BREAKING: Governor Releases Child-Centered Budget for 2019-2020

Sacramento, January 10, 2019–

California is ushering a new era in the fight to end child poverty. Gov. Gavin Newsom just released his 2019–2020 budget, and he’s tackling poverty. We’re thrilled California is shifting from thinking in terms of piecemeal poverty solutions, to tools that work together in collaboration to help families leave poverty behind. California’s End Child Poverty Plan proposes a powerful group of anti-poverty tools. Many of the solutions in the plan were named today by the governor.

However, if we want to get at the root causes of intergenerational poverty, we need to leverage all of our tools. We listened to the Governor’s entire budget proposal. The biggest investment missing from the new budget? A targeted child tax credit that specifically addresses families in deep poverty.


Families in the most extreme poverty aren’t helped by many anti-poverty tools. These are families living below $12,500 per year for a family of four. They want the best for their children, and they are fighting hard. A targeted child tax credit (as recommended by the Child Poverty Task Force) will help families get to 50% of the federal poverty line. That’s still difficult to live on, but it will greatly reduce the toxic stress and unpredictability that these parents and children face.

“Governor Newsom’s budget is a magnificent start toward ending California’s unfortunate standing as the nation’s poverty capital,” said End Child Poverty in California and GRACE CEO Conway Collis. “Increasing the earned income tax credit, extending it to more people, and increasing CalWORKS grants will have a profound impact on our state’s overall poverty. The CalWORKS proposal will end deep child poverty for those eligible for CalWORKS. Now we have to finish the job. We must build on this foundation to shape a final budget that also changes life for many of the other 450,000 California children who live in deep poverty. As recommended by The Task Force’s Safety Net Subcommittee chaired by Jessica Bartholow from the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Assemblymember Autumn Burke’s AB 24 will do exactly that by developing a targeted child tax credit for those in deep poverty. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature on the targeted child tax credit to ensure our state’s budget lifts adults and children alike from deep poverty.”

It’s still a bright new year for our state. As Conway said, anti-poverty tools that invest in kids and families were the focus of the governor’s budget, including:

  • CalWORKS grants increases, championed by Sen. Holly Mitchell
  • CalEITC (Working Families Tax Credit) increases
  • 6 months of paid family leave
  • Health care expansion for undocumented individuals up to age 26
  • Early childhood education investments
  • Home visiting expansion for mothers from pregnancy through toddlerhood
  • Workforce development
  • Affordable housing investments

We’re so grateful for the work of advocates and partners who have tirelessly worked on these advances.

Join us in congratulating the governor on a children-focused budget and reminding him to keep his focus on families who are suffering the most in California.

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Photo credit: California State Assembly Website

Join In and Share the #EndChildPoverty Press Conference and Plan

Our collective voices are key to making sure ending child poverty is top priority for policy makers.
12/3 press conference
End Child Poverty and the Poor People’s Campaign are hosting a press conference to #EndChildPoverty on Monday, December 3, at 10:15am on the North Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento.

It’s time for ACTION. Join the #EndChildPoverty & @CaliforniaPPC press conference today starting at 10:15am to call for an end to child poverty. Livestream pinned at https://www.facebook.com/AssemblywomanAutumnRBurke/. Add your voice: tag @EndChildPovCA.

We can end deep child poverty for half a million kids. We’re at the Capitol for the @EndChildPovCA & @CaliforniaPPC press conference + rally. 10:15am livestream pinned at https://www.facebook.com/AssemblywomanAutumnRBurke/. Let us know you’re here & share why the #EndChildPoverty fight is important to you.

  • Grab one of the images below to add to your social share, and use the photo to tag others. Accounts to tag:
    • Press Conference Speakers:
    • Community Groups & Advocates:
      • CalEITC4Me @CalEITC4Me
      • California Poor People’s Campaign @CaliforniaPPC @fayetalking
      • CAPPA Advocacy @CAPPAonline
      • Children Now @childrennow
      • Children’s Defense Fund–California @cdfca
      • Choose Children @choose_children
      • County Welfare Directors Association of California @cwda
      • First 5 California @First5CA
      • First 5 Los Angeles @First5LA
      • Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA) @KevanInsko
      • Fresno Economic Opportunity Commission @FresnoEOC
      • Hayward Promise Neighborhood @HaywardPromise
      • Mission Promise Neighborhood @medasf
      • Parent Voices California @ParentVoicesCA
      • Poor People’s Campaign @UniteThePoor
      • Western Center on Law and Poverty @Western_Center
      • Youth Policy Institute @YPIusa
    • Tag our governor: @GavinNewsom


