have a SARB, we guarantee that this important tool is available across the state,” said Assemblymember Buchanan.

"A student's chronic truancy is a symptom of larger problems in a young person's life. Our efforts to reduce student truancy mean very little when we don't know which programs work and which ones don't. My AB 2141 is an important tool in helping to identify successful outcomes which will help us to better coordinate state and local efforts needed to keep students on track and in the classroom,” Assemblymember Hall said.

“I am proud to author a bill that will help more students stay in the classroom and out of the courtroom.  If schools aren’t tracking what students are missing you won’t be able to effectively fix the problem. Second graders are missing school and arriving late for very different reasons than 11th graders. Requiring County Offices of Education to forward the complete reports to the Department of Education will allow the State to identify trends and find best practices to address this crisis,” Assemblymember Holden said.

In School +On Track also made the point that elementary school truancy is at the root of the state’s chronic criminal justice problems. Missing large amounts of school is one of the strongest predictors of falling behind academically and dropping out, even in early grades. According to one study, students who missed 10% of their kindergarten and first grade years scored, on average, 60 points below similar students with good attendance on third-grade reading tests. And, students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely not to receive a high school diploma than proficient readers, which puts them at risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of crime. An increase of graduation rates by just 10% would result in a 20% drop in violent crime, and prevent 500 murders and more than 20,000 aggravated assaults per year in California.

Annually, dropouts cost California taxpayers an estimated $46.4 billion in incarceration, lost productivity and lost taxes.

As the District Attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General Harris started a citywide truancy initiative in 2006.  Over a two-year period, then-District Attorney Harris’ initiative reduced truancy among elementary students in San Francisco by 23%, according to the San Francisco Unified School District.  The initiative also served as a model for SB 1317 (Leno), which defined “chronic truancy” for the first time under state law and established the initiative’s model of combining meaningful services with smart sanctions in the California Penal Code.  The bill was sponsored by then-District Attorney Harris and was enacted into law in 2010.

Attorney General Harris’ Truancy Legislation Package

SENATE BILL 1107 - Mandated Annual Report Legislation

Author: Senator Bill Monning

Mandate that the California Attorney General issue an annual report on elementary school truancy and chronic absenteeism similar to 2013’s In School + On Track report. This will help track truancy and chronic absence rates and highlight effective programs to improve attendance across the state.

ASSEMBLY BILL 1866 - Statewide Attendance Data System

Author: Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra

Enhance the state Department of Education’s student record system to include fields on truancy and absenteeism. California is one of only four states in the country that does not collect student attendance data. This will allow local school districts to monitor and analyze attendance patterns, as required under the LCFF.

ASSEMBLY BILL 1672 - Enhanced SARB (Student Attendance Review Board) Reports

Author: Assemblymember Chris Holden

Require that local SARBs (School Attendance Review Boards) report annually on referral rates to county offices of education and expand these reports to include information on student enrollment, absence and truancy rates, district attorney referrals and SARB intervention outcomes. Current annual SARB reports provide minimal information about intervention outcomes, so it is difficult to get the full picture of SARB efforts around the state. This bill ensures schools, districts and counties can evaluate the success of truancy intervention efforts.

ASSEMBLY BILL 1643 - Mandatory SARBs

Author: Assemblymember Joan Buchanan

Require that every county create a SARB. Forty years ago, the legislature created SARBs in order to divert students who were having school attendance issues from the juvenile justice system. County SARBs are a great local tool to provide training, guidance and oversight to local SARBs within a county to ensure consistency and achievement of the SARB’s core mission: improved attendance.

ASSEMBLY BILL 2141 - District Attorney Referral Outcome Reports

Authors: Assemblymember Isadore Hall, Assemblymember Rob Bonta

Require that when a parent or student is referred to district attorney’s office or any other agency engaged in prosecution or charges are considered to enforce state school attendance laws, the prosecuting agency must provide a report on the outcome of the referral. This helps school officials determine which outcomes are effective and guarantees baseline information sharing between referring agencies and prosecutors.

Additional statements of support for this legislation and graphics from the press conference are available at: https://oag.ca.gov/news

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Applauds the California Endowment’s Focus on Elementary School Attendance

October 9, 2013
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the following statement on the California Endowment’s announcement that part of its $50 million “Sons & Brothers” campaign will fund multiple programs focused on reducing truancy and chronic absence in California elementary schools:

“California’s elementary school truancy crisis is hurting our children, the economy and public safety,”  Attorney General Harris said.  “The California Endowment’s investment is the kind of leadership California needs to combat this problem and build a stronger, more secure state. Everyone has a role in getting our youngest students to class, and I thank the Endowment for tackling this important issue head on.”

Today, the California Endowment announced a commitment of $50 million over the next 7 years which will focus on chronic absence, 3rd grade reading levels, high school graduation and postsecondary certification. Among other goals, the campaign aims to improve attendance by 30% in partnering schools.

