Hands Off! No Cuts! No Delays! IMAGINE 2024 Rally is Happening Next Week 5/15!

On Wednesday, May 15th, End Child Poverty California and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California will be co-hosting the 2024 IMAGINE Rally at the State Capitol. We are gathering to stop the CalWORKs double cut, fulfill child care rate reform and slots, ensure foster youth are stable and secure, protect the workers who provide vital public services!

The day will start with hearing from our community leaders in action, from the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Project SPARC, California Youth Connection, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), Hayward Promise, Lideres Campesinas, and SEIU CA along with Assemblymembers Corey Jackson & Issac Bryan. Attendees will also have the opportunity to have advocacy visits with legislative leaders and their staff!

California needs a fair budget now, and the best way to get there is to protect those who need it most. Latine and Black families disproportionally experience poverty in California. Thirteen percent of California children are experiencing poverty and 76 % of California families are experiencing poverty with at least one working adult. We can IMAGINE a future where all our children are nourished, respected, secure, valued and free.

Please register here to attend and we will see you soon!

California Budget Center’s “Policy Insights” Conference Brings Policy Community Together

On April 16th, the California Budget & Policy Center hosted their annual “Policy Insights” conference. From philanthropy to grassroots community-based organizations, stakeholders from across the state came together to brainstorm pathways towards inclusive policies that ensure access to food, shelter, and a stronger safety net to fall back on. California is the fourth largest economy in the world — instead balancing the budget on the backs of Black, Brown, Indigenous, AAPI, and immigrant communities, the state has the wealth and opportunity to lift millions of children and families out of poverty.

GRACE/End Child Poverty in California’s own Yesenia Jimenez spoke on the Baby Bonds panel about the state’s devastating racial wealth gap and stressed the need to invest in HOPE Accounts and the HOPE Act. “The program is designed for future expansion to ensure all infants born into poverty in California can access and participate in the state’s economy. The HOPE Act intends to create opportunity, economic autonomy, and inspire hope to reverse our state’s record level of inequality.” Amanda Feinstein, Director of the California Child Savings Account Coalition, also spoke on the panel and identified early wealth building investments such as Child Savings Accounts, Child Development Accounts, child trust funds as well as Baby Bonds and HOPE Accounts. The success of such investments, Feinstein shared, is based on targeted, funded and meaningful sums and long-term educational and economic success.

Powerful discussion on reparations from California Black Power Network Executive Director and co-founder James Woodson, (bio) Felicia Jones, and (bio) Don Tamaki, moderated by John Kim acknowledged the wealth stripped away from Black, Indigenous and other communities of color. Woodson states, “we still have slavery in the California Constitution. From a moral and practical standpoint, reparations requires a multiracial alliance to support Black led power building and liberation.” Additionally, Assemblymember Issac Bryan stressed that the California Budget can create a pathway to reparations by reinvesting money previous used to harm communities of color.

The California Budget Center’s Policy Insights Conference fostered collaboration, action and multiracial solidarity building to generating state revenues and provided valuable insight on how we can create systemic policy pathways and further empower our communities. We are encouraged that when faced with challenging budget decisions ahead, equitable policies that empower and support all Californians are possible.

IMAGINE 2024: Priorities to End Child Poverty

Our 170+ End Child Poverty CA partners and allies are stronger than ever in 2024! We IMAGINE a future where all our children are nourished, respected, secure, valued & FREE. 

California is blessed with abundance. We can use our wealth to back up our values and end child poverty. We reject cuts to programs that support our families. We’re here to move #ForwardTogether #NoGoingBack.

Download the ECPCA IMAGINE 2024 Policy Priorities One-Pager for Legislative Visits.

