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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Center for Community Engagement

UCLA

Community Engagement and Social Change Minor Capstone Papers

Cover page of Changing Refugee Narratives- through Afro-Indigenous Leadership and Beyond

Changing Refugee Narratives- through Afro-Indigenous Leadership and Beyond

(2021)

The helper-victim relationship is often seen in refugee narratives in which international humanitarian organizations are the helpers and refugees are the victims. However, in parallel to this model is the neglected story of refugee leaderships who have mobilized to provide support for their own community. In this research, partnered with Tiyya Foundation, a nonprofit organization for refugees and displaced Americans, we hope to change the existing narrative by shifting the focus from the mainstream model portrayed by western media bias to the often unseen resilient-leadership narrative. We utilized a community-engaged research approach to explore active engagement from the refugee community through secondary ethnographic interviews. We also conducted a newspaper-based content analysis and we found that media, depends on their political leaning, plays a major role in influencing the refugee story by consistently portrays the harmful narratives of refugees as criminals, security threats, or burdens which often translate into a racist immigration agenda and xenophobic behavior against the community. We hope that this research will help, in a small part, shed new light and bring in new positive refugee narratives.

Cover page of A Qualitative Study of the Perceptions of Families Regarding the Limitations of Early Childhood Care and Education

A Qualitative Study of the Perceptions of Families Regarding the Limitations of Early Childhood Care and Education

(2021)

Early childhood care and education centers are primary and secondary prevention for children at risk for low performance. ECCE are essential in the first three years of an individual's life; the connections one experiences in such services are crucial to brain development. The various interactions encountered at child care facilities can positively influence how a child thinks, feels, acts, and connects with others into adulthood. It additionally contributes to academic readiness and decreases the rate of school dropouts. These facilities are a valuable resource to families with toddlers, especially low-income families who may struggle to offer certain resources and skills to their young ones. However, it seems that the families who need the help the most struggle the most to access them. However, research still struggles to determine constructive ways to address systematic racial barriers within early childhood development within BIPOC families. As a consequence, children are not getting the necessary child development resources. Likewise, the disparity gap within quality ECCE suggests that policies are not recognizing the importance of ECCE enough. The purpose of this community-engaged research was to examine obstacles limiting families from acquiring quality ECCE by utilizing the voices of historically marginalized communities. The second purpose was to identify ways to make a resourcefulness website accessible to the communities being affected. This study question was established with the guidance of the Advancement Project and from First 5 L.A - Best Start. The tools utilized in the study included interviews formerly conducted with the First 5 L.A. team. Additionally, inductive coding was used to analyze the interviews to identify themes. 

Cover page of Expanding Existing Empowerment Resources Designed for Young Men of Color to Support Young Women of Color - Literature Review, Community Engagement, and Program Analysis

Expanding Existing Empowerment Resources Designed for Young Men of Color to Support Young Women of Color - Literature Review, Community Engagement, and Program Analysis

(2021)

Mental health and experiences with trauma inform how people interact with the world around them and themselves. The Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI), located in Inglewood, California, is an organization devoted to supporting “youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization,” emphasizing the importance of system-level interventions. SJLI’s current programs are designed to support young men of color — this community-engaged research project seeks to fill the gap and widen the scope of the organization’s programming to young women of color. Literature reviews and analyses of existing programs designed to support young women of color have been conducted to collate perspectives and strategies for supporting young women; the community members will be included in these conversations. Supporting young women is critical to creating a more equitable and person-centered society, and this work will foundationally invest in promoting such change, specifically on the West coast, where research indicates a gap in programmatic supports.

Cover page of Youth Homelessness in Los Angeles County: A Critical Look at Funding Allocations

Youth Homelessness in Los Angeles County: A Critical Look at Funding Allocations

(2021)

In LA County, service providers rely on government funding to assist youth experiencing homelessness. Existing literature acknowledges the unique problems that the youth subpopulation confronts. Moreover, research notes that the most effective services for youth are youth-focused, and the availability of services is directly correlated with the supply of funding. We question whether youth funding allocations in LA County meet the reality of the youth homeless crisis. To perform an analysis, this research pursues a community engaged analysis of funding allocations from three sources—HEAP, HHAP round 1, and Measure H funded contracts—to form a representative view of the LA funding ecosystem. Further analysis occurs at the LA City Council District, County Supervisorial District, and County Service Planning Area scales. We find trends that implicate inequitable funding allocations and a concerning lack of accessible and accurate data.

