Statement from Children’s Defense Fund-California on the Governor’s 2018-19 Budget Proposal

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2018

In response to Governor Brown’s budget proposal released today, Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, Director of Government Affairs, Policy and Communications at Children’s Defense Fund-California, issued this statement:

"California needs a state budget that protects and invests in our children, especially poor children, immigrant children, and children of color. While the Governor’s budget maintains critical investments in health, education and the California Earned Income Tax Credit and includes a promising new proposals, it misses the opportunity to truly do what is necessary to build a foundation that sets our children up for a healthy and bright future.

In light of continuing federal threats to the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable children, California must stand strong and commit to ensuring that all children have comprehensive health coverage and care, quality early and K-12 education, and economic security. Savings in the rainy day fund to prepare for future uncertainty must be balanced with the recognition that it is raining right now for the 1 in 5 California children who live in poverty, and the state should commit to doing more to meet the basic needs of our children today.

Poverty: We are pleased to see the Governor’s budget proposes a new home visiting initiative to serve young, first-time parents in the CalWORKs program. Voluntary home visiting is a proven way to improve the health, wellbeing and future opportunity of children born into poverty. However, these new services will not have maximum impact if families are still left to live in deep poverty, below half of the federal poverty line. We urge the Legislature to support the home visiting initiative proposal while also preventing the worst harms caused by deep child poverty by increasing CalWORKs grant levels. The Legislature should also reduce poverty among working families by strengthening the California Earned Income Tax Credit.

Education: We applaud the Governor’s continued commitment to K-12 education and the Local Control Funding Formula, and his proposal to require school districts show how they are using increased funding to support low-income students, English learners and foster youth.

Youth Justice: We appreciate the Governor’s recognition that best practices and a growing body of research on brain development suggest that we adopt a more rehabilitative and strengths-based approach for our young adults. We will need to look closely at whether the Governor’s proposed Young Adult Offender Pilot Program achieves that goal. We are disappointed that continued funding for the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) grant program did not appear to be included in the budget proposal. Last year’s budget included $9.5 million in CalVIP funding to support locally driven strategies to reduce youth and group-related violence.

Health: The budget maintains funding for children’s health coverage, but underscores the importance of immediate federal action to extend CHIP funding, which ended more than 100 days ago. The budget proposal notes that coverage for 32,000 pregnant women and children in California will be at risk if CHIP funding is not extended. We urge the Legislature and the Administration to protect CHIP coverage for all children and pregnant women, regardless of federal action."

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The Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is a state office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a national child advocacy organization founded by Marian Wright Edelman that has worked relentlessly for over 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. With offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and Long Beach, CDF-CA champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, ensure all children have access to health coverage and care and a quality education, and invest in our justice-involved youth. www.cdfca.org

Media Contact:

Cadonna Dory
Children's Defense Fund–California 
cdory@childrensdefense.org
(213) 355–8790 (o), (323) 385–6342 (c)