Category Archives: News

DPF mourns the loss of one of its own

Dear Colleagues – It is with great sadness to report the passing of Dr. Joseph Paul Barankin, husband and love of her life to Catherine Barankin, Executive Director, CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health.


Joe passed away quietly at his home Thursday, August 15, 2019. He was a true renaissance man, and great champion for the children and youth of California. He was far more than his long 30+ career (1973-2006) at the California Department of Education as Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Among the many benefits California and children received from Joe was as one of the founders of the Sacramento Boys and Girls Clubs, and in lieu of flowers you can contribute to the Sacramento Boys and Girls Clubs at


His much more personal Obituary is attached. The families memorial service is announced in the Obituary, and when a celebration of his life event is announced we will pass on that information.


Joe was a mentor, grant writing teacher and colleague who will be greatly missed.


Cards of sympathy and love can be sent to Cathy and his family at: 6100 Pirate Point Court, Elk Grove, CA 94758


Obituary for Dr. Joseph Paul Barankin


Dr. Joseph Paul Barankin passed quietly at his home on August 15, 2019.  Joe was a teacher, zealous advocate for children, cowboy, conservationist, musician, restauranteur, world traveler, and unconditional friend who touched the lives of so many.  Joe dedicated his life to education.  Whether it was family, friends, students, patrons, or a passerby on the street, Joe believed they had something to teach him, and he something to offer them.


His love of learning started early.  Joe was the child of two professors. A graduate of El Cerrito High School and San Francisco State University, he also earned a Ph.D. in Human Behavior and numerous teaching credentials.


Joe studied abroad in France and Japan, was fluent in three languages and semi-literate in numerous others. In addition to serving as unpaid tutor to his children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, his professional teaching experience included the National Postal Ministry of Japan, John F. Kennedy University in Martinez, San Francisco State University, Berkeley’s University of California Extension, and National University.


Joe was talented, creative, and had an insatiable appetite for knowledge.  He took piano lessons as a child but preferred to play songs by ear rather than read music.  He was a masterful self-taught acoustic guitar player.  And his library is the envy of bibliophiles.


Joe loved life and extracted every ounce of enjoyment he could from it.  He traveled extensively, domestically and abroad.  He savored whiskeys, fine wines, and canned beers with equal relish – so long as he could share them with loved ones and friends.  And Joe was truly in his element when entertaining and bbq’ing for a crowd.


Joe wasn’t born into an outdoors family, but he created one.  He backpacked in the desolation wilderness as a young man and passed along his love of nature to his children at the Lake of the Woods.  He fancied himself something of a fisherman, revered wildlife of all kinds, and loved nothing more than spending a weekend with friends and family at their home on the Mokelumne River.


As a father, Joe defined the word “present.”  He was a fixture at his children’s sporting events, regularly volunteered as a coach or swim meet starter, never missed a musical or artistic performance, and engaged with teachers and coaches alike.  His love for children and helping them develop their full potential was his life’s work, exemplified in part by his decision to become a founding Board Member of the Sacramento Boys & Girls Club.


With the exception of billiards, few would confuse Joe with a world-class athlete.  But he was a fierce competitor on the recreational basketball court, softball field, and the occasional golf course.  He and his brother could execute a flawless pick and roll.   And there are few fans of the Sacramento Kings and San Francisco 49ers more devoted than Joe Barankin.


Joe is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Catherine.  It was rare for you to see Cathy or Joe without the other.  Joe is also survived by his son Nathan (Ann) and granddaughters Harper and Chloe, son Micha (Bea), and step-sons Barrett Sizemore (Sarah) and Phillip Nails (Elisabeth).


A memorial service will be held at West Point Cemetery at 1:00 pm on Sunday, August 18, to be followed by a reception celebrating Joe’s life at the Academy Club in West Point, CA.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Sacramento Boys & Girls Club.



Drowning Rates Dropped

Child Drowning Rates Drop As Communities Adopt Stricter Building Codes

Some welcome news at the height of summer swimming season: Children are far less likely to drown in California than they were in the 1980s — and child drowning rates have continued to fall even in the past decade, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The nation as a whole has experienced a similar, though less dramatic, decline, with drowning rates for children age 14 and younger now about one-third of what they were in the early 1980s.

CLICK HERE for more details.

Drowning Prevention Month

letter from the governor drowning prevention


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Office of the Governor

May 2019

Drowning Prevention Month

This Summer, many Californians will enjoy outdoor activities involving water and swimming. Our Golden State has abundant sources of water, including hundreds of miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, beautiful rivers, lakes and aqueducts and communities with swimming pools. I urge Californians to enjoy these resources and the warm weather, while also being safe and vigilant to prevent drowning.