Safety Net  We are secure

  • ReImagine CalWORKs to be family-centered, anti-racist, and provide real pathways out of poverty (Budget)
  • End poverty in CalWORKs & SSI/SSP (Budget)
  • Child support: full pass-through for current CalWORKs families, and end collection of child support debt (Budget)
  • Foster youth: maintain robust investments that support the critical needs of foster youth (Budget)

Child Care – We are respected

  • Remove the “pause” and meet the Governor’s promise of 200,000 child care slots by 2026-27
  • Fully implement a single-rate structure to pay providers the true cost of child care (AB 596 Asm. Reyes; AB 596, Sen. Limon; AB 380, Budget)
  • CA Budget: Support Equitable Access to All ECE options that meet families’ needs

Hunger  We are nourished

  • Provide Food 4 All Californians (SB 245 Sen. Hurtado; AB 311, Asm. Santiago)
  • End summer hunger for children and families (Budget)
  • CalFresh: Statewide minimum $50 benefit (Sen. Menjivar, Budget)

Strong Communities & Tax Credits – We are valued

  • Create a Safety Net For All: wage replacement for undocumented workers (Asm. Durazo; SB 227, Budget)
  • Ensure and strengthen continuous coverage for children and families enrolled in Medi-Cal (Asm. Boerner; Budget)
  • Period equity now (Sen. Menjivar; SB 953)
  • Diaper need: fulfill unmet need (Asm. Ortega)

Keeping Families Whole – We are free

  • Bolster It Takes A Village place-based anti-poverty networks (Asm. Bonta & Asm. Jackson; Budget)
  • Maintain $20M in VITA free tax preparation assistance (Budget)
  • Plan for permanent statewide Guaranteed Income (Asm. Friedman)

ECPCA & EPIC Co-Host “Baby Bonds in Action: From California to the Nation’s Capital”

February 22, 2024 – Oakland was filled with energy, community and all things Baby Bonds during our forum “Baby Bonds in Action: From California to the Nation’s Capital” in partnership with End Poverty in California (EPIC) on February 22, 2024. Check out our livestream!

Baby Bonds are a financial investment made when a child is born. They are available for that child to use for wealth-building tools as an adult. We know that Baby Bonds are a policy solution that helps level the playing field and bridge the racial wealth gap.

California State Senator Nancy Skinner speaks at “Baby Bonds in Action”

In California, we are creating the nation’s largest Baby Bonds program through a racial equity framework, allowing funds to be used for any wealth-building activity someone chooses for themselves.

As community member Jala Abner stated, “we continuously emphasize the need for financial literacy amongst the recipients of Baby Bonds…but what can we do to reduce the statistical or institutional discrimination that takes place within financial institutions?” We must name systemic racism & the gaping racial wealth gap to end poverty.

Panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and spoken word (check out Gia McLean’s poem below!) filled the day with joy, collaboration, and inspiration. Thank you to our wonderful lineup from John Burton Advocates for Youth, Liberation in a Generation, Parent Voices CA, the University of Michigan, The New School, The JPMorgan Chase Policy Center, the offices of the California, Washington, and Connecticut State Treasurer, End Poverty in California (EPIC), and GRACE/End Child Poverty California (ECPCA). Thank you to Senator Nancy Skinner, Mayor Michael Tubbs  and Governor Newsom’s office for the words of support.

We had the great fortune and pleasure of hearing from youth leaders during our “Investing in Our Future: Youth Voices on Baby Bonds” panel. Youth leader Amaris Gilbert said, “It’s exhausting trying to talk over people who are trying to speak for you.” Gilbert and her peers deserve the chance to build their financial future, regardless of their family’s economic security.

Left to right: HOPE Program Executive Director Kasey O’Connor, Mayor and EPIC founder Michael Tubbs, Youth Leader Ameris Gilbert, Youth Leader Janessa Smith, Senator Nancy Skinner, Youth Leader Marta Rivas, John Burton Advocates for Youth Youth advocate mentor Cory Van Felden, President & CEO of GRACE/End Child Poverty CA Shimica Gaskins.

The data are clear about the power of Baby Bonds to close the racial wealth gap. We will continue to reach out to impacted families for enrollment  in California’s program, and advocate for implementation of Baby Bonds. Thank you to all who joined us for a powerful day of action and community.

Big thanks to all of our wonderful speakers and moderators!