Last week, Attorney General Harris released a report, In School +On Track, which examines the state’s elementary school truancy crisis and provides solutions to fight the problem.  According to the report, students who are chronically absent before 3rd grade score 60% lower on 3rd grade reading level tests. Studies show that 1 in 6 students who are unable to read proficiently by 3rd grade will fail to graduate from high school on time which costs the state billions of dollars. The Attorney General’s report called on funders to focus their efforts on improving 3rd grade reading levels by financing new programs to improve elementary school attendance.

More information on the California Endowment’s campaign can be found here: http://www.calendow.org/sonsandbrothers.aspx

Attorney General Harris’ report can be found here: http://oag.ca.gov/truancy

Report on California Elementary School Truancy Crisis: One Million Truant Students, Billions in Economic Harm

September 30, 2013
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today unveiled the first state-wide statistics on California’s truancy crisis which reveal that, last year alone, 1 million elementary school students were truant and 250,000 elementary school students missed 18 or more school days at a cost of $1.4 billion in lost funds to California school districts.

These findings are part of a report, In School and On Track, issued today by Attorney General Harris in Los Angeles where statewide education, public policy and law enforcement leaders were convened to discuss this crisis and identify concrete solutions.

“The California Constitution guarantees every child the right to an education, yet we are failing our youngest children, as early as kindergarten,” Attorney General Harris said. “These are children as young as five years old who are out of school, falling behind, and too many of them never catch up. This crisis is not only crippling for our economy, it is a basic threat to public safety.  It’s time for accountability and to craft real solutions at every level - from parents to school districts, to law enforcement - to solve this problem.”

According to the report, elementary school truancy is at the root of the state’s chronic criminal justice problems. According to the report, missing large amounts of school is one of the strongest predictors of dropping-out, even more so than suspensions or test scores. Annually, dropouts cost California taxpayers an estimated $46.4 billion in incarceration, lost productivity and lost taxes.

Information broken down by school district and county is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/truancy and: https://oag.ca.gov/truancy/ch1

Key Findings from In School and On Track:

  • In California last year, 1 million elementary school students were truant and 250,000 students missed 18 or more school days.
  • In some California elementary schools, 92% of students were truant last year.
  • California school districts are losing $1.4 billion in funding due to truant students.

Solutions from In School and On Track:

  • California must create a statewide system to collect student attendance records.
  • School districts must improve the way truant students are monitored.
  • School administrators must meet with parents or guardians immediately when a child is truant.
  • Law enforcement must focus on early, positive intervention to empower parents and students.
  • Parents must be held accountable, including prosecution in the most severe cases.

Attorney General Harris was joined at the symposium by: Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Compton City Mayor Aja Brown, Dr. Robert Ross, President & CEO of the California Endowment, Tom Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Hedy Chang, Director of Attendance Works.

The California Attorney General’s office will issue this report annually.  The office’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section spent 7 months researching this crisis and convening stakeholders to devise solutions.

As the District Attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General Harris started a citywide truancy initiative in 2006.  In the course of investigating factors contributing to the city’s violent crime rate, she found that 94% of San Francisco homicide victims under age 25 were high school dropouts.  Then-District Attorney Harris formed a partnership with the school district to inform parents that they had a legal duty to ensure that their children attended school, provide parents of chronically truant students with wrap-around services and school-based mediation, and prosecute parents in the most severe cases where other interventions did not work.

Over a two-year period, then-District Attorney Harris’s initiative reduced truancy among elementary students in San Francisco by 23%, according to the San Francisco Unified School District.  The initiative also served as a model for SB 1317 (Leno), which defined “chronic truancy” for the first time under state law and established the initiative’s model of combining meaningful services with smart sanctions in the California Penal Code.  The bill was sponsored by then-District Attorney Harris and was enacted in law in 2010.

The report is available in its entirety online at: https://oag.ca.gov/truancy

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Warning on Potential Scams Targeting Young Immigrants

August 15, 2012
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO --- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today warned Californians about potential scams targeting young immigrants seeking to participate in the federal government’s recently launched Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Beginning today, certain young immigrants who were brought to United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and, as a result, may be eligible for work authorization. To learn more about the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website: http://www.uscis.gov.

While the California Attorney General’s Office has not yet received any citizen complaints of scams directly related to this new program, immigrants are often the target of consumer scams and should be vigilant in seeking assistance related to the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

To combat the threat of scams, Attorney General Harris has provided the following information and tips as eligible immigrants begin to apply for consideration:

If you are seeking help from an attorney:

  • Is the person offering legal services a lawyer licensed by the State Bar of California? You can check out an attorney online at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/ or by calling 1-800-843-9053.
  • If you cannot afford a private attorney, the Board of Immigration Appeals provides a list of attorneys who provide immigration services either for free or for very little cost. This list is available online at http://www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/states.htm. You can also contact your local legal aid office. For a referral, visit www.lsc.gov and click on the Find Legal Assistance tab.