450k kids in deep poverty

There are 450K kids in deep poverty in CA. That would be CA’s 8th largest city. There’s no moral or political justification for this–especially now that CA has a research-based, community-informed plan to #EndChildPoverty. We need your help: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/

Organizations to tag: @Western_Center @CDFCA @ChildrenNow @CWDA @CalEITC4Me @EndChildPovCA @YPIusa

targeted child tax credit

Families in poverty know exactly what they would invest extra money in. That’s why the #EndChildPovertyPlan includes a targeted child tax credit for families in deep poverty–because $12,500 per year for a family of four is unconscionable. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @Western_Center @CDFCA @ChildrenNow @CWDA @CalEITC4Me @EndChildPovCA

The targeted child tax credit in the #EndChildPovertyPlan will let families pay for rent and medical costs. It’s based on the California Poverty Measure, which considers our high cost of housing & out-of-pocket medical expenses. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @CalBudget @PPIC @CenterPovIneq @MathPolResearch @Western_Center @CDFCA @ChildrenNow @CWDA @CalEITC4Me @EndChildPovCA

child care

Right now when parents in deep poverty apply for child care, they get days or weeks. You can’t rise out of poverty without safe, reliable care. That’s why guaranteed child care for kids 0-8 in deep poverty is part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. Sign on: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/

Organizations to tag: @First5CA @First5LA @ChildrenNow @CCRC4Kids @CDFCA @CAPPAadvocacy @CWDA @KidAlliance @EndChildPovCA

promise neighborhoods

With Promise Neighborhoods, programs in communities are coordinated so families get the support they need with less red tape. That’s why expanding #PromiseNeighborhoods is part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @YPIusa @HaywardPromise @EndChildPovCA

eviction protections

Family homelessness is on the rise in California. Families who can afford it may only find RVs and trailers with no running water to live in. That’s why eviction protections are part of California’s #EndChildPovertyPlan. Sign on: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @CountyofLA @CWDA @CRLA @EndChildPovCA

simplified entry application

Getting help when your family is in financial crisis can be a part-time job filled with paperwork and appointments. That’s why the #ChildPovertyPlan includes a simplified entry application for services to cut red tape. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @Western_Center @YPIusa @EndChildPovCA @cwda

home visiting

Voluntary home visiting provides critical prenatal & neonatal support to ensure kids have the building blocks to help them thrive. It’s proven that #HomeVisitingWorks. That’s why expanding it is part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @YPIusa @Latinas4RJ @CDFCA @First5LA @BW4WLA @First5CA @First5LA @wellchildorg @childrennow @TheWomensFndtn

health care

Health care is a human right and all kids deserve it. People living in poverty need access to preventive care–it helps kids stay healthy and reduces ER costs. That’s why expanding coverage is part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. #Health4All Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @Calendow, @HealthAccess, @wellchildorg @childrennow

juvenile justice fees

Charging families juvenile justice fees does nothing to help kids. It only hurts poor families. The fees are harmful, unlawful, and costly. That’s why they’re eliminated as part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. Sign on to support the plan: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/

Organizations to tag: @YouthJusticeLA @Western_Center @CDFCA @CABMOCFunders @CPOC_Probation @NCYLnews @AntiRecidivism @EBCLCnews @LCCRBayArea

foster care

When foster kids age out of care, they can face huge challenges. That’s why the #EndChildPovertyPlan includes increased #fostercare support so young adults can avoid #homelessness. Our kids need support as they transition to adulthood. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @kidalliance, Advocates for Youth, @childrennow, California Coalition for Youth, United Ways of California, UW of Greater LA

Parents caring for a foster child shouldn’t lose wages because a new child in their home doesn’t have child care. The Child Care Bridge Program makes sure foster families have child care. That’s why it’s part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. Find out more: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

Organizations to tag: @KidAlliance @childrennow @CCRC @CDFCA @First5CA @First5LA @CCRC4KIDS

workforce development

A good-paying job with opportunity is critical for working parents. That’s why workforce development is part of the #EndChildPovertyPlan. CA needs to invest in training, job development, and career pathways to support long-term upward economic mobility. http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/

