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Her Own Words: Monique Rosas “Able to Breathe Again,” Parent Voices San Diego #EndChildPovertyCA

Parent Voices leader Monique gets a hug from her son Makai after speaking in Chula Vista, CA
Parent Voices leader Monique gets a hug from her proud son Makai after speaking at the End Child Poverty CA Bus Tour kickoff event in Chula Vista, May 2019.

Monique is a parent leader from Parent Voices San Diego, and a single parent raising her amazing son Makai. In 2019, she’s been in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Sacramento fighting for parents in poverty. When we listen to the powerful voices of parents, we know without a doubt that all our kids can thrive. In May, Monique shared her story in front of a crowd of about 200 people at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista. Watch Monique’s speech here.

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Hello, my name is Monique Rosas and I am a parent advocate for Parent Voices, an organization advocating for working families to have affordable child care.

We speak for the voiceless!

I am a 26-year-old San Diego native and single mother to a 4-year-old son named Makai. [Note: Makai is now 5!] Since 1992, my family and I have battled with homelessness. From birth until I was 8-years-old we lived in hotels, shelters, and other people’s homes — experiencing the trauma of being unstable and insecure. [M]y parents suffered from depression due to living in poverty, this led them to substance abuse, but they still did the best they could to support our family.

Growing up as a child into an adult I inherited my parents’ bad habits. Becoming a single parent affected by mental health and I started to abuse substances to relieve the pain of trying to provide for my son by myself. Tired of the intergenerational cycle of poverty, I made a decision to change it and applied for CalWORKs. My activity last year was a women’s recovery program where I became one year sober on January 14th, 2019. Then I graduated from a culinary apprenticeship program through CalWORKs.

I was excited to finally become successful. My next step was to move out. My case manager referred me to transitional housing, which was actually a tent. Now my worst nightmare of my son experiencing deep childhood poverty became true. Since I receive $577 dollars a month for Makai and I, we cannot afford housing. I pay all my bills by the 15th of the month and end up with less than $100 to decide if I pay for gas or toilet paper. I still don’t have enough to save and move out. Even with all my success, I still feel like I’m drowning and gasping for air. There’s no room for growth.

So I believe in this campaign to end childhood deep poverty because it’s going to be the beginning to breaking the cycle – so we may stop drowning to be able to breathe again. Thank you.

==> Listen to more from Monique here.

==> Check out our favorite video of Makai here.

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California has 450,000 children living in deep poverty. We’re also the only state with a plan to END it. Californians across the state know that all our children can thrive. Already, almost $5 billion has been put toward the End Child Poverty Plan in the 2019-2020 state budget. Investments to end child poverty will pay for themselves over time as parents and children become healthier in body, mind, and spirit, and are able to break free from poverty.

There’s more work to do. We have the research, the plan, and the momentum to end child poverty. Now we need the political and moral courage to see it through.

Join the movement. Add your email at endchildpovertyca.org.

And to find out more about and join in with our partner Parent Voices and the amazing work they’re doing, click here.


End Child Poverty CA Coalition 2019-2020 Budget Wins

The final California state budget allocates almost $5 billion toward investments called for in the State Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force’s End Child Poverty Plan.

State legislation created the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force to develop an anti-poverty plan that was released just before the new governor and legislature took their oaths of office in January. The End Child Poverty in California Coalition of 50+ partners rallied people, organizations and elected officials to adopt the Task Force’s End Child Poverty Plan, which would end deep child poverty in just four years when fully implemented. The End Child Poverty Plan would also reduce overall child poverty by 50 percent over the next decade.

As a result, the final state budget includes unprecedented investments to address deep child poverty. Furthermore, several pieces of legislation and budget proposals have been introduced to implement the comprehensive End Child Poverty Plan.

“This budget represents an unprecedented strategic investment to address poverty and inequality in California. Make no mistake, however — this is a down payment. Fully funding the Task Force’s plan would end deep child poverty in California in four years, and our campaign will keep working with our elected officials and all Californians to do just that. Thank you to the Governor and the Legislature with leaders on both sides of the aisle and across the political spectrum for their unprecedented action to help kids and families,” said Conway Collis, co-chair of the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force, and CEO of GRACE and End Child Poverty in California.

450,000 California children live in deep child poverty. If concentrated as a population, those children would comprise 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.

“We could not have done this without the broad-based coalition of anti-poverty advocates, faith-based organizations, non-profits, education advocates, business and labor who worked tirelessly to build support for this important victory. This budget is a reflection of the beginning of a sea change, with ending child poverty in California, as the Governor has stated, his North Star.  We have more to do, but this is a significant step in the right direction and we are looking forward to continuing our work with this coalition, the legislature and the Governor,” said Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at GRACE and End Child Poverty in California.

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.