Poem by Gia McLean, Parent Voices CA

The coldness of winter leaves, ideas of warmth, well-being, family, and public policies
The balance of grappling emotions
The stillness of our homes
The laundry basket with 15 pair of jeansBonds of our families, health, and well-being abuelitaI
Stretched the love in my bones to modern jazz
February 2024
The coldness of winter leaves opportunities to end poverty in California
Nurturance of bonds, community connections, and diversity within families

The kids quickly run inside
No daunting task of chores, the liberty to create, love, learn
The balance of well-being, plenty, health to our bodies, and alleviating droughts of meditation
Legislative account of prosperity
Public policies that unfold stories of inclusivity, fades
The sunrise of our children brings warmth
The clarity of Beautiful bonesBlack hair, and hazel eyes
Art, education, laughter, diversityMy kids, and families post pandemic.

End Child Poverty CA Celebrates Successful IMAGINE 2024 #ForwardTogether Legislative Briefing!

THANK YOU to our End Child Poverty Coalition partners, allies, & friends for an amazing IMAGINE 2024 #ForwardTogether Legislative Briefing! The day was filled with storytelling, collaboration, advocacy, and a commitment to move #ForwardTogether, no going back. Take a look at our livestream and highlights!

Coalition members spoke about anti-hunger priorities, baby bonds for foster youth, state budget needs for children, fair living wages for childcare providers, MediCal renewal, access to tax credits and resources, and more! We sincerely appreciate the support and words of elected leaders Assemblymember Liz Ortega and Jess Bartholow from Senator Nancy Skinner’s office.

Powerful personal stories push our leaders to act. Thank you so much to Junebug, Liliana, Sayda, Bryan, Benyamin, Jess, for sharing their heart and soul in front of a standing-room-only crowd. We were incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Liz Ortega for sharing her personal story of being a single mother fighting for dignity. She now takes that experience to the capital to create change–acting on diaper needs and other issues affecting families. 

Advocates Tiffany, Itzúl, Jennifer, Kristen, Anna, Terri, Alissa, Bryan and Jessica laid out each part of the 2024 IMAGINE campaign’s policy priorities this year. The End Child Poverty CA Coalition has been incredibly successful in winning billions of dollars in proven investments to lift up children and families. In a tough economic year, we are committed to creative, equity-focused ways to continue moving forward. 

“I either pay someone out of pocket to take care of them with money we don’t have or I stay home and feel like I can’t give them the education I want for them when they’re young. We should be able to get ahead.
– Liliana Camacho, Parent Voices Santa Clara

“In my family the idea of food has always been associated with money, stress, basic necessity. I want to save other families the stress of such a tight food budget.”
Bryan, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano

As Alissa Anderson of the California Budget and Policy Center said, “We know which investments are needed but we also know how to make those investments. It’s through fairer taxation. This is a policy choice and elected officials can choose differently.” 

The Legislative briefing was a great opportunity to come together behind a shared vision to move #ForwardTogether in 2024 to end child poverty. 

Partnership is an essential part of our work and our collective mission. TOGETHER, we will continue to IMAGINE a future where our children are secure, nourished, respected, valued, and free. Thank you to all the attendees, including Senate and Assembly staff, consultants, and other agency representatives who took the time to come out and listen.

  • Shout outs to everyone who helped make this day happen, including our speakers!
    • Jess Bartholow, Senator Nancy Skinner, and her team
    • Margaret Hanlon and the Legislative Women’s Caucus
    • Assemblymember Liz Ortega and her team
    • Alissa Anderson, California Budget & Policy Center
    • Amerika Nino-Rodriguez, Dolores Huerta Foundation
    • Tiffany Whiten, SEIU California
    • Liliana Camacho and June Kealoha; Jennifer Greppi and the entire Parent Voices squad
    • Kristen Golden Testa, The Children’s Partnership
    • Bryan Rodriguez, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano
    • Itzúl Gutierrez, California Association of Food Banks
    • Benyamin Chao, California Immigrant Policy Center
    • Sayda Turcios, Lideres Campesinas & Safety Net for All Coalition
    • Richard Raya, MEDA and Mission Promise Neighborhood
    • Teri Olle, Economic Security Project California
    • Anna Hasselblad, United Ways of California
    • Sara Bachez, Children Now
  • Major kudos to our partners who filled the room and tuned in on Instagram! ECPCA organizations participating included:
    • Golden State Opportunity
    • California Budget & Policy Center
    • The Children’s Partnership
    • California Association of Food Banks
    • Western Center on Law and Poverty
    • Parent Voices
    • Child Care Resource Center
    • Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations
    • California WIC Association
    • Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano
    • The CAP Center
    • California Catholic Conference
    • United Ways of California
    • Friends Committee on Legislation of California
    • Oakland Promise
    • Dolores Huerta Foundation
    • Children Now
    • Economic Security Council California
    • SEIU California
    • Lideres Campesinas
    • Safety Net for All Coalition
    • California Immigrant Policy Center
    • PolicyLink