Organizations to tag: @LA Chamber @RubiconPrograms (#BreakPoverty)

additional share videos

Questions? Email evelyn@grace-inc.org

MEDIA ADVISORY: Rally to End Child Poverty on Capitol Steps Monday, Dec. 3

Contact: Yusef Robb, 323-384-1789


Groups Urge Legislative Action on New State Task Force Plan to End Deep Child Poverty in Four Years, Affecting 450,000 CA Children

EDS — See LA Times Story: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-child-poverty-task-force-report-20181119-story.html


End Child Poverty CA , a project of GRACE, and the Northern California Poor People’s Campaign are partnering to lead a rally at the Capitol to urge legislative action on the plan to end deep child poverty in California. The plan was released last week by the state’s Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force created by AB 1520 (Burke). The Task Force plan would reduce overall child poverty in California by 50 percent in four years, helping 1.9 million children suffering the effects of poverty.

Monday, Dec. 3, at 10:15 a.m.

North Steps of the State Capitol, Sacramento


  • Assemblymember Autumn Burke, author of AB1520, which created the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force
  • Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, Chair, Budget Subcommittee 1: Health and Human Services
  • Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Chair, Budget Subcommittee 2: Education Finance
  • Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Assembly District 43
  • Assemblymember Timothy Grayson, Assembly District 14
  • Senator Scott Weiner, Chair, Senate Committee on Human Services
  • Jessica Bartholow, Task Force Member and Policy Advocate, Western Center on Law and Poverty
  • Conway Collis, Task Force Co-Chair and CEO, GRACE (Sponsor of AB 1520)
  • Reverend Dr. Floyd D. Harris, Jr., Assistant Pastor of New Light for New Life Church and Founder of Fresno Freedom School
  • Ruth Ibarra, Northern California Poor People’s Campaign
  • Sr. Julie Kubasak, Provincial Superior, Daughters of Charity, Province of the West
  • Rabbi Steven Jacobs
  • Lenny Mendonca, Co-Chair, California Forward and Board Chair Children Now, joined by David Rattray, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and Matthew Horton, Milken Institute

A diverse gathering of Californians, including children and families, who are the focus on this effort


  • Key elements of the Task Force plan include guaranteed childcare and early childhood education for children in poverty aged 0-8, a targeted child tax credit, CALWORKs grant increases included in last year’s budget and increasing enrollment in critical existing services through expanded outreach and improved technology.
  • California has the highest number of children and highest percentage of children living in poverty of any state in the nation — almost 2 million children, who represent one out of every five California kids. Deep poverty is defined as families living at or below 50 percent of the federal poverty line, or less than about $12,500 for a family of four. In addition, 204,000 California children experience homelessness.
  • Governor-elect Gavin Newsom said he would make ending child poverty a “North Star” of his administration. This plan would end deep child poverty by the end of his first term.
  • The report issued by the Task Force pegs the cost of the four-year plan to eliminate deep child poverty for 450,000 California children starting at 1.6 billion the first year. If concentrated as a population, 450,000 would represent the state’s eighth largest city — larger than Oakland, twice as large as San Bernardino, and just smaller than Long Beach. When fully realized, savings generated by lifting these children from poverty would total $12 billion annually, on an ongoing basis, representing a dramatic return on investment.
  • Task Force Plan: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan
  • The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, and more. Northern California Poor People’s Campaign: https://www.facebook.com/groups/811703285553800/



PRESS RELEASE: State Poverty Task Force Issues Plan to End Deep Child Poverty

For Immediate Release

Contact: Yusef Robb, 323-384-1789



Action Plan Would Also Reduce Overall Child Poverty in California by 50%, Affecting 1.9 Million Children Yearly

SACRAMENTO — The state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force issued a concrete plan today to end deep child poverty in California in just four years when fully implemented, affecting 450,000 children. Key elements of the plan include guaranteed childcare and early childhood education for children in poverty aged 0-8, a targeted child tax credit, and increasing enrollment in critical existing services through expanded outreach and improved technology.

The action plan would also reduce overall child poverty in California by 50 percent over 20 years, affecting 1.9 million children each year.