Cover page of The Barriers to Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Elderly Individuals That Can Ultimately Lead to Homelessness: A Policy Document Analysis

The Barriers to Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Elderly Individuals That Can Ultimately Lead to Homelessness: A Policy Document Analysis

(2020)

Although homelessness, mass incarceration, and reentry to society are discussed in many different areas of research, there is little known when it comes to the effects that these issues have on elderly individuals. The barriers that elderly individuals face upon reentry to society are countless and the transition is far from smooth. This paper primarily focuses on housing, social security, and employment  policies. Public and private housing can be difficult to access due to required background checks and other factors such as loss of contact with family members due to long-term incarceration. Elderly individuals who spent most of their lives in prison may not be able to benefit from social security either. Additionally, employment could be difficult as well for those who cannot engage in physical activities and for those who do not have the technological skills necessary for non-physical jobs. Together, these findings suggest that the current policies make it incredibly difficult for elderly formerly incarcerated individuals to have any kind of financial cushion upon release, making them inevitably vulnerable to homelessness.

Cover page of Public Safety: Disarming Police in the United States

Public Safety: Disarming Police in the United States

(2020)

The paper discusses the armament of police in the United States. I will consider the reasons why disarmament is not a conversation in the United States. I identify that there is a problem in the United States when about 1000 people die every year due to being shot and killed by police officers. The issue of officers shooting civilians goes beyond just the general problem and is particularly an issue for communities of color and people with mental disabilities as there is a disproportionate number of deaths in both of these communities. I will also identify and discuss the policies of police in the United States and the lack of accountability of officers. I will analyze the police in other countries where they do not carry guns. Lastly, I will focus on ways of changing our current structure in a small manner so as to identify where a conversation can begin. These changes include the use of more non lethal weapons and improving officer training.

Cover page of State Nursing Staffing Laws Related to Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)

State Nursing Staffing Laws Related to Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)

(2020)

High nurse to patient ratios have been problematic across the United States for nurse and patient outcomes. Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which calls for “adequate numbers” of staffing, is ill-defined leading states to act. This research analyzes the various nurse staffing models that strive to achieve better patient outcomes. How do various state nurse staffing laws in acute care settings correlate with health outcomes regarding hospital acquired infections (HAIs)? There has been much research on the impacts of this law over time within California, and the literature is promising. This research suggests favorable patient outcomes with nurse empowered and directed staffing plans for specific units compared to laws that strictly enforced ratios for all hospitals, at all times, and under all circumstances.

Cover page of Outcomes of National Jail Diversion Programs For Individuals With Mental Illnesses or Substance Use Disorders: A Comparison to the Criminal Justice System As Is

Outcomes of National Jail Diversion Programs For Individuals With Mental Illnesses or Substance Use Disorders: A Comparison to the Criminal Justice System As Is

(2020)

Deinstitutionalization funneled individuals with mental illnesses out of so-called asylums and into the streets with no treatment plan, medication, or access to care. Although initially it was just an easy way to reallocate government funding, it sparked a systemic change in which individuals with mental illnesses are now primarily treated by the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system does not effectively treat or rehabilitate these individuals and often does more harm than good, creating criminal sanctions, homelessness, negative medical and mental health outcomes, and isolation. As a solution, jurisdictions have begun implementing diversion programs. Two programs are implemented on a national basis: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion and Crisis Intervention Teams International. In comparison to the criminal justice system and arrest and prosecution as is, these programs appear to have much more positive outcomes. They both have completely different structures with one similar goal in mind: find an alternative solution for individuals for whom jail will be detrimental to their mental and overall well-being. These programs divert individuals who have committed low-level crimes, who are acting out because of a mental illness or substance use disorder, or who are in crisis. Together, they provide an alternative to the criminal justice system that may thoroughly rehabilitate and treat individuals and remove them from the revolving door of recidivism.

Cover page of “Tomando Vuelo”: Uplifting and Understanding the State of Academia for Undocumented Central American Students

“Tomando Vuelo”: Uplifting and Understanding the State of Academia for Undocumented Central American Students

(2020)

Despite their growing numbers within the Los Angeles Unified School District, rarely are the academic struggles and barriers of Undocumented Central American students ever discussed. This study hopes to address the needs of undocumented Central American students as an important and urgent issue. Complexities tied to their identities, create a number of barriers that ultimately impede academic success and an eventual trajectory towards higher education. Employing an extended literature review, this study hopes to inspire schools and lawmakers to consider additional resources, support, and policy to better aid undocumented Central American Students.