Summary of California’s Budget Investments to Fight Child & Family Poverty in 2023-24

At GRACE, we imagine a California where children and families receive accessible and equitable investments to ensure a secure and stable present, and advance a future free from poverty. Public policy is a fundamental tool to realize this vision with the power to dismantle poverty driven by systems of oppression and foster a community-led future where all people thrive. The state’s budget is a powerful tool to achieve these outcomes and is a statement of California’s values as the state determines which priorities merit investment. 

In the face of a budget problem, we thank Governor Newsom and the Legislature for drawing a hard line against austerity cuts, learning the lessons of the failed Great Recession response by protecting programs and making key investments benefiting low- and no-income Californians. It is more vital than ever to invest in anti-poverty programs during tough economic times and we are grateful that the Administration and Legislature acted in alignment with our vision to end poverty. 

IMAGINE Budget Victories

We celebrate the major wins of our coalition’s campaign and thank the Legislators, ECPCA partners, and community leaders who fought tirelessly seeing them to success. 

Child Care: Eliminate Family Fees

$56 million for the historic victory to permanently bring family fees to the federal minimums: eliminating family fees for 375,000 families and capping fees at 1% for families at or above 75% of the State Median Income starting October 1st. The agreement also forgives debt from uncollected family fees accrued prior to October 1st, 2023. 

Child Care Rate Reform

$1.4 billion in one-time funds to increase child care provider rates and a commitment to move from a market rate to a cost-based model, which included commensurate increases throughout the child care system. This is a major victory to improve child care provider payment rates and practices to increase parent choice for child care arrangements and help stabilize operations for participating providers. Key details on implementation were subject to agreement with Child Care Providers United, which ratified a new two-year contract codifying key wins in early August. 

CalWORKs Grant Increase

$500 million ongoing to finally end childhood deep poverty in the CalWORKs program by providing a permanent 10% increase to CalWORKs grants.

CalFresh Minimum Nutrition Benefit

$15 million in one-time funds to establish the CalFresh Minimum Nutrition Pilot Program that will provide 12 months of benefits not less than $50, more than double the federal minimum allotment of $23 per month. This is a key step toward a statewide minimum $50 benefit to fight the record hunger cliff while supporting our vital food economy, as proposed by SB 600 (Menjivar).

Summer EBT for All

$47 million in state and federal funds to begin implementation of Summer EBT to end summer hunger. The human services budget trailer bill ensures California will maximize the new Summer EBT program available to states in summer 2024, expected to bring approximately half a billion dollars in federal food benefits to California children in low-income families. 

Food for All

$40 million in one-time funds to begin the outreach and automation necessary for the implementation of new CalFresh eligibility for people who are 55+ years old and are not currently receiving benefits due solely to immigration status. The human services budget trailer bill also rejected a proposed delay to January 2027 and instead established a start date of October 2025.

Prevent Debt Interceptions to FYTC Households

The 2022-23 budget created the Foster Youth Tax Credit (FYTC) to provide former foster youth with cash assistance. In the first year of implementation, some recipients had their credit either partially or wholly intercepted to pay off debt held in their name by the state. Because identity theft is experienced at high levels by foster youth, it is believed that a significant amount of this debt was not even debt they owed. Building upon efforts that started with the 2021-22 budget’s protection of refundable credits from debt interceptions, the 2023-24 budget adds the FYTC to the list of protected credits, ensuring foster youth recipients receive the full credit they are owed. All of these intercept protections will be effective in 2024.

