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ACTION: Close CA’s Worst Tax Loopholes

We know that income inequality in the U.S. is growing at a staggering pace. As our economy gets stronger, the poorest among us have less of their share of the pie. California shouldn’t be a state of winners and losers. Our Golden State should be a place of opportunity for ALL.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) puts money back in the pockets of our lowest-income workers—money that families use in their local communities for food, rent, and school supplies. The EITC is one of the most powerful anti-poverty tools we have. California has plans to expand it, and fund the expansion by closing tax loopholes for elite corporations and the ultra-rich: tax loopholes that have already been closed in the federal tax code.

Our leaders need to hear loud and clear that we support closing corporate tax loopholes to open opportunities for low-income Californians.

TAKE ACTION NOW: SIGN THE PETITION

Californians don’t want more tax breaks for elite corporations and the ultra-rich. We want money in the pockets of those who work hard but still can’t make ends meet.

Stand with Governor Newsom and a broad coalition of labor, economic justice, anti-poverty, education, faith-based and small business voices to support the plan to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and pay for it by closing California’s most egregious tax loopholes.

THANK YOU for your voice, your action, and your energy to keep up the fight for California families in poverty.

Help spread the word:

Urge our politicians who are on the fence to put low-income Californians first by retweeting:

Or copy and paste this link to share: https://www.endchildpovertyca.org/close-tax-loopholes/.


The End Child Poverty Bus Tour May 17-20, 2019 #ECPBusTour

The End Child Poverty Bus Tour launches Friday, May 17, in Chula Vista, then heads to LA, Pomona, Weedpatch, Fresno, Salinas, Oakland, and closes with a rally in Sacramento on Monday, May 20. Parents, foster youth, elected leaders, and community advocates will be headlining the stops.

We want you with us.

Child poverty is a moral crisis, a public health crisis, and a state fiscal crisis. Before the state budget is finalized, we’re asking parents, children, and communities across California to demand action on our child poverty crisis. California has more children living in poverty than any other state. One in five California children lives in poverty. That’s almost 2 million children—with 450,000 of those children living in families trying to survive on less than $12,900 per year. But we also have a comprehensive plan to end deep child poverty. Let’s Pass the Plan.

Spread the word about the #ECPBusTour

Friday, May 17

  • Chula Vista | 9:15-10:30 am: Kick-Off Rally at Castle Park High School, 1395 Hilltop Drive, Chula Vista, CA, 91911, Organized by South Bay Community Services | RSVP for Chula Vista
  • Los Angeles | 1:30-2:30 pm: Community Meeting at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, 808 West 58th Street, Los Angeles, CA, with Sen. Holly Mitchell & Asm. Autumn Burke, Organized by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center | RSVP for Los Angeles
  • Pomona | 5:00-5:45 pm: Community Event and Taco Line at Ganesha Park, Pomona, CA 91768, with Sen. Connie Leyva, Organized by Sen. Connie Leyva’s Office | RSVP for Pomona

Saturday, May 18

  • Weedpatch | 9:15-10:30 am: Community Meeting at Sunset School, 8301 Sunset Boulevard, Weedpatch, CA, 93307, Organized by the Dolores Huerta Foundation | RSVP for Weedpatch
  • Fresno | 12:45-2:15 pm: Community BBQ at the Sunset Community Center, 1345 W. Eden Avenue, Fresno, CA, 93706, with Sen. Melissa Hurtado and Senator Anna Caballero, Organized by Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission & Fresno EOC Street Saints | RSVP for Fresno
  • Salinas | 5:00-6:00 pm: Community Meeting at the National Steinbeck Center, 1 Main Street, Salinas, CA, 93901, with Sen. Anna Caballero, Organized by Sen. Anna Caballero’s Office| RSVP for Salinas

Sunday, May 19

  • Oakland | 12:15-1:30 pm: Community Meeting at Saint Mary’s, 925 Brockhurst Street at San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, CA 94608, **NOTE LOCATION CHANGE**, with Sen. Nancy Skinner, Organized by Sen. Nancy Skinner’s Office | RSVP for Oakland

Monday, May 20

  • Sacramento | 9:15-10:00 am: Closing Rally at the Capitol Steps, 1315 10th Street, Sacramento, CA, 95814, with Dolores Huerta & Legislators | RSVP for Sacramento

The End Child Poverty Plan

The End Child Poverty Plan will eliminate deep child poverty in four years and cut overall child poverty in half in 10-20 years by investing in programs that support families. Over 30 bills representing the plan are moving through the State Legislature right now.