“We present the report from the Lifting Children and Family Out of Poverty Task Force, with a great sense of both urgency and hope,” stated Task Force Co-Chairs Will Lightbourne, Director, California Department of Social Services, and Conway Collis, GRACE CEO. “When implemented, these recommendations will end deep child and family poverty in California. California will become the first state in America to have done so and will provide a model for the country,”

“When it comes to poverty in California, children are the most vulnerable and suffer the worst. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, but this Task Force Report shows that right now we have the opportunity to change the direction of the lives of children and ultimately the future of California,” said Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood). “The Task Force’s recommendations are rooted in sound, evidence-based data. The research proves that these investments in our children are not only cost-effective, but key to unlocking opportunities in their lives. This roadmap builds upon the work of the past and sets us on course to bend the arc of California towards justice. This report shows we can, we should, and we must eliminate deep child poverty now.”

AB1520, authored by Assemblywoman Burke and sponsored by GRACE, directed the California Department of Social Services to convene the Task Force to develop a research-and-data-driven plan to inform policymaking by the next governor and the legislature to end deep child poverty and reduce overall childhood poverty by 50 percent.

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom said he would make ending child poverty a “North Star” of his administration. This plan would end deep child poverty by the end of his first term.

“The Task Force approached its job by shedding all sacred cows and asking a simple question: ‘Can we build an evidence-based plan that ends deep child poverty in California?’ We have shown that indeed we can. By drawing on the best data, the best research, and the inspiring ideas of community leaders, the Task Force has put together a plan that will make us the first state in the country that ends deep child poverty. It’s not a band-aid plan; it’s not a stop-gap plan — it’s a back-to-fundamentals plan that eliminates deep child poverty by taking on its root causes,” said David Grusky, Ph.D., Director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and a formal researcher to the Task Force, whose research and expertise was essential to its evidence-based approach and overall development.

“Having experienced prolonged periods of poverty as a child, I can tell you that poverty’s cruelty not only permeates a child’s body, but their spirit too,” said Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the Task Force’s Safety-Net Subcommittee Chairperson. “In my 20 years of anti-poverty organizing, program development, and policy advocacy, I have never witnessed such an earnest attempt to design a future where no child is humiliated or harmed by the insult of poverty.”

“This is not some statement of general principles. The evidence shows that when this plan is fully implemented, California will end deep child poverty in the near-term and dramatically reduce overall child poverty in the long-term. That would change hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Task Force Co-Chair and GRACE CEO, Conway Collis. “The majority of California families in poverty are working families, and they simply can’t get ahead with the cost of living and the way our systems are currently structured. This plan provides the help that California’s families need to break out of poverty. It is based on comprehensive research from Stanford, Cal, and the best research in the country, along with extensive community input. This is about results and applying a data-driven, evidence-based, community informed approach.”

The Task Force Report also elicited strong support from the business community.

“Now is the time to focus on the type of economy we hope to build for our state’s shared future prosperity. The Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty report offers a roadmap for increasing California’s capacity to support economic growth and mobility,” said Task Force Member Matthew Horton, Associate Director, California Center, Milken Institute.

David Rattray, executive vice president, Center for Educational Excellence and Talent Development, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce added:

“This plan offers our state the opportunity to eliminate an enormous burden on our budget and our economy. It’s not just fiscally responsible, it’s fiscally and economically necessary. Additionally, this data will continue to amplify our efforts in ensuring all children have access to quality education from cradle to career.”

Additional responses from California leaders and Task Force members:

“The number of children living in deep poverty is a public health crisis in California and these recommendations are important steps to stem the tide of the crisis. In particular, the CalWORKs grant increases and the targeted child tax credits are effective and efficient ways to ensure that children suffering the most have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. There is no time to spare, we must act now on policy recommendations that will reverse this crisis,” said Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association.

“To truly lift children out of poverty, we must start during pregnancy, and address both the parent and child’s needs, including high-quality child care, paid family leave, and home visiting support. That is why the recommendations of the Child Poverty Task Force are so critical. Guaranteed early care for children 0–8 in deep poverty would be a lifeline for parents to help them create pathways out of poverty,” said Task Force Member Camille Maben, Executive Director, First 5 California.