School Meals for All

Nearly $300 million to bolster and continue the successful implementation of California’s nation-leading healthy school meals for all program. 

Remaining IMAGINE Priorities

While there were many victories this year, there were also priorities yet unfulfilled. We are confident that anything not accomplished was from a lack of resources, not a lack of shared vision for a more just and prosperous California, and that low-income Californians have a robust safety net that gives them opportunities for their future. We are grateful for the work of our budget champions and the ongoing efforts to ensure the revenues necessary for continued investments. We are excited to move these priorities forward together next year.

Reimagine CalWORKS

The budget did not include the package of investments needed to dismantle the Pete Wilson rules grounded in sexism and racism that still punish the disproportionately Black and Brown women and children served by CalWORKs. Reimagine CalWORKs would create an anti-racist, family-centered program that aligns with the Governor’s north star to end child poverty by reforming sanctions that push 60,000 children into deeper poverty. As proposed by Assemblymember Arambula and Senator Rubio.

Safety Net for All

The budget fails to include an investment ensuring a safety net for all by providing unemployment benefits to excluded immigrant workers, nor does it include investment in a workgroup to study the pathway to this critically needed investment. As proposed by Senator Durazo and Assemblymember Carrillo.

It Takes a Village

The It Takes a Village initiative would have provided $45.5 million in one-time funds to expand the highly successful place-based anti-poverty programs working in front-line communities across the state of California. The programs provide a coordinated continuum of educational, health, and community services and supports at every stage of a child’s life–from before birth through college and career–to ensure children succeed in schools and families move out of poverty. As proposed by Assemblymember Bonta and Senator Hurtado.

CalEITC Minimum $300

The CalEITC Coalition sought to increase the CalEITC minimum credit from the current $1 to $300, making the credit more meaningful to recipients and bolstering the ability of the CalEITC to fight poverty and reverse racial inequities. We thank the Senate for their significant support in the June Budget, and their ongoing through SB 220. As proposed by Assemblymember Gipson and the CA Senate.

Young Child Tax Credit for All

The proposal would have expanded the YCTC to reach all CalEITC-eligible filers who claimed dependents. This would provide a $1.70 return for every $1 invested, as families spend these funds to support their basic needs and the funds move through their local economies. As proposed by Assemblymember Santiago. 

Prevent Child Support Debt from Disrupting Families 

The budget ensures timely implementation of the full pass-through for former CalWORKs families by April 2024. The Truth and Justice in Child Support Coalition will seek to eliminate uncollectible government-owned child support debt, as well as extend the full pass-through to current CalWORKs families.

12-Month Comprehensive Perinatal Services 

The budget did not extend social support benefits of Medi-Cal’s Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program to 12 months postpartum to protect maternal and infant health. As proposed by Assemblymember Schiavo.

We again extend our appreciation to the Legislators who championed this year’s ECPCA Imagine Campaign budget priorities and for the continued work by the Governor and Legislature to prioritize investments in our communities. These priorities are informed by and will make continued progress toward the goals of the Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Task Force

Our coalition looks forward to continuing our shared work with partners, community, the Legislature, and the Administration to realize our vision and lift all children and families out of poverty.

End Child Poverty California Statement on 2023-24 California Budget

GRACE & ECPCA praise a California state budget that protects and makes key progress, calls for a bold vision of revenues and investments needed to end child poverty.

Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty California

At GRACE, we dare to dream of a future in which every child is valued and free, and know that budgets, as statements of values, make critical choices that affect our ability to end poverty through public policy. We are grateful that this budget protects critical progress, using the limited resources available to make important investments and prepare for the next opportunity to make significant movement toward that goal.

Governor Newsom and Legislative leaders are applauded for making clear from the outset that, despite the budget problem, we would learn from the mistakes of the devastating Great Recession cuts. This budget ends the conversation that austerity is the right approach during downturns: anti-poverty programs are needed more during hard times, and support economic recovery through their tremendous return on investment.

