How to Cut California Child Poverty by 58 Percent Right Now

January 28, 2015

Groundbreaking Report Released by Children’s Defense Fund

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Children’s Defense Fund released a groundbreaking report entitled Ending Child Poverty Now that details how the U.S. could substantially reduce child poverty immediately. If policymakers invested an additional 2 percent of the federal budget to expand existing federal programs and policies to increase employment and make work pay for parents and ensure children’s basic needs are met, 60 percent of poor children across the country – and 58 percent of California’s children – would be lifted out of poverty and 97 percent of all poor children would benefit.

A California companion report by the Children’s Defense Fund - California presents key state policy recommendations for how California can reduce child poverty by investing in programs that work: including enacting a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and expanding child care subsidies. California has the highest child poverty rate in the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure. More than one in four (26.6 percent) California children were poor in 2012.

“Poverty hurts children and California’s future. It is a moral disgrace that one in four California children are poor in the state with the richest economy. What this new report clearly demonstrates is that the status quo does not have to persist any longer,” said Alex Johnson, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund - California. “We have programs and policies at the federal, state and local level that work to reduce child poverty and we have the resources to expand them. Now we need to build the public will to confront this moral failure and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

Ending Child Poverty Now shows how changes and improvements to effective programs and policies would significantly reduce child poverty right now and therefore improve the lives and futures of millions of children. This investment would eventually pay for itself since protecting children against the lifelong consequences of poverty would improve their lifetime earnings and outcomes and reduce poverty in future generations.

“Not only does child poverty cost far more than eliminating it would, we have so many better choices that reflect more just values as well as economic savings. We believe that food, shelter, quality early childhood investments to get every child ready for school and an equitable education for all children should take precedence over massive welfare for the rich and blatantly excessive spending for military weapons that do not work,” Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund wrote in the Foreword to the new report. “Before we lose another generation, the time to act with urgency is now.”

Read the full report at


Children’s Defense Fund-California is the California office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for over 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.