If you are seeking help from an immigration consultant:

  • Immigration consultants are required to register with the California Secretary of State’s Office, and to post a $50,000 bond. You can check out an Immigration Consultant online at http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/sf/bond_search/ or by calling 1-916-653-3984.
  • It is against the law for an immigration consultant to give legal advice. An immigration consultant can only give you non-legal help, such as translating your answers to questions on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forms.
  • Get a written contract signed and dated by the immigration consultant. Make sure the contract lists the full name and contact information for the immigration consultant, the services you were promised and how much you have agreed to pay. The contract must be written in both English and your language. You have the right to cancel the contract within 72 hours of signing the contract. You must cancel the contract in writing. Give only copies of original documents to the immigration consultant; keep your originals in a safe place.

If you have a complaint against an Immigration Consultant, please contact the California Attorney General’s Office. You can file a complaint online at https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company or by mailing your complaint to Office of the Attorney General, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.

Department of Justice Seeks Help in Locating Family of Child Found Wandering Streets in Mexico

March 27, 2012
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

CALEXICO -- The California Department of Justice is asking for help in locating the family members of a child found wandering the streets in Mexicali, Mexico.

Michael Anthony Perez Hernandez is a 5-year old Hispanic male, 3’ 6” in height, 40 pounds, with brown hair and black eyes. The child was found by a Hispanic female adult in May 2011, in the downtown area of Mexicali. The child was dropped off at Social Services in Mexicali (DIF). DIF has been trying to identify and contact the child’s parents.

On March 22, 2012, DIF, through the San Diego, Children Welfare Services asked the Foreign Prosecutions and Law Enforcement Unit (FPLEU) within the Justice Department to assist in locating the child’s family. Authorities believe the child is from the Imperial Valley/Calexico area, since he has described local landmarks. The child identified his parents as Jorge Perez and Evelyn Hernandez, grandparents as Angela and Juan, and claimed to have 4 siblings. Michael only speaks Spanish.

The child is not currently listed in the California Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

If anyone has information regarding Michael Anthony Perez Hernandez or his family members, please contact FPLEU Special Agents Guillermo Auyon and San Diego County Child Welfare Specialist Francisco Llerandi or at (858) 514-6911.

The FPLEU assists state and local law enforcement agencies in the location and prosecution of suspects who are Mexican nationals accused of committing violent crimes in California and flee to Mexico to avoid arrest and prosecution in California. Additionally, the Department of Justice is the point of contact in cases arising under the Hague Convention on the civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Child Abduction Unit has designated the FPLEU as the law enforcement point of contact for all Hague cases. In this capacity, FPLEU is also responsible for handling all child recoveries and returns.

The child’s photo is also attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov.

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Statement from Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on National Week of Action on School Discipline

October 5, 2011
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

During this National Week of Action on School Discipline, I encourage local and state policymakers to consider the range of alternatives to suspension and expulsion. We need to hold kids accountable and help them learn from their mistakes, but also keep them in school and on course to graduate. As a career prosecutor, I know that frequent use of out-of-school suspension for non-violent offenses can set the stage for the type of chronic truancy that leads to students dropping out of school and becoming victims of crime.

That is why I am pleased to recognize this National Week of Action on School Discipline from October 1-8 in California and across the United States.

Social Media Stalker Sentenced to Four Years in State Prison

July 27, 2011
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today that George Samuel Bronk, 23, of Citrus Heights, was sentenced on Friday to more than four years in state prison for stalking women on the social networking site Facebook.

Bronk plead guilty in Sacramento Superior Court to seven felonies, including computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography. Bronk received four years, eight months in state prison and will have to register as a sex offender.

"For all of the conveniences the Internet offers, it has also opened a new frontier for crime. Cyber-predators, like Mr. Bronk, must be held accountable for their criminal activities,' Attorney General Harris said. 'Let this be an example for all those who will stoop to steal other people's identities.'

From December 2009 through September 2010, Bronk accessed e-mail accounts and Facebook pages of people in 17 states, as well as residents of England. He essentially found answers to the women’s e-mail security questions in information they had posted on their Facebook sites.

Bronk searched the victim’s “sent mail” folder for nude or semi-nude photographs and videos, which he often sent to the victim’s entire e-mail address book. He also gained access to some victims’ Facebook accounts by clicking the “Forgot Your Password?” link and asking for a new password to be sent to the victim's e-mail account, which he now controlled. In many cases, he posted the photographs to victims’ Facebook pages and to other Internet sites and made comments on the Facebook sites of friends.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown rejected a defense request for probation and sentenced Bronk to state prison. Judge Brown sentenced Bronk to four years in state prison for the crimes of computer intrusion and false impersonation and then added an additional consecutive term of eight months for Bronk's possession of child pornography.

The investigation began after one victim contacted the Connecticut State Police, and the agency then contacted the California Highway Patrol because the suspect appeared to be operating here. The CHP requested the Attorney General's assistance.

On the hard drive of Bronk’s desktop computer, which was confiscated from his Citrus Heights home during a search in September, investigators found more than 170 files containing explicit photographs of women, including a film actress, whose e-mail accounts he had commandeered. Finding victims, however, proved a challenge. CHP and Attorney General agents were able to use location tagging information embedded on the photographs on Bronk’s hard drive to assist in identifying victims, and e-mailed 3,200 questionnaires to potential victims asking them to come forward.

Some 46 victims did, including one who described Bronk’s actions as “virtual rape.”