Join Us For Advocates Gala 2024 in Sacramento!

We are exactly one month away from CLC’s annual Advocates Gala, and the evening is going to be so exciting! We are thrilled to honor the beloved Scott Moak as our Community Hero honoree for all the work he has done to empower and uplift children and youth in the Sacramento Region. 

While enjoying delicious food and great company, we will have an opportunity to hear from two amazing women working hard to improve the lives of children and families. Judge Shama Mesiwala and Janay Eustace will share a little about their work, what they are seeing in the child welfare space, and how we can support children navigating the foster care system. 

Don’t forget to come early to catch the amazing Grant High School drumline, and stick around to see if you are a winner of one of our great raffle prizes. Our auctioneer, Freddie Silveria, will kick-off our live auction with some great prizes to win, plus a special Tiffany & Co. gift that you won’t want to miss! 

Buy your ticket today and join us at the Advocates Gala on May 29!

Meet Our Honorees and Guest Speakers

Community Hero Award: Scott Moak

Since 2002, Scott has been the public address announcer for the Sacramento Kings. He also co-hosts an entertainment and lifestyle show on Fox 40 News weekdays at noon.

A veteran of social services, Scott had a previous role as the Executive Director of the Sacramento Kings Foundation and led their “Do Good” work.

His work both professionally and personally has benefitted children and youth in the Sacramento foster care system and in the Sacramento region.

Scott graciously hosted CLC’s gala in 2018 and we are thrilled to have him back as our Community Hero honoree!

Guest Speaker: Judge Shama Mesiwala

After graduating law school, Judge Mesiwala began her career as a lawyer for indigent criminal defendants.

She went on to work for the judiciary and served as a chamber’s attorney for Justice Ron Robie for 11 years. After serving as a commissioner and then as a judge, she presided over a dependency courtroom for 4 years, including creating the first Indian Child Welfare Act Courtroom in Northern California.

On Valentine’s Day 2023, she was confirmed to the Third District Court of Appeal, having been rated exceptionally well qualified. She is the first South Asian female justice and first Muslim female justice on any California appellate court.

Justice Mesiwala is active in the community. She is a professor of Appellate Advocacy at her alma mater UC Davis Law School; is president of the Schwartz/Levi Inn of Court; and is cofounder of the South Asian Bar Association of Sacramento.

Guest Speaker: Janay Eustace

Janay Eustace is the President and CEO of the The Child Abuse Prevention Center in Sacramento, which works to prevent child abuse and neglect at the local, statewide, and national level.

Janay was previously the Executive Director of California Youth Connection (CYC).

When she was a Sacramento County Child Protective Services Social Worker, she advocated to establish the Sacramento State University’s Guardian Scholars Program.

She first became involved with prevention and systems transformation work during her time in the foster care system.

Staff Spotlight: Luciana Svidler

We’re celebrating Luciana Svidler, CLC’s Director of Policy & Training, who spoke out this month in favor of bipartisan bill SB 1043. This important legislation calls for better oversight of group care to stop the inhumane treatment of children, including the use of restraints.  

On April 15, Luciana stood at the State Capitol with Senator Grove, Senator Wahab, Senator Ashby, Senator Nguyen, and youth advocate Paris Hilton to call for the support of SB 1043, also known as Accountability In Children’s Treatment.  

As an example of her dedication, Luciana took the initiative to reach out in support of this bill while reading about it at 6 am the spin bike. This one stopped her in her tracks. Luciana started her career with CLC almost 20 years ago as an attorney in the courtroom. She saw firsthand how CLC clients in group care, many of whom have been exposed to severe trauma, are too often placed in large, institution-like settings where the staff need better training and the structure of the programs make it difficult for children to build meaningful relationships with a caring adult – further compounding their already significant losses and trauma.   

Luciana reached out to the bill authors and asked how CLC could lend our expertise and help advocate for youth living in these settings.  Thank you, Luciana, for speaking out and sharing why youth in group care deserve to receive the therapeutic services, nurturing, and support they need to heal and thrive. 

CLC Staff Learn And Educate At Annual ABA Conference

Twenty-three CLC staff members traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this month to participate in the National Conference on Access to Justice and the National Conference on Parent Representation put on by the American Bar Association.  

The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the energy was high as conference participants learned from experts around the country on a wide range of topics – with the common theme of promoting access to justice by investing in families as children’s most important resource.

A highlight of the trip was taking a break from the conference to view the solar eclipse!  

Congratulations to CLC’s staff members who served as faculty at the conference: Brenda Robinson, Christine Espejo, Ebony Porter, Jennifer McGee, Kaveh Landsverk, Kevin Flores Rivas, Dr. Kevin Jervik, Kim Watson, Luciana Svidler, Rebecca Ingerman, and Sue Abrams. 

CLC’s workshops included areas such as discussing mental health services with youth clients and representing families during child protection investigations.

We are proud of our staff for their dedication to continuing to learn, teach and grow as advocates. 

Advocates Honored At Education Summit

Super team! 

CLC Executive Director Leslie Heimov is part of an amazing group of advocates who were instrumental in creating groundbreaking educational legislation for youth in California’s foster care system. The team was honored during the April 2024 California Foster Youth Education Summit in Sacramento for their role in creating AB490, a state bill that established new education rights and supports for youth in care. 

Twenty years ago, the team set out to address many of the barriers to educational opportunity for kids experiencing foster care. The bill’s provisions charge school districts, county social service agencies, and other professionals with additional responsibilities to facilitate educational equity for foster children. Recognizing how often these children face educational disruptions, AB 490 added new provisions to the law to facilitate stability and educational opportunity in the best interest of each child in foster care. 

In addition to Leslie, the other honorees included Miryam Choca of Casey Family Programs; Vanessa Spagnoli, Director of California Public Policy; Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento Mayor and author of AB 490,; and Kathryn Dresslar-, Former Chief of Staff to Mayor Steinberg in both the Assembly and Senate. 

Congratulations to this group of superheroes on a well-deserved recognition.

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