Infographic: Key End Child Poverty CA Coalition Budget Wins

Additional CA Budget Information & Reactions

  • State budget analysis from our coalition partner Western Center on Law & Poverty: click here.
  • Budget statement from CalEITC4Me on the California Earned Income Tax Credit expansion: click here.
  • Statement on child care wins from our coalition partners Parent Voices & Child Care Law Center: click here.
  • Article in Vox on the CalEITC expansion in California and its national relevance: click here.
  • Additional information on the End Child Poverty Plan: click here.
    LA Times story on the release of the End Child Poverty Plan: click here.


End Child Poverty Plan: The Power of Promise Neighborhoods

End Child Poverty in California/GRACE visit to Mission Promise Neighborhood/MEDA in San Francisco, 2019

The End Child Poverty Plan offers California a groundbreaking path to end deep child poverty for 450,000 kids and cut overall child poverty in half. Expanding California’s successful Promise Neighborhoods network is a key part of the plan.

What’s a Promise Neighborhood?

Promise Neighborhoods are powerful, family-centered networks rooted in communities. They use the power of collective impact–many programs and services working together–to support families in neighborhoods facing intense economic pressures. Promise Neighborhoods create easy entry points for services and break down red tape. They work to improve kids’ lives “from cradle to college to career,” focusing on the whole child, the whole family, and the whole community.

Promise Neighborhoods are:

  • Results driven
  • Place based (located in one specific geographic area, allowing for community strength)
  • Community powered
  • Equity focused

California currently has five Promise Neighborhoods (including our End Child Poverty in California partners Hayward Promise, Mission Promise, and YPI), and more are needed. This year Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles) introduced Senate Bill 686, the California Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2019, that would expand this successful, community-centered model to more neighborhoods.

Find out more:

  1. Click here to find out more about SB 686.
  2. See a map of all Promise Neighborhoods from the California Promise Network.
  3. Read about the incredible impact of one Promise Neighborhood in the blog post below by our partners at the Mission Promise Neighborhood and MEDA (Mission Economic Development Agency) in San Francisco.

2019: THE MISSION AND BEYOND, FOR ALL CALIFORNIA KIDS

Photo from MEDA blog. Read the full, original blog post here

[…]

Our numbers [at Mission Promise Neighborhood] spoke for themselves. Over the six-plus years of our initiative, we used a shared case-management tool to connect 2,744 families with 5,590 different program referrals, ranging from housing and tenants’ rights to job readiness and health care. We were a collaborative of 20 community organizations, aligning our efforts to provide wraparound services to our students and families to work toward common goals. We broke through silos and shared data along the way. Together, we held ourselves accountable to turning the curve on community indicators.

MPN saw the following outcomes in our schools and with our partners:

  • Latino graduation rates increased from 63 percent to 88 percent
  • African American graduation rates increased from 46 percent to 93 percent
  • Ninety-four percent of elementary school families feel a sense belonging at their schools
  • Rate at which students change schools mid-year decreased from 13.9 percent to 7.9 percent
  • Eighty percent of all Latino 4-year olds in the Mission are now enrolled in preschool
  • Social emotional development scores for 3-year-olds jumped from 24 percent to 82 percent

These outcomes are even more impressive when you take into account the extreme pressures our families are experiencing: unprecedented levels of housing displacement, growing income inequality, all coupled with a national political climate translating to an assault on our community. Our collective work of providing families with coordinated access to mental health services, legal representation, asset building, housing services and more has helped MPN stabilize the Mission by using schools and affordable housing as community anchors.

The U.S. Department of Education grant is an affirmation of the work our partners have done. Our second iteration of MPN is focused on aligning with the City of San Francisco and its School District’s Beacon Initiative, expanding from four to nine schools in the Mission District, increasing our presence at early learning centers, developing parent leaders and reaching out to Family Child Care providers to give their families access to our network of supports. We estimate that we will now be serving approximately 8,000 children and their families in the Mission. With our collective-impact approach, MPN is on pace to have the scale of the solution match the scale of the challenge.

Joining with other Promise Neighborhoods
Other Promise Neighborhoods across the state have seen similar outcomes. Together, the five Promise Neighborhoods in California created a network called CPNN.  The results from the CPNN network, informed the development of a statewide plan to end child poverty. This plan includes a recommendation for the investment by the State of California into a total of 20 Promise Neighborhoods at $5 million per neighborhood, complemented by increased spending on child care, CalWORKS and much more. The plan estimates that the combination of these factors will result in benefits to state and local governments of more than $12 billion annually.