There are several End Child Poverty CA IMAGINE victories in this budget, including:

Child care
• Historic restructuring of family fees based in racist, sexist stereotypes about Black and Brown mothers, capping fees at 1% of family income and preventing collection of family fee debts from the pandemic.
• We stand in solidarity with Child Care Providers United and all providers that our early education workforce needs permanent rate reform and sustainable wages, not short-term stipends.

• Permanent 10% increase to CalWORKs grants, and a requirement to display grant levels relative to the federal poverty level including the Assistance Unit +1 to reflect that a significant share of households have an unaided adult due to sanction, immigration status, or other barrier. This is a direct, material step toward our mission of ending child poverty and we thank the Legislature and Governor for this achievement.

• Establish the CalFresh Minimum Pilot Program to provide 1 year of CalFresh benefits of at least $50 a month, more than double the $23 federal minimum. We thank Senator Menjivar for making this a priority to address the unprecedented hunger cliff caused by federal cuts. This is a critical step toward a permanent, statewide minimum benefit envisioned in Sen. Menjivar’s SB 600 and first introduced in 2017 (AB 2297, Arambula).

School & Summer Meals For All
• More than $300 million to bolster California’s first-in-the-nation school meals for all.
• Maximize Summer EBT participation to ensure as many low-income children as possible receive the benefit to which they are entitled. We thank Senator Skinner, who remarked that while this may appear small it unlocks nearly $500 million in federally funded food benefits to prevent child summer hunger.
• Summer EBT became a nationwide program through the 2022 Omnibus, culminating a decade of advocacy led by California Members of Congress and anti-hunger advocates. We call on Congress to pass Rep. Mike Levin’s Stop Child Hunger Act to bolster Summer EBT, including during unanticipated disasters when children are in greatest need.

Foster Youth
• Create a housing supplement for youth in a supervised independent living placement (SILP) to prevent youth homelessness.
• Prevent the Foster Youth Tax Credit from debt interception, fulfilling the original intent and preventing inequitable treatment for foster youth.

We are disappointed that despite the larger, accelerated Managed Care Organization tax, the trigger for continuous Medi-Cal coverage for kids 0-5 remains and that the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program benefit was not extended.

Looking forward, we are prepared to work with the Administration on what was not achieved, including the Reimagine CalWORKs package to fulfill this vital program as anti-racist and family centered. We celebrate the progress made this first year, led by Asm. Arambula and Senators Menjivar and Rubio. Reimagine CalWORKs aligns with the Governor’s north star to end child poverty by reforming sanctions that push 60,000 children into deeper poverty.

We are confident that anything not accomplished was from a lack of resources, not a lack of shared vision for a more just, prosperous California, and that low-income Californians have a robust safety net that gives them opportunities for their future.

California still has the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation, and policymakers must continue to act. We call for comprehensive approaches such as the Senate’s Plan that included more equitable revenues as well as investments in safety net programs, refundable tax credits, and other proven anti-poverty strategies.

Our coalition of over 170 partners and allies looks forward to engaging with the Governor, Administration, and Legislature to see all IMAGINE priorities are achieved as part of a pathway to lift all children and families out of poverty.

RELEASE: End Child Poverty CA Statement on #CABudget 2023-24 May Revision

GRACE & End Child Poverty California Applaud Governor Newsom’s May Revise Budget that Protects and Makes Critical Anti-Poverty Investments

Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty California

Today, Governor Newsom released his revised 2023-24 Proposed Budget Summary.

GRACE dares to dream of a future in which every child is valued and free, and the Governor’s May Revision makes important investments and protects critical progress to ensure we continue to make that vision a reality.

We applaud Governor Newsom and his Administration for establishing those priorities while closing a substantially larger budget problem than anticipated in January, given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the final budget condition.

