RELEASE: Governor and Legislature Must Adopt Final California Budget that Prevents Harm To Children and Families

May 10, 2024, Pasadena, Calif.

Just two years ago, child poverty was at historic lows through a combination of landmark state and federal actions during the pandemic. Now we see the dramatic, preventable, rise in overall child poverty. With this uptick, we also see deep racial disparities. 

Based on our current analysis of today’s May Revision CA Budget summary, we commend the continued progress on previous anti-poverty investments, and the prevented cuts. At the start of his administration, the Governor made ending child poverty his North Star. Actions by the Administration and Legislature over the past several years have proven those values. 

Positive news in the Governor’s May Revise:

Proposed Eliminations Include at Least:

  • CalWORKs:
    • $47.1M ongoing cut to the Home Visiting Program (45%).
    • $126.6M permanent elimination of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services funding.
    • $272M one-time cut to the Single Allocation.
    • Including January proposed $1.2 billion double-cut to CalWORKs and the Safety Net Reserve, this is at least some $1.75 billion in cuts to CalWORKs
  • $94.7M eliminating the In-Home Supportive Services undocumented expansion for all ages.

Proposed Delays Include at Least:

  • Implementation of Food for All for elderly undocumented seniors under the California Food Assistance Program is now scheduled to begin automation in 2026-27, with benefits set to start in 2027-28. This marks a 2-year delay from its original October 2025 date.
  • Indefinitely halts and conditions on future revenues the promised expansion of over 200,000 child care slots, limiting the expansion to 119,000 slots.

2022 Trigger Investments not in the May Revise Include:

  • Continuous Medi-Cal Coverage for Children Aged 0 through 4.
  • Child Support Pass-Through to Currently Assisted CalWORKs Families.

It’s our job to understand what the numbers on the ledger mean. For families facing poverty, these programs are a lifeline. Often they are all that stand between homelessness, family separation, deportation, and irreparable harm to our children from toxic deep poverty.  

“This may not be the year to create new programs and close loopholes in our safety net, which is disappointing given the high levels of child poverty across California,” said GRACE & End Child Poverty CA CEO Shimica Gaskins.

However, we cannot repeat the failed austerity cuts of the Great Recession. Those cuts proved that if safety net cuts are made, it will be years – if not a decade – to regain ground. We fought hard to get where we are today in 2024. We cannot go back. 

In addition, we support ongoing commitments made to our workforce, and underscore that increases to minimum wages are among the best tools for families to exit poverty, and will protect some communities from some cuts proposed in this budget.

We also stand with the Governor, legislative leaders, mayors, county boards of supervisors and over 550 organizations in opposing the draconian California Business Round Table (CBRT) Taxpayer Deception Act Ballot Proposal. If enacted, it will immediately and permanently worsen this problem while pushing many solutions out of reach.

RELEASE: Chairs Thompson and Stabenow introduce Farm Bill Frameworks

[PASADENA, CALIF., UNITED STATES, May 2, 2024] CAFB and GRACE/End Child Poverty Urge California Members to reject cuts and Instead Strengthen SNAP

This week, House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs Rep. Thompson and Sen. Stabenow released starkly different frameworks outlining their vision for the next Farm Bill. While Sen. Stabenow’s plan lays out a promising plan to protect and strengthen our country’s most important anti-hunger program — SNAP, or CalFresh in California – Rep. Thompson’s plan proposes deep, shortsighted, and harmful cuts to SNAP that will worsen hunger for the more than 5 million Californians who rely on the program today

Specifically, Chair Thompson’s proposal includes forcing cost neutral reevaluations which will prevent the USDA from being able to make much needed periodic updates to the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which is the basis for SNAP and other nutrition programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Summer EBT. In no uncertain terms, this would cut SNAP by about $30 billion over the next decade by restricting future updates to only count for inflation, ignoring science-based changes to dietary guidelines.

Hungry Californians would be harmed the most: Approximately $3.6 billion, or 12% of the $30 billion cut to SNAP would be taken from the 5 million Californians who spend SNAP benefits at 23,874 authorized EBT retailers across our state. This represents a loss of as much as $6.46 billion in total economic activity, hurting farmers, farmworkers, truckers, grocers, and others across our critical food sector.

Even after the recent TFP reevaluation, SNAP benefits still only average $6 per person per day – barely more than a cup of coffee, and still fall short of the cost of low-income meals in 98% of California counties

Forcing cost neutral Thrifty Food Plan reevaluations is not only a SNAP cut but will also impact other critical nutrition programs like the TEFAP and Summer EBT. These simultaneous cuts will hamper the ability of food banks to serve their communities, and will increase hunger for children during summer months when school is out. 