Our voices and energy will ensure the plan gets passed. Now is the time to act.

#ECPBusTour #EndChildPovertyCA


TAKE ACTION: Support the Targeted Child Tax Credit #EndChildPoverty #PassThePlan

We need your help to spread the word that California families in extreme poverty need our support. The problem is dire:

  • 450,000 kids in California live in deep poverty–that’s more than the entire population of Oakland. 
  • Deep poverty means a family of four living off of less than $12,900 per year. 
  • The toxic stress of deep poverty can affect a child their whole life–poor health, lower education levels, and lack of lifetime earnings.
  • Families in deep poverty often have a child or a parent with a disability that makes it hard to work, or they can’t find child care that would allow a parent to keep a full-time job. 

It’s a moral outrage that in the 5th largest economy in the world, we’re okay with so many families living in deep poverty. That’s why the #EndChildPoverty Plan recommends an innovative new tax credit that makes sure no family is left behind. 

The Targeted Child Tax Credit directly addresses our families in most dire need. It will help us END deep child poverty, and disrupt the cycle of poverty. Investments like this pay off.

The Targeted Child Tax Credit puts money directly into the pockets of families. We know from research and experience that families spend money they receive on their kids, and almost all of it goes back into local communities.

The Targeted Child Tax Credit will be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee TODAY, Monday, April 29, at 2:30 p.m.

Here’s what we need you to do:

  1. Forward this email to a friend. We need more Californians to get educated about deep poverty.
  2. Tweet your support for the Targeted Child Tax Credit.
  3. Share this post on Facebook and let your friends know why this is important.

We also want to give you a HUGE THANK YOU for what you’ve already done. Your calls, tweets, and shares are pushing this movement forward. We’ve attended dozens of policy hearings in Sacramento so far this year. We’re hearing legislators talk about deep poverty, racial equity, and making sure our state policies create opportunity for ALL of us. This buzz is because of you and your fellow Californians. Thank you!


End Child Poverty Plan Advocacy Day in Sacramento 1/22/19

On the heels of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, we are gathering together at the state capitol to make our voices heard for the rights of our families living in poverty. Share these posts, and download the graphic to add on. Tag others. Our collective is powerful, and we look forward to seeing and sharing your photos, thoughts, and takeaways from the day.

ADVOCACY DAY SOCIAL SHARES

450,000 kids in California live in extreme poverty. 40 organizations are together today to say loud and clear: This is a crisis. It’s time to #EndChildPoverty and #PassThePlan.
No other state has a plan to end deep child poverty & cut overall child poverty in half. California can lead the way. #EndChildPoverty #PassThePlan http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan
If we cut child poverty in half, it will have a net benefit of $12 billion a year, every year. California has the plan. All we need is the will to make it happen. #EndChildPoverty #PassThePlan http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/#theplan

  • Click here to visit the post that includes issue-area specific social media content, graphics, and quotes to use.
  • QUESTIONS? Email evelyn@grace-inc.org.

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.

Why?

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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Make sure you’ve signed up for emails for action alerts on how to help with the End Child Poverty Plan.

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

ISSUE AREA SHARES

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

MEDIA ADVISORY
Contact: Yusef Robb, 323-384-1789

RALLY TO END CHILD POVERTY ON CAPITOL STEPS MONDAY, DEC. 3

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

WHAT:

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.

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

WHERE:
North Steps of the State Capitol, Sacramento

SPEAKERS:

  • 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

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

BACKGROUND:

  • 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/

###

 


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.

http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/signup/

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.

http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/gov-petition/

Onward,

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.

http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/signup/

Towards a better future for all kids,

Conway Collis
End Child Poverty in California


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