In particular, the May Revise adopts many community-informed End Child Poverty CA IMAGINE priorities, including: 

  • $300 million to reinforce and prioritize California’s historic Universal School Meals program.
  • $23.5 million to ensure timely implementation of the federal Summer EBT program in summer 2024. This is vital to make use of hundreds of millions available in federal food assistance dollars, and ensure eligible children receive this powerful, nourishing benefit.
  • Acceleration of Food 4 All to October 2025 for any Californian aged 55 or older, regardless of immigration status. This is a life-saving change that speeds up implementation by over a year, from the original January 2027.
  • $42.9 million to keep California at the forefront of restoring stolen CalFresh benefits and protecting EBT cardholders from devastating theft targeted at them by sophisticated criminal networks.
  • $200 million to continue waiving outdated, racist child care family fees through September 30, 2023, and stipends to support child care providers.
  • A larger CalWORKs grant increase and sustained support to restore SSI grants.
  • Prevention of delays to student housing investments. 
  • Protection of progress made in a significant number of anti-poverty safety net refundable tax credits and other programs, with–importantly–no new trigger cuts.
  • Leverage of some new revenues, such as $2.5 billion from accelerating the federal MCO tax.

The May Revise proposes a withdrawal of $450 million from the Safety Net Reserve. CalWORks and Medi-Cal investments should instead come from other funds: the purpose of the Safety Net Reserve is for spikes in enrollment, which we do not currently have but may still occur, especially given the projection for a potential recession. 

California also still has the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation. Policymakers must continue to take decisive action.

The good news is that the state and federal government have unequivocally shown that poverty is a policy choice, and the budget is the premier opportunity to advance a poverty-free future. 

We urge the Governor, Administration, and Legislature to embrace a comprehensive approach to the budget, as proposed in the Senate Budget Plan. This plan would move California forward together toward a more equitable future. We especially uplift this plan’s smart and effective combination of both revenues to ensure that wealthy corporations pay their fair share, and new investments in programs proven to lift children and families out of poverty and reverse long-standing racial inequities.

We again thank Governor Newsom for his continued leadership to put wealth to work and ensure that the values of California’s budget, both revenues and investments, prioritize a future free from poverty we know is possible.

Our coalition of over 170 groups of partners and allies looks forward to engaging with all stakeholders as the budget process continues.

click here to view our IMAGINE priorities.

IMAGINE: 2023 Policy Priorities to End Child Poverty

Our 170+ End Child Poverty CA partners and allies continue to unite in 2023! We IMAGINE a future where all our children are nourished, respected, secure, valued & FREE. In a state as rich and abundant as California, we can use our wealth to back up our values… and end child poverty: #ForwardTogether.

  • POLICY INFORMATION and communications tools below.
  • Download IMAGINE one-pager as a printable PDF: CLICK HERE.
Download as a printable PDF: CLICK HERE.

Hunger We are nourished

SB 245 (Hurtado):California Food Assistance Program: Eligibility and Benefits, AB 311 (Santiago): The Food For ALL Act

  • Purpose:
    • Provide #Food4All Californians

SB 600 (Menjivar):California CalFresh Minimum Benefit Adequacy Act of 2023

  • Purpose:
    • Create a CalFresh minimum of $50 a month
    • Support food banks through CalFood
    • Fight the 500M monthly federal hunger cliff

SB 348 (Skinner): Expanding California School Meals for All Legislation

  • Purpose:
    • Build on historic school & summer meals for all

Child Care – We are respected

AB 596 (Reyes), SB 380 (Limón): Early Learning and Care: Rate Reform

  • Purpose:
    • Provide livable wages and rates for child care based on true costs that eliminate fees.
    • Support equitable access to all ECE options that meet families needs
    • Ensure the rollout of all 200 slots

CA Budget: Support Equitable Access to All ECE options that meet families’ needs

Safety Net – We are secure

SB 227 (Durazo): Unemployment: Excluded Workers Program

AB 608 (Schiavo): Medi-Cal: Comprehensive Perinatal Services

CA Budget: Ensure kids, seniors, and persons with disabilities do not lose Medi-Cal when the public health emergency unwinds in April

Strong Communities & Tax CreditsWe are valued

AB 1321 (Bonta): California Coordinated Neighborhood and Community Services Grant Program

  • Purpose: bolster Cradle-to-Career networks to ensure equitable state investments in community

AB 1498 (Gipson): Personal Income Tax: Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Purpose: Lift the minimum CalEITC credit to $300

AB 1128 (Santiago): Young Child Tax Credit Expansion

Keeping Families Whole – We are free

SB 274 (Skinner): Suspensions and Expulsions: Willful Defiance, AB 1323 (Kalra): School Safety: Mandatory Notifications

CA Budget: Keep Families Whole

  • Purpose: Address child support disparities that disrupt families

CA Budget: End Poverty in CalWORKs & SSI/SSP

AB 310 (Arambula): CalWORKs

  • Purpose: Reimagine CalWORKs to make it family-centered & anti-racist

Successful ECPCA Member Briefing! Thank you!