In sharp contrast to Chair Thompson’s proposal, Chair Stabenow lays out a forward-looking framework that builds on several of SNAP’s strengths to prevent hunger, fundamentally by preserving future Thrifty Food Plan re-evaluations, in addition to:

  • Removing the punitive drug felon ban and better supporting people coming home from incarceration to apply for SNAP, proven to support a healing re-entry to community.
  • Permanently ensuring that SNAP recipients who are victims of benefit theft such as “skimming” that has ravaged Californains can have their benefits replaced. 
  • Exploring pathways for SNAP recipients to purchase hot and prepared foods. 
  • Finally securing a pathway to SNAP for Puerto Rico.

At a time when 1 in 5 households in California are experiencing hunger with deep disparities for communities of color, we call on the California Congressional Delegation to prioritize bold policy solutions through:

  • The Closing the Meal Gap Act (H.R. 3037 Adams / S. 1336 Gillibrand) which would move SNAP benefit calculations to the more realistic Low Cost Food Plan
  • The Improving Access to Nutrition Act (H.R. 1510 Lee / S. 2435 Welch) which would repeals SNAP’s harsh and counterproductive three-month time limit for out-of-work Americans and improves SNAP access for families working their way up the economic ladder
  • The Enhance Access To SNAP Act (H.R. 3183 Gomez / S. 1488 Gillibrand) which would eliminate the outdated and unfair SNAP restrictions for college students

SNAP Emergency Allotments (EAs) allowed Californians to buy more and a greater variety of food, helped families weather income fluctuations, and stabilized households. Now that EAs have ended, food insecurity has intensified, households are making tradeoffs between food and other expenses, physical and mental health have declined, and local economies have suffered. 

We urge all California Members of Congress to reject any cuts to SNAP, including to the Thrifty Food Plan, and to build on the Senate framework to strengthen SNAP and the emergency feeding programs as our nation’s proven anti-hunger safety net. 

End Child Poverty in California (ECPCA) is a campaign jointly sponsored by GRACE End Child Poverty Institute and GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage).

GRACE End Child Poverty Institute is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that uses advocacy, legislative advocacy and mobilization programs to achieve its mission.  The mission of GRACE End Child Poverty is to make a positive difference in the lives of low-income families and their children through value-based collaborations and by formulating, implementing, and expanding measures to reduce barriers to full personal development and economic stability.

RELEASE: GRACE & End Child Poverty CA Joint Statement with CalWIC Association on Opposing SNAP Restrictions and Supporting Fully Funding WIC

[PASADENA, CALIF., UNITED STATES, February 28, 2024] — Statement attributable to Karen Farley, Executive Director of the California WIC Association, and Shimica Gaskins, President and CEO of GRACE/End Child Poverty California, regarding the Fiscal Year 2024 bill for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration:

We urge Congress to both fully fund the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and reject any efforts promoting a policy of limiting food choice in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

SNAP is the country’s most important anti-hunger program and the nutritional benefits of this program have been well documented. It has also been well documented that the best way to improve the nutrition of low-income households is to reduce stigma in the current program and to increase the benefits provided in the program. The proposal to pilot restricting food purchases endeavors to do neither. 

WIC served nearly a million Californians in 2023, and more than half (54%) of all infants born in California were certified by WIC in 2018. Full funding for WIC is urgently needed to ensure continuity of the nutrition, breastfeeding, and other critical supports that pregnant and parenting adults, and babies, rely upon every day.

Funding for WIC is in no way related to funding for SNAP, and the programs should not be pitted against one another. 

Policymakers have a responsibility to keep America’s children fed and ensure their long-term health and success. WIC must be fully funded, and SNAP recipients must be allowed to continue make their food purchasing decisions based on the needs of their family.

End Child Poverty in California (ECPCA) is a campaign jointly sponsored by GRACE End Child Poverty Institute and GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage).

GRACE End Child Poverty Institute is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that uses advocacy, legislative advocacy and mobilization programs to achieve its mission.  The mission of GRACE End Child Poverty is to make a positive difference in the lives of low-income families and their children through value-based collaborations and by formulating, implementing, and expanding measures to reduce barriers to full personal development and economic stability.