The plan lays out the seven unique characteristics of Promise Neighborhoods:

  1. Cradle-to-college-to-career continuum to move families out of poverty
  2. Place-based to focus on high-need geographies
  3. Collective impact: collaborate with partners to provide solutions at scale
  4. Align funding streams to achieve shared outcomes
  5. Results-driven, with a focus on population-level results
  6. Equity-focused and explicit in addressing disparities
  7. Community powered to address local needs and build on local strengths

Data sharing, collaboration, accountable to results, good for the economy: Promise Neighborhoods are the embodiment of what we call “good government.” MEDA will be calling for these pilot initiatives to move beyond being simply boutique operations and for them to become the normal way that government delivers services….

One community is not waiting for the State to approve funding for Promise Neighborhoods; instead, it is taking the lead in using its current budget to create Promise Neighborhoods. San Diego County has approved $4 million for a pilot Promise Neighborhood based on the success of its existing Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood. If the pilot is also successful, the plan is to create even more Promise Neighborhoods throughout that county.

Closer to home — and based on  the success of San Francisco’s Promise Neighborhood in the Mission District — we believe it’s time for the City and County of San Francisco to begin asking itself if other neighborhoods in the City would benefit from a Promise Neighborhood, particularly during this time of widening income inequality and displacement of working-class families and people of color.

From School Board to Mayor, State Superintendent of Schools to Governor, all the way to the House of Representatives, we are seeing inspiring new leaders take the reins of government. As they highlight the need for a more just society, now is the time for bold equity initiatives based on proven models. Perhaps 2020 will put us on pace to end child poverty.

After all, much can happen in a year!

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Read more about the End Child Poverty Plan strategies here. Join in by signing on to the campaign for updates.


PRESS RELEASE: At Key Juncture, Powerful Coalition of More Than 60 Groups Statewide Urges Budget Amendments for Children in Deep Poverty

Call Tied to Key Point in Budget Process, Today’s State of the State Which Did Not Address Deep Child Poverty

SACRAMENTO — The End Child Poverty in California coalition, comprising members of the state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force and dozens of advocacy organizations from across the state, today urged legislators to build on the Governor’s proposed budget so it eliminates deep child poverty and reduces overall childhood poverty by fifty percent, both by 2023. The Coalition’s Budget Letter, signed by more than 60 organizations, is below and it outlines specific investments. Governor Newsom delivered his State of the State today and this is a critical time in the budget process, when Department of Finance staff is holding key budget meetings with the Governor’s staff and legislative staff.

“In the Governor’s otherwise excellent State of the State address, he did not address child poverty, and especially the 450,000 California children in deep child poverty, who may be homeless or on the brink of homelessness. Year after year, these children are moved below other priorities. We can’t let this happen again,” said Conway Collis, Co-Chair of the state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force and CEO of GRACE: “How can we address homelessness when we don’t put in place the programs that will stop our currently housed families in deep poverty from becoming homeless? Our state cannot succeed when close to a half-million kids suffer the short-term and

long-term effects of deep child poverty. We must implement the End Child Poverty Plan recommendations now and create generations of opportunity for these children and for California.”

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, or one out of every five California kids. 450,000 children live in deep poverty — 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. The state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force recently issued a concrete plan to end deep child poverty in California in just four years when fully implemented. The plan is groundbreaking in its development and approach. AB1520, authored by Assemblywoman Burke and sponsored by GRACE, directed the California Department of Social Services to convene the Task Force to develop a research-and-data-driven plan to inform policy-making by the next governor and the legislature.

See background at http://www.EndChildPovertyCA.org

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

B-Roll Available from Contact and Sacramento Affiliates

BUDGET LETTER:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Honorable Gavin Newsom

Governor, State of California

The Honorable Toni Atkins

President pro Tempore, California State Senate

The Honorable Holly J. Mitchell

Chair, Budget Committee, California State Senate

The Honorable Anthony Rendon

Speaker, California State Assembly

The Honorable Phil Ting

Chair, Budget Committee, California State Assembly

Dear Governor Newsom and Budget Leaders of the California State Legislature:

Re: 2019 End Child Poverty CA Budget Priorities

The Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force (Task Force) recently issued its final Report and Recommendations. We are writing, as members of the Task Force and a broad coalition of supporters, to ask that you urgently and immediately take actions to end deep childhood poverty and substantially reduce overall child and family poverty in California by implementing the Task Force Recommendations.

One in five children in California live in poverty. We are the 5th largest economy in the world with the highest percentage and largest number of children living in poverty of any state in the Nation. This is a human and a fiscal crisis that we have the ability to solve. According to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, the toxic stress of extreme poverty has a life-long negative impact on a child’s brain development. The same research indicates that the impact can be reversed by making the proven investments recommended by the Task Force that reduce or eliminate the need for more costly remediation in the future.