To see highlights from the day: Click here for Twitter, here for Facebook, and here for Instagram!

What a joy and pleasure it was to be joined by our partners, family and community leaders, and our legislators at the Lifting Children & Families Out of Poverty Legislative Briefing! Our community came together in the State Capitol to make our voices heard. We’re ready to take action on the issues facing Californians living in poverty in 2023. 

We know that poverty is a policy choice. We also know the solutions to end it. 

Thank you to Senator Nancy Skinner, Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta and all who spoke for your show of support and powerful words. Take a look at the full list of speakers below. We value our leaders who prioritize support for ALL California children!

“People don’t appreciate that families are living on the edge, and the toxic stress that poverty places on them and their children and families. It is imperative we prioritize ending poverty even in a year when we may be in deficit.”

Senator Nancy Skinner

“We cannot continue to brag about what a great state we are, if we don’t share the wealth. We need to bring the money back to the people who create it. My question to you all is, ‘Are you ready to do the work?’”

Dolores Huerta

Our coalition is ready for action in 2023. We will continue to lift each other up and push for policies that lift children and families out of poverty for good!


Thank you to our speakers!

Senator Nancy Skinner

Civil Rights Leader, Dolores Huerta

Gia Mclean, Parent Voices

Maritza De León, Parent Voices

Josefina Ramirez Notsinneh, Children Now

Tiffany Whiten, California State Council of SEIU

Mayra Alvarez, The Children’s Partnership

Itzúl Gutierrez, California Association of Food Banks

Joel Campos, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County 

Alexis Castro, California Immigrant Policy Center 

Mónica Lazo, Golden State Opportunity

Mandy Nand, United Ways of California

Christopher Sanchez, Western Center on Law & Poverty

Senator Nancy Skinner gives opening remarks during the ECPCA Member Briefing on January 25, 2023.

While we couldn’t live stream the event, the recording is on YouTube and also can be viewed on Senator Skinner’s website.

Lifting Children & Families Out of Poverty Member Briefing

Introductions & Opening Remarks

  • 0:00: Andrew Cheyne, GRACE & ECPCA
  • 2:30: Senator Nancy Skinner
  • 10:29: Gia Jones, Parent Voices CA (Q&A with Gia starts at 14:00)
  • 17:28: Shimica Gaskins, GRACE & ECPCA
  • 21:54: Devon Gray, EPIC
  • 27:06: Chris Hoene, California Budget & Policy Center
  • 34:29: Camila Chavez, Dolores Huerta Foundation
  • 41:15: Dolores Huerta, Dolores Huerta Foundation

Policy Area Presentations

Early Care and Education
46:45: Maritza de León, Parent Voices
50:25: Josefina Ramirez Notsinneh, Children Now

53:13: Tiffany Whiten, California State Council of SEIU

Health Care and a Whole Child Approach
58:18: Mayra Alvarez, The Children’s Partnership

Hunger Cliff and Anti-Hunger Priorities
1:04:19: Itzúl Gutierrez, California Association of Food Banks
1:07:00: Joel Campos, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County

Safety Net 4 All
1:11:20: Alexis Castro, California Immigrant Policy Center

Tax Credit Equity
1:15:39: Mandy Nand, United Ways of California
1:18:46: Mónica Lazo, Golden State Opportunity

Access to Justice
1:21:30: Christopher Sanchez, Western Center on Law and Poverty

Reimaging CalWORKs
1:23:48: Andrew Cheyne, GRACE & ECPCA

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John Lewis, Civil Rights Leader

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