RELEASE: GRACE & End Child Poverty CA Statement on Proposed Federal Tax Deal

ECPCA & GRACE urge Congress to improve the poverty-fighting potential of this package and to adopt proposal, benefitting more than 2 million children in California left out of the CTC under current law

[PASADENA, CALIF., UNITED STATES, January 16, 2024] Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty California (ECPCA):

Today, chairs of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee announced a deal that would be transformative to roughly 77% of the children nationwide whose families have been unable to claim the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) since the pandemic-era expansion expired in 2021. Biden expanded the CTC under the American Rescue Plan Act, giving cash to families who needed it most and directly benefiting over 8 million children in California alone. This version of the CTC – one that offered larger credit amounts, was inclusive of children regardless of immigration status, fully refundable, and without an earnings requirement – remains our North Star. We remind stakeholders of the historic rise in poverty after its expiration and that ending poverty is a policy choice. 

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 has meaningful restorations that make the refundable portion of the credit larger for families, especially those with multiple children. Initial estimates are that once the deal takes full effect, over half a million children would be lifted out of poverty, likely including tens of thousands of California children.  

Given the proven record of the enhanced CTC, this deal falls short of what our families need and deserve – including children with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), full refundability, especially for low-income families, removing the arbitrary $2,500 earnings requirement, and increasing the overall size of the credit. Under current law, 98% of children in families in the lowest 20% tax bracket do not receive the full CTC, and the Wyden-Smith proposal only brings that figure down to 93%

Ultimately, this means that more unrestricted cash will largely not flow to the lowest-income families. Our families deserve more, and we know Congress is up to the task – we proved as much in 2021. These important, yet modest, improvements in the CTC are also paired with tax breaks to corporations which are projected to balloon in cost over time and threaten the parity of this package.

We therefore urge members of Congress to improve the poverty-fighting potential of this package and quickly take action to pass this proposal, benefitting more than 2 million children in California left out of the CTC under current law. This deal is an important step towards ending poverty nationwide, and we thank the California members fighting to maximize the poverty-fighting focus of these provisions.

Congress should prioritize investments in our nation’s children on their own, and should not need to be tied to other provisions that do not advance a more redistributive system of revenues and investments. Nevertheless we urge Congress to swiftly enact these provisions in order to ensure children and families benefit in time to file their taxes, then to continue making strides that bring us back to the expanded CTC under ARPA, providing what families truly need and advance an end to child poverty.

Infographic Source:
Hughes, Joe. (2024). Children Not Receiving Full Child Tax Credit Under Current Law vs. Proposal [Infographic]. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. https://itep.org/congress-tax-deal-child-tax-credit-corporate-tax-breaks/

End Child Poverty in California (ECPCA) is a campaign jointly sponsored by GRACE End Child Poverty Institute and GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage).

GRACE End Child Poverty Institute is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that uses advocacy, legislative advocacy and mobilization programs to achieve its mission.  The mission of GRACE End Child Poverty is to make a positive difference in the lives of low-income families and their children through value-based collaborations and by formulating, implementing, and expanding measures to reduce barriers to full personal development and economic stability.

RELEASE: GRACE & ECPCA Are Pleased Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Protects Anti-Poverty Investments

Statement on Governor Newsom’s Proposed 2024-25 Budget

ECPCA & GRACE urge adoption of revenues and investments needed to advance a more equitable California

[PASADENA, CALIF., UNITED STATES, January 10, 2024] Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty California (ECPCA):

GRACE and ECPCA dare to dream of a future in which every child is valued and free. We applaud Governor Newsom’s Proposed 2024-25 Budget for protecting important investments for children and families and continuing critical progress toward making our shared vision a reality.

From day one, Governor Newsom has made ending child poverty his north star – and today is no different. We thank Governor Newsom and his Administration for continuing that commitment, again rejecting harmful austerity cuts and recognizing that when the state falls on hard times, the programs that help lift children and families out of poverty are needed more than ever.

In particular, the January budget reaffirms ongoing commitments to community-informed ECPCA IMAGINE priorities, including:

  • Universal School Meals so all our children are nourished
  • The California Earned Income Tax Credit and Young Child Tax Credit so families have much-needed financial security
  • Aligning systems from Cradle to Career to create freedom and opportunity for families as they raise their children 
  • A national pilot opportunity to advance a reimagined CalWORKs program that centers family’s needs and dignity

In the effort to resolve the state’s budget problem, we will be looking closely at the proposed withdrawal from the Safety Net Reserve and the proposed cuts to the CalWORKs Family Stabilization Program (FSP) and Housing Supplement for Foster Youth in Supervised Independent Living Placements. The FSP was created to ensure housing, mental health, safety, and family stability for some of our most vulnerable families with children. It is a program CalWORKs parents and advocates have prioritized for expansion. 