“I cannot emphasize enough how detrimental poverty and deep poverty is to a child’s health and wellbeing. Poor children are more at risk of having developmental delays, behavioral problems, experiencing obesity, as well as increased stress, which can lead to depression and other physical or mental ailments. Implementing the recommendations of this task force would be a life-changer for millions of children across the state,” said Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund–California and Task Force’s Special Populations Subcommittee Chairperson.

“The early years are ground-zero for California’s poverty epidemic. We have an opportunity to break an inter-generational cycle of poverty and that work begins with our kids,” said Task Force Member Kim Pattillo Brownson, Vice President of Policy and Strategy, First 5 LA and the Task Force’s Early Childhood Subcommittee Chairperson.

“One of our foundation’s areas of focus is strengthening children and families to prevent referrals to foster care. The report from the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force does an excellent job of outlining the challenge and offering key solutions to reduce child poverty in California by strengthening families,” said Task Force Member Winnie Wechsler, Executive Director, Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, Pritzker Foster Care Initiative.

“We believe that health is a fundamental human right, and the fact that the Task Force understood the direct relationship between health status and poverty and made strong recommendations that will improve the health of California’s children, is profound. Once again, California is a model for the nation,” said Task Force Member Jim Mangia, CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and the Task Force’s Health Subcommittee Chairperson.

Task Force Member Brian King, of Fresno EOC Street Saints, called the plan “an agile approach to make sure we don’t just move the needle on the issue of poverty, but eliminate it altogether.”

“It is no secret that many of the youth who find their way into California’s juvenile justice system live in poverty. We appreciate the Task Force’s practical policy recommendations to reduce poverty for California’s youth. CPOC strongly supports the important mission of the Task Force,” said Task Force Member and San Francisco Chief Probation Officer Allen A. Nance, Chief Probation Officers of California.

“Families in poverty struggle to find stable employment, housing, access to health care, healthy meals, and a quality education,” said Iris Zuñiga, Executive Vice President, Youth Policy Institute and the Task Force’s Coordinated Services Subcommittee Chairperson. “Place-based strategies like Promise Neighborhoods provide access to high-quality coordinated services to move families out of poverty in the short-term and decrease the chance that poverty will continue into the next generation.”

“These recommendations will advance efforts to build a comprehensive system of services to help move Californians out of poverty. The data sharing recommendations will improve the coordination and evaluation of the state’s various anti-poverty programs,” said Daniel Rounds, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Task Force’s Workforce Training and Support Subcommittee Chairperson.

“With the highest rate of child poverty than any other state, California must prioritize setting the standard for supporting the well-being of children. The Task Force’s report provides the roadmap to support children in deepest poverty starting at birth. It’s time to move forward on these recommendations and ensure all of our children have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Ted Lempert, President, Children Now.

“California is a place of opportunity and innovation, but it’s also a state where too many children are living in poverty. The issues the Task Force raises around early childhood, education, and workforce are especially aligned with Ballmer Group’s belief that every child, regardless of zip code or family circumstance, deserves a chance to achieve the American Dream,” said Task Force member Nina Revoyr, Executive Director-Los Angeles, Ballmer Group.

The report issued by the Task Force pegs the cost of the four-year plan to eliminate deep child poverty for 450,000 California children starting at 1.6 billion the first year. If concentrated as a population, 450,000 would represent the state’s eighth largest city — larger than Oakland, twice as large as San Bernardino, and just smaller than Long Beach. When fully realized, savings generated by lifting these children from poverty would total $12 billion annually, on an ongoing basis, representing a dramatic return on investment.

See report: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

See the report and additional Task Force information on the CDSS site here.

Task Force members: https://bit.ly/2xkBdR1 (EDS: For interview, contact Robb, above)

California has the highest number of children and highest percentage of children living in poverty of any state in the nation — almost 2 million children, who represent one out of every five California kids. Deep poverty is defined as families living at or below 50 percent of the federal poverty line, or less than about $12,500 for a family of four. In addition, 204,000 California children experience homelessness.

GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage), was formed by the Daughters of Charity in 2012 and is dedicated to research, education, and advocacy to reduce child and family poverty in California. After collaborating on groundbreaking research with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, last year GRACE sponsored legislation authored by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke that created the state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force, which was directed to develop a comprehensive plan to end deep child poverty and reduce California’s nation-leading level of child and family poverty.