The Task Force’s End Child Poverty Plan is comprehensive, research-based and community-informed. When fully implemented, the Task Force recommendations will end deep poverty for the 450,000 children in California living under 50% of the federal poverty line within four years and substantially reduce California’s highest in the Nation level of overall child and family poverty. As children’s advocates, non-profit, religious, and business organizations, we urge that the comprehensive child and family poverty plan be acted on immediately.

Reducing child and family poverty by 50% will also have a net positive impact on state and local government budgets of an estimated minimum of $12 billion annually in reduced remedial health, social service and educational expenditures and increased tax revenues. The Governor’s proposed budget is an excellent starting point to begin reducing childhood poverty, especially for children living in deep poverty.

The California Legislature can take the important step to eliminate deep poverty among families with children in the short term and to reduce overall childhood poverty by fifty percent by 2023 by adopting the Task Force’s science-based budget proposals. They include:

Primary Investments

– Increase grants in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program to bring families up above deep poverty as proposed in the Budget Act of 2018.

– Increase and expand access to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

– Adopt a Targeted Child Tax Credit (TCTC) that would put money back in the pocket of families and put it to work in the economy. This proposal also serves to provide a rental subsidy for families living in deep poverty or experiencing homelessness. Research conducted by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality shows that cash or near cash subsidies have a long-term positive impact on reducing childhood poverty and increasing the overall economic health of a community. The TCTC alone, when fully implemented will eliminate deep child poverty within four years.

Foundational Investments

– Guarantee access to early care and education for children 0–8 years of age who are living in poverty in order to support child early development and families’ employment, education, health and upward mobility.

– Expand voluntary home visiting programs to support pregnant women and families with young children.

– Add 20 state-funded Promise Neighborhoods offering coordinated, community- driven support services.

– Secure Healthcare for All Californians.

– Fully fund transitional housing programs and supports for foster care youth up to the age of 21.

We urge these investments for the children of California today, to support the California Dream for each of our children. If you have any questions, please contact Jackie Thu-Huong Wong at jwong@grace-inc.org or 916-498-3320.

(Signed)

GRACE

Children Now

Children’s Defense Fund

County Welfare Directors Association of California

First 5 CA

First 5 Los Angeles

Fresno EOC Street Saints

Home Start, Inc.

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

St. John’s Well Child and Family Center

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Youth Policy Institute

Actors Gang (The)

Alameda County Community Food Bank

Alliance for Children’s Rights

American Academy of Pediatrics

Barrio Logan College Institute

California Alternative Payment Program Association (CAPPA)

California Association of Food Banks

California Catholic Conference

California Emerging Technology Fund

California Interfaith Coalition

CalEITC4ME

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Child Care Law Center

Child Care Resource Center

Children’s Advocacy Institute

Children’s Institute

Children’s Network of Solano County

Clinica Romero

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Cradle to Career Fresno County

First 5 Alameda

First 5 Association of CA

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County

Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission

Friends Committee on Legislation of California

Good Samaritan

Jamestown Community Center (The)

Jewish Center for Justice

John Burton Advocates for Youth

JPAC – Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California

Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA

Marin Promise Neighborhoods

Maryvale

Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

Mission Graduates

National Association of Social Workers

National Center for Youth Law

National Council for Jewish Women

National Foster Youth Institute

Parent Voices

Pathways LA

Policy Link

Rise Together Bay Area

SALEF (Salvadorian American Leadership and Educational Fund)

Shields for Families

South Bay Community Services

United Way Bay Area

United Way California

United Way of Greater Los Angeles

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Campaign Launch! The Head and the Heart

Let’s talk about your head and your heart.

Child poverty is upsetting. It’s frustrating. It’s also a problem we’re smart enough to solve. That’s why we’re launching our campaign to ensure that there are no excuses. Whether you are the type of person who makes decisions using your head or your heart, we have the facts that will convince you that we can end child poverty.

There are a lot of myths about poverty — that it’s a choice, for one. Not only is that false, it doesn’t make any sense. Kids have no control over their circumstances, and we have a moral imperative to reach out and do something.

If that doesn’t move you, think about it this way:

Poverty is terrible for our state’s economy. It reduces productivity and increases crime. Expanding childhood services and intervening early has a 7-to-1 return on investment. Want to go back in time and buy Apple stock? This is like that, only righteous.

Learn with your head and feel with your heart, and use the information there to get others involved.

We’re Californians. Together we have built the most progressive, powerful, forward-thinking state in the country. We’re saving the planet and inventing cars that drive themselves. We’ve got this!


Stay tuned! Our New Campaign Launch Is Around the Corner

We’re coming off an exciting win with the governor signing AB 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act, and now we’re taking our work to the next level.

We’re here to show California that we can end child poverty. Our new Head and Heart Campaign launches soon!

For now, take a sneak peek at these two videos from the campaign:

                      

Help us share the new videos to let fellow Californians know we can solve our child poverty crisis.

 


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