Governor Newsom and legislative leaders have much to be proud of in creating and strengthening programs proven to prevent child poverty and build broad prosperity. These measures, along with federal investments made during the pandemic, drove child poverty to historic lows and closed long-standing racial inequities. As important as those gains are, income inequality in California continues to grow, and California still has the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation.

Our federal and state policymakers must continue to take decisive action. The good news is that the state and federal governments have unequivocally shown that poverty is a policy choice – and the state budget is a fundamental opportunity to advance a poverty-free future. 

We urge the Governor and Legislature to continue to take the actions needed to lift every California child and family out of poverty. This requires a combination of revenues to ensure that wealthy corporations pay their fair share and investments in programs proven to lift children and families out of poverty and reverse long-standing racial inequities.

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

We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders throughout the budget process.

End Child Poverty in California (ECPCA) is a campaign jointly sponsored by GRACE End Child Poverty Institute and GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage).

GRACE End Child Poverty Institute is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that uses advocacy, legislative advocacy and mobilization programs to achieve its mission.  The mission of GRACE End Child Poverty is to make a positive difference in the lives of low-income families and their children through value-based collaborations and by formulating, implementing, and expanding measures to reduce barriers to full personal development and economic stability.

Census Data Underscores That Poverty Is A Policy Choice

Historic increase in child poverty reinforces urgent need for continued state and federal actions for equitable revenues and investments

Today, the Census Bureau released 2022 data for poverty, income, and health insurance in 2022 from its Current Population Survey (CPS). While we await California-specific information, the national data makes it clear that when using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which reflects the cost of living and the poverty-fighting power of public programs, that poverty rose by historic levels:

  • Child poverty more than doubled from 5.2% to 12.4% from 2021-2022, the largest one-year increase ever.
  • Black and Latinx children continued to face stark racial inequities, with poverty rates of 17.8% and 19.5% respectively, compared to 7.2% for non-Hispanic white children.
  • Overall poverty was 12.4%, 4.6 percentage points higher than 2021, also the highest one-year increase ever
  • Non-citizens experienced disproportionately high poverty, more than twice the U.S.-born population (24.4% vs. 11.2%)

While shocking in scope, these numbers are unfortunately not a surprise, and reverse what had been historic lows in poverty as well as progress in closing long-standing racial inequities, just one year earlier. There is no question that the rise in poverty is a result of policy decisions to reverse course on what had been highly effective investments in pandemic-era programs, especially: 

This is even more sobering in light of a substantial increase in people working full-time year-round in 2022 – including the largest ever share of women working full-time year-round. The rise in poverty despite the strong labor market reinforces that too many jobs do not pay enough for families to meet their basic needs.

Census data highlights the power and effectiveness of public sector investments

Despite the dramatic worsening of poverty, the data also affirms the vital role of the government to lift children and families out of poverty when it takes aggressive actions to bolster public programs. Key federal programs that delivered major poverty reductions include the Child Tax Credit and other refundable credits, CalFresh (SNAP nationally), and school meals.

Poverty data is an urgent call for continued state and federal actions of public sector investments

The data highlights the pressing need for ongoing government action to fight poverty and advance a future of inclusive prosperity we know is possible. Black and Brown families are disproportionately impacted by the expiration of the successful interventions, and racial inequities will only be exacerbated unless governments take bold action to combat poverty. It is unequivocal that public sector investments effectively lift children and families out of poverty, while demonstrating high returns on investment.

We call on national and state policymakers to take continued action to fight poverty, including: 

California must also continue to lead, and we call on the Governor and Legislature to build on their record of significant action to fight poverty to enact the bold policies needed to imagine a poverty-free, abundant future

Simply put, we know what works. As President Biden said, the rise in poverty is no accident, but a deliberate policy choice. We call on our state and federal policymakers to take the actions needed for more equitable revenues and investments needed to end child poverty once and for all. 

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.

January 25: Lifting Children & Families Out of Poverty Member Briefing

Connect with legislators and legislative staff, partners and advocates, and community members at one of our first events of 2023!

  • Who: Co-hosted by ECPCA & EPIC
    • Speakers include: Sen. Skinner, Dolores Huerta Foundation, + more!
  • What: Lifting Children & Families Out of Poverty Member Briefing
  • When: Wednesday, January 25  |  12:00-1:30 pm PST
  • Where: 1021 O Street, Room 1200 | Sacramento, CA
    • No live stream, a recording will be available after the event
  • RSVP: Via Eventbrite
  • How about legislative visits? This is a perfect opportunity to check in with representatives and staff! We’re asking partners to schedule visits around the 12-1:30 pm briefing time. 
  • Support us: Spread the word by sharing the invite, the Eventbrite link, and/or one of our social posts with your networks!
  • Questions? Contact Andrew Cheyne
Rectangle with three rows of colors: grey brown, light blue, and dark blue and a yellow border. Dandelion images in the background. Top left corner says IMAGINE and top right corner has the EPIC and ECPCA logos. Text reads: Member Briefing: Lifting Children & Families Out of Poverty.  Join Sen. Nancy Skinner, Dolores Huerta Foundation, people with lived expertise, and advocates for a briefing on 2023 policy priorities to lift children and families out of poverty. Bottom includes details on the event (included in text).