The Momentum is Building

In September, the Child Poverty Task Force was in Oakland and then Sacramento talking to communities and collaborating on California’s first-ever comprehensive, statewide plan to eliminate deep child poverty and dramatically reduce overall child poverty.

In Oakland we heard from a parent that “Children deserve to be safe, healthy, loved, and protected.” Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?

But in California, nearly half of our kids live at or near the poverty line.

As parents, community members, educators, legislators, and advocates, we can do better.

One thing we keep hearing over and over is that the system is broken. When resources are available, parents don’t know about them or how to access them. Services don’t coordinate together, and families become overwhelmed by bureaucracy.

A group of single moms in Oakland told us how hard they’re working to stay afloat, and that it’s often too hard to figure out how to get support. One parent is going to college and scholarships are hard to find. One parent wants to work, but childcare for her youngest is unaffordable. Meanwhile, daycares are turning away subsidized child care slots because the state doesn’t pay enough to cover the cost of minimum wage care workers. Things are broken.

Supervisor Wilma Chan helped host the Child Poverty Task Force community meeting in Oakland, September 20.

Making an impact in the real lives of families day-to-day is going to take a coordinated effort, and a data-driven, comprehensive plan. That’s why the work of the Child Poverty Task Force is so critical.

The Task Force recommendations come out in November. They will tackle things like housing, childcare, early childhood education, job training, and making sure the system works to make families’ lives easier–not harder.

We’re going to need your help. The power to impact child poverty in California will come from these solutions working all together. We have to make sure legislators get the message.

Make sure you’re signed up to get updates and be part of the push to get California to commit to dramatically reducing child poverty. This is on us.

Parent advocate Armondo De Pina at the Child Poverty Task Force community meeting in Oakland. De Pina got a fair chance to get his kids back, and he wants the same support for other families.

Keeping the California Dream Alive

California is the only state in the union with its very own dream. For generations, people have flocked to this state with hopes of a better future—to fulfill their “California Dream.”

Today, that dream is beginning to dim. A new report showed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Californians say they would tell young people in their communities to actually leave the state to find opportunity elsewhere.

As a Californian, I find that distressing. This campaign is about keeping the future of our state alive, and giving children opportunity to be the best they can be right here in California. Sign up to make that a reality: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/signup/

This past week, our state’s first-ever Child Poverty Task Force gathered in Los Angeles to continue charting a path forward for a comprehensive, statewide plan to keep this dream alive for the 1.9 million children currently living in poverty.

Made up of community leaders and other experts from across the state, we continued looking at how we can coordinate services and invest in research-backed programs to better give working families the chance to live, work, and dream of a better future.

As Task Force member Camille Maben of First 5 California said: “There’s not one silver bullet. There’s a lot of them.” Housing, food, childcare, social services—these core issues beat at the heart of the Task Force’s plan currently taking shape.

Beyond looking at these crucial barriers to families, we also examined how we can make the system smarter and simpler. Far too often, one unexpected expense spirals and it’s nearly impossible for families to navigate our complicated web of social services.

Task Force member Iris Zuñiga of Youth Policy Institute said it best: “It’s almost like a part-time job trying to figure out these different systems.” When many parents are working two to three jobs just to make ends meet, that’s unacceptable.

The numbers don’t lie. In the same survey from PRRI, 42 percent of workers in the state reported cutting back on a doctor’s visit or food just to get by. In the world’s fifth-largest economy, this is shameful.

When implemented, the comprehensive proposals from the Child Poverty Task Force will change California forever. Change takes hard work, though, and it takes Californians of all walks of life speaking out until politicians sit up and listen. Take one minute today and join our movement to make California a land of opportunity for all kids, not just the wealthy few. Our future depends on it.


Toward a better future for all kids,

Conway Collis
End Child Poverty in California

A smarter system starts in Los Angeles

Make no mistake: working families in Los Angeles face countless challenges when trying to get ahead. From skyrocketing rents to the jaw-dropping cost of childcare, families on a budget have difficult choices to make every single day.

That’s what makes organizations like our partners Shields for Families so essential. We recently visited their ASK program in Compton to see what’s working on the ground and how those solutions can be part of California’s statewide plan to end child poverty.

“In this community, there’s this pervasive feeling of hopelessness. So that’s what this program offers people: hope,” said Shields President Dr. Kathryn Icenhower.