According to the Drowning Prevention Foundation, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among Californian children ages four and under, with an average of 51 new deaths per year. Children and adults who survive near-drowning accidents often suffer permanent brain damage. The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) currently provides services to 775 survivors of near-drowning accidents who require lifelong assistance for their disabilities.

Knowing how to prevent drowning is a critical step in keeping children safe. Teach them survival skills, ensure they have constant supervision by an adult in and around water, install isolation fencing and alarms around pool areas and know how to respond in an emergency. Basic training in water rescue skills, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could save a life.


Gavin Newsom

Governor of the State of California.


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drowning safety

Governor Brown’s Spring 2018 Drowning Prevention Message

Last year the Governor signed SB 442 (Newman) updating CA’s Pool Safety Act. SB 442 is a dramatic step forward in increasing awareness and safety of residential pools. We hope you are utilizing the opportunity this bill provides to draw attention to water safety and pool safety. It took a dedicated choir of groups to support getting this bill to the Governor, and with the leadership of Senator Newman the bill was signed into law.
As we all know the passage of SB 442 is only one piece of a larger puzzle of drowning prevention. As the Governor’s letter points out drowning is not just a pool safety issue, it also involves CA’s many rivers, beaches and lakes.
As Johnny Johnson, Blue Buoy Swim School and Chairman of the Board, Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation, and Nadina Rigsbee, President Drowning Prevention Foundation have taught us all bodies of water come with risks, and to reduce those risks, especially for little kids, and everyone else:
·       Learn about water safety
·       Learn to swim
·       Learn proper ways to participate in a water rescue, especially know how to do CPR for a drowning victim
·       Fence your pools and use another pool safety barrier as listed in CA’s Pool Safety Act, to provide layers of protection, especially to keep young children from getting to a pool unless there will be active supervision of an adult
·       Never ever and at no time allow a young child access to a pool or other body of water unsupervised
·       Learn how to properly use a life vest when around open bodies of water
And as Julie and Jonathan at the Jasper Ray Foundation stress, there is no season for drowning, it unfortunately is a year around issue.
Far too many people and young children lose their lives each year in CA due to drowning. Drowning can be prevented.
As the Governor’s letter states it is not only the loss of life, but also the brain damage that occurs when a child, youth or adult survives a drowning incident. As DDS reports there are 748 Californian’s receiving support services through the Department of Developmental Services due to a drowning incident. For every child who suffers a fatal drowning incident, five others survive, but have some level of brain injury due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Unlike broken legs and arms, an injury of the brain is forever.
If you have questions about SB 442 contact Cathy Barankin, Executive Director or Steve Barrow, Program Director at CCCSH at or
The Drowning Prevention Foundation joined the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centralia Unified School District at a first-time family clinic on the grounds of the San Marcos School. The Buena Park, CA event focused on swimming pool safety/drowning prevention, nutrition, cancer prevention, and a number of other health and safety tips and resources. Clinic and school volunteers also staffed kids’ crafts and healthy snack stations.

American Academy of Pediatrics Clinic

On March 25, 2018 Marcia Kerr staffed a Drowning Prevention Foundation pool safety information table at the Clinic in the Park sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Orange County Chapter, in Irvine, CA.

Sharing the table was Alexa Pratt with the Orange County Fire Authority for the Orange County Task Force on Downing Prevention and Kevin Hua, clinic volunteer and Cal State University, Fullerton student.

Interactive materials from the Drowning Prevention Foundation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission/Pool Safely, the Orange County Fire Authority and the American Academy of Pediatrics were distributed.

The Easter Bunny made a special appearance at the table to promote water safety this spring and summer!

SB 442 Signed into Law

Great news!!   California Governor Brown signed the state pool barrier bill SB 442 Authored by Senator Josh Newson and Co-Authored by Nancy Skinner.

The cosponsors of SB 442 was the Drowning Prevention Foundation and the California Coalition for Children’s Safety & Health.

State of California not only first to pass a fencing law internationally in (Contra Costa County) initiated by DPF founder Nadina Riggsbee, first to pass state bill AB3305, supported by many Drowning Prevention advocates throughout the state, and now again first and only state in the US to have a double product barrier law.  A major part of the new law is when home is sold and does not have two barriers protecting small children from drowning in backyard pools they are considered defective!