What does the Legislature’s budget proposal mean for fighting child poverty?

Two-House Budget Agreement Highlights from ECPCA’s $10 Billion to Fight Poverty Budget Campaign

We are thrilled and appreciative to see many of the budget proposals supported by our Coalition reflected in the Legislature’s proposed state budget. We see these as vital to keeping the momentum on ending child poverty in California. In total, we estimate the Legislature has proposed over $11.1 billion dollars to fight poverty as supported by the End Child Poverty CA Coalition. We are especially excited and in full support to see the Legislature include the following investments:

Urgent Relief Payments

  • Providing $8 billion for the Better for Families Rebates to give $200 per taxpayer and dependent to address increasing costs of basic needs like food and gas;
  • Providing an additional rebate for CalWORKs families and those enrolled in the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment program

Child Care

  • Increasing the child care reimbursement rate to the 85th percentile of the regional market rate, and including a cost of living increase to the county regional market rate;
  • Investing $200 million in additional childcare facilities as proposed by the Governor’s May Revision;
  • Approving the waiving of family fees for childcare as proposed by the Governor’s May Revision


  • Increasing CalWORKs grant levels starting July 1, 2023 and providing $789 million to increase CalWORKs grants to end deep child poverty

Child Support

  • Implementing a full-pass through of child support payments to families formerly receiving public assistance as proposed by the Governor’s January budget;
  • Implementing a full-pass through of child support payments to families currently on public assistance in 2024-2025 and on-going 

Transformative Investments

  • Creating the HOPE Account Program to provide trust fund accounts for low-income children who have lost parents or caregivers to COVID-19 and for children who experienced long-term foster care;
  • Approving $12 million as proposed by the Governor’s May Revision as assistance for Promise Neighborhoods to ensure low-income children and families receive place-based, wraparound services from cradle to career

End Child Poverty in California Leadership Announcement

Partners, Friends, and Colleagues:

We make today’s announcement that Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, GRACE/End Child Poverty CA’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy has accepted the position of Chief Deputy at the California Children and Families Commission (First 5 California), with pride, and congratulations to Jackie in her new position, and deep gratitude for her service.  

Jackie has played a crucial and central leadership role in helping GRACE and the End Child Poverty CA (ECPCA) Coalition work with each of you, the Governor, and committed legislators in achieving the historic implementation of the recommendations made by the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force.  33 of the 47 Task Force recommendations have been adopted, with $4.8 billion in new comprehensive investments.  This progress could not have been achieved without Jackie’s guidance, experience, commitment, and the respect in which she is held within state government. 

Despite the loss of Jackie’s direct day to day involvement with GRACE/ECPCA, however, having served as a First 5 California Commissioner for eight years, I am grateful that she will now be in a central leadership role in implementing and building on the key 0–5-year-old investments that have been made.  Her wisdom and leadership are needed in her new role now more than ever.   We will continue to rely on her guidance and partnership.  Jackie’s letter to the GRACE/ECPCA coalition partners can be found here.

We are fortunate to also be able to announce that Michelle Rubalcava, an experienced attorney, former legislative staff member, and former Senior Legislative Advocate for Los Angeles County will join GRACE/ECPCA as our retained Policy Advocate.

Michelle has over twenty years of extensive experience in and around state politics as a legislative staff member, health care attorney, and legislative advocate.  She has worked for distinguished legislators such as Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny and Senator Bryon Sher.  As Senior Legislative Advocate for the County of Los Angeles, she specialized in health, mental health, and public health issues.  Her personal and professional experiences will assist and enhance GRACE/ECPCA’s ability to convene key legislative leaders, maximize the effectiveness of the ECPCA Coalition and add significant strength to our efforts to implement the End Child Poverty Plan.  Michelle has shown a deep commitment to the GRACE/ECPCA mission of ending child and family poverty in our state and we look forward to working with her.  She is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, which has a long association with GRACE/ECPCA.


Conway Collis
President and CEO of GRACE & End Child Poverty California

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