How? The key is providing integrated services. Parents who walk through the Shields doors may arrive looking for help with housing, and then discover parenting classes, job training, and childcare right down the hall. It’s all under one roof.

Shields also focuses on helping the whole family in order to help children. Carlos is a working dad who was just completing Shields’ 12-week fatherhood course when we visited, which gives dads emotional support, job training, and a hand navigating complicated bureaucracies. “I feel good about myself now. I had no idea I could fight for my children.”

That positivity and support is a tide that raises all ships. As program manager Reginald Van Appelen said: “When we heal, we teach others to heal. And that trickles down to the children.”

How do we replicate this type of approach statewide? The answer is simple. The Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force is creating a comprehensive, community-first approach to end child poverty. That means creating a smarter, better system where services are streamlined and integrated for working families.

“People suffer in silence because they don’t want to be judged,” John Paul, head of Shields’ job training program said.

It’s time to break the silence. We’re making a plan to end child poverty once and for all. We just 100,000 Californians to demand that our elected leaders put the plan into action. Urge your friends and family to speak out and tell our next governor to put kids first. The future of our state depends on it.



Conway Collis
End Child Poverty in California

Fresno shows us how it’s done.


People ask us all the time: “How can we possibly end child poverty?” Here’s the good news: In California, we have the answers. We just need the courage and will to finally bring proven methods to bear state-wide.

In many ways, Fresno is a model for this state-wide approach to fighting child poverty. Thanks to our friends at the Fresno Equal Opportunities Commission, I recently visited the Central Valley and saw first-hand how advocates on the ground are working together to help kids and working families get ahead.

Here are some solutions that work:

#1. Early Head Start

Early Head Start students at the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission center on Divisadero Street, downtown. “We’re getting calls constantly. We’re only just scratching the surface,” said program director Kathleen Shivaprasad.

Eighty-five percent of the brain develops by age three. That’s what makes Early Head Start programs so critical. The numbers prove that these two perfect kids pictured above will develop language skills quicker and learn better concentration in class. Programs like Early Head Start work. The challenge is funding. The state budget opened 16,000 new childcare slots. That’s great. But 1 million kids still need access. The richest state in America must do better.

#2. Housing

“We need more. We need more housing for these youths. Our model is working, we just don’t have enough resources,” Chrystal Streets at the Sanctuary Youth Shelter in Fresno.

Chrystal Streets manages the Sanctuary Youth Shelter in Fresno, the ONLY youth shelter for kids ages 12–18 in the entire Central Valley from Merced down to Bakersfield. The shelter provides not only a safe place to stay, but mental health counseling as well as guidance navigating a frustrating bureaucracy. The model works—over 90% of kids return to their families or find a permanent home to stay within one month.

The problem: out of 20 beds in the shelter, eight were empty when we visited. These beds could have helped take kids off the street. Instead, they were left vacant because of a lack of funding. We’re the fifth wealthiest economy on the planet. This is shocking, and there’s no excuse not to invest in helping kids in need get back on their feet.

#3. Workforce Training

Photos of graduates from Fresno EOC’s Valley Apprenticeship Connections. Many of these graduates of the 12-week bootcamp went from no jobs to earning $31/hour. “Working makes them think differently about their whole future,” said program director Lydia Gutierrez.

Fresno EOC Valley Apprenticeship Connections is a 12-week bootcamp guiding adults, many of them parents, through the skills need to attain better paying jobs. Director Lydia Gutierrez told us that some participants slept in their cars in the parking lot after overnight shifts at the local Farmer John’s slaughterhouse. All so they could arrive for class at 7am. That dedication pays off—literally. Graduates of the program earn as much as $31 an hour with a staggering job retainment rate of 82 percent after one year. That’s almost double the state average for such programs. These kinds of programs are crucial to making parents and their children independent.

While all of these programs from Fresno EOC have been successful, one thing I kept hearing time and again was this: “We need more.” The staff of Fresno EOC are literally changing lives every day — and they could change more if they only had more. More support. More funding. More help. As the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force continues to make its comprehensive child poverty plan, we will look into expanding programs just like these that empower children and families to take their future into their own hands.

As Jeff Davis of Fresno EOC told us: “We like to think of ourselves as hope merchants. We’re giving the community hope.”

That’s exactly what we aim to do for children across this entire state with this campaign. Thank you for being part of our journey, and bringing hope to the next generation. In order to be successful, we need 100,000 Californians like you to join our movement. Please ask your friends and family to join now. We need you.


Towards a better future for all kids,

Conway Collis
End Child Poverty in California

Voices of the Movement: Ilene Garcia

You know the story. A teen mom drops out of high school. Gives in to depression. Gives up on life.

Thanks to Youth Policy Institute (YPI), that’s not my story.

When I held my son for the first time, I felt pride, joy, but most of all terror. I was raised by a single mom struggling to make ends meet, so I knew: It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how long you study, or how much you love your child. The next day, you may be in the streets.

Like you, I wanted the best future for my child, but I needed a little help. That’s when I found YPI. They showed me the tools I needed to go to college, find a job, and fight for a better life. Now, there’s one thing that keeps me moving no matter how many days I go without sleep: hope.

You can help the next teen mom find hope, too. It’s simple. Share my video and encourage your friends and family to join the movement to end child poverty in California. The End Child Poverty in California campaign is working with organizations like YPI to help young moms and children in poverty across our state change their story.

We can pass hope on one person at a time—and let the world know that together, we’ll end child poverty in California.


Ilene Garcia
Working mom and UCLA student

“Something is going on here.” – Voices from Fresno

Far too often, decisions are made from the top down that affect hardworking people across the state. This campaign has always been about families first, which is why we’re committed to listening before we talk. We want to learn what’s truly working—and what isn’t—so we can create a comprehensive plan that ends deep child poverty once and for all.

Last week it was great to be in Fresno for the second in a series of community meetings to hear from Californians. Thanks to our hosts at the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force (on which I serve as co-chair) attracted a standing-room-only crowd committed to sharing their experiences and ideas for ending child poverty. Over 100 community members and 30 organizations came together for an honest conversation and I was honored to be in the room.

Here are some of the people we heard from.

“Hearing about the poverty rate in California makes me want to do something. When you see homelessness on the street, you think: ‘How can we help?’”

It was inspiring to see young people like Jourdan (above, center) and her sister Alyssa come out to make their voices heard. When youth speak out for themselves, great things happen.

“My vision for a better California is one job per person instead of three. When I was growing up, the fast food industry was for kids. Now it’s for grandmas.”

Gloria Hernandez is a mental health advocate and volunteer in the Central Valley who had brought a list of dozens of points she wanted to make throughout the night. This was one of them: Through education, entrepreneur grants, and workforce training, we can elevate working families to something better than living paycheck-to-paycheck. That opens up the early job experiences youth need to become healthy, independent adults.

“Half of the battle is at home. The students come to school mad and the teachers have no idea why. We need to help them heal first.”

Elder Jackson of Fresno Street Saints brought his entire family, including his daughter Jayden, to share their experience. All too often, he’s seen kids deal with the trauma of poverty quietly and on their own. We need to think about what’s holding kids back from excelling in school—it may be outside the classroom. We also need to provide the kind of multigenerational support to parents and children that truly lifts families up and helps them thrive like the Jacksons.

“As a foster parent, I’ve seen kids come into my home where the kind of abuse and condition they come from is pretty hard to believe. Something is going on here.”

After climbing telephone poles all day for a local telecom company, Stan Santos spends “every other waking hour” helping people in need as an immigration advocate and foster parent. He’s exactly the type of person who provides the spark for our movement. His point is backed up by numbers, too. Over 60% of child sex trafficking victims come out of the foster care system. We have to step up for our most vulnerable youth and extend the care and benefits that help foster kids stand on their own two feet after they leave the system.

What’s next? We have another community meeting coming up in Oakland, and we’ll continue to ask Californians for their thoughts on how we build a plan from the ground up.

For now, Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula of the Central Valley said it best: “It’s not up to us to come up with all the answers. It’s up to us to be the vehicles of change.” The AB 1520 Task Force is listening to the voices of Californians like these to help create a plan to end deep child poverty in California.

To get the plan working, we need 100,000 concerned Californians fired up about fighting this fight. Be a vehicle of change. Tell your friends and family to join and grow the movement. We can do this together.


Conway Collis
End Child Poverty in California



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