Policy Priorities

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Children's State Budget Watch

State Budget Takes Baby Steps Forward for Children

The 2014-15 state budget, signed by Governor Brown on June 20th, included several important advancements for low-income children and families in California:

  • $264 million in new funding for early learning to make preschool and child care available to more children and improve the quality of early learning programs;
  • A 5% increase in the CalWORKs cash assistance grants for low-income families;
  • The repeal of the lifetime ban on basic needs assistance and food help for people – including parents – with a prior drug-felony conviction;
  • A new $20 million program to support CalWORKs families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and
  • The restoration of the Black Infant Health Program to address the fact that the black infant mortality rate is twice that of white infants.

However, the budget does not go far enough to rebuilt the social safety net for children and families, which was devastated by years of deep cuts during the recession. More reinvestment in Medi-Cal (which provides health coverage to half of California children), child care, and CalWORKs will be needed to ensure a level playing field for all children in the state.

The state budget is an important moral statement of what we value as a state and where our priorities lie. CDF-CA believes we must invest in quality child care, health care, education, nutritious food and other programs that help create a level playing field for all children.

At a time when almost one in four California children lives in poverty, the state needs to restore critical investments in children’s programs and begin repairing our tattered social safety net. California’s children and families are struggling with astounding poverty rates and a scarcity of services now – California’s fiscal health must be used to protect our children and our future.

What's New

[MEDIA HIT] Hospitals, Providers, Advocates Irked by What's Left Out of Budget Revision

California Health Line; May 14, 2014

"Even though the state is financially better off right now, there were some programs that didn't get restored," Michele Stillwell-Parvensky said. "Now that we're doing much better, we have the resources to fund these things."

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[PRESS RELEASE] Governor's Revised Budget Fails To Repair Gaps in Social Safety Net For Children And Families

CDF-CA; May 13, 2014

"Unfortunately, the Governor’s revised budget fails to use new revenue to repair the tattered safety net and provide the critical support services and investments children need to survive and thrive."

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[ANALYSIS] How the Governor’s 2014-15 Budget Proposal Will Affect California Children

CDF-CA; February 2014

Despite California’s growing state revenues and fiscal stability, Governor Brown’s 2014-15 fails to restore critical investments in children’s programs or repair a social safety net that has been slashed by budget cuts in past years.

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[PRESENTATION] How the California Budget is impacting Children

CDF-CA; January 9, 2014

"We understand the wisdom of preparing for the future; however, it is irresponsible to allocate billions to pay down state debt and build a rainy day fund when one in four California children live in poverty."

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[PRESS RELEASE] Governor’s Budget Proposal Falls Short For California’s Poor Children

CDF-CA; January 9, 2014

Governor Brown’s initial budget proposal once again fails to recognize the dire need to repair a social safety net that was shredded during five years of budget cuts to critical programs.

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Budget Details

How the Governor's 2014-15 Budget Proposal Would Affect California Children

Despite California's growing state revenues and fiscal stability, Governor Brown's 2014-15 fails to restore critical investments in children's programs or repair a social safety net that has been slashed by budget cuts in past years. Governor Brown has continued his refrain of fiscal restraint and emphasized paying down $11.8 billion in debt and building up a $2.3 billion reserve. The budget proposal maintains billions of dollars in devastating cuts to programs serving California's most vulnerable children and families.


The Governor's budget proposes no additional CalWORKs grant increases. Cash grants for most families will remain below 50% of the federal poverty line. The budget maintains the 24-month limit for parents to receive benefits, which is down from 60 months in 2011.


The Governor's budget reflects the full implementation of federal health care reform in California. Unfortunately, the proposal maintains a 10% cut to payment for doctors, dentists and other providers in Medi-Cal. California's Medi-Cal provider payments are already among the lowest in the country, and may discourage providers from participating in the Medi-Cal program.


The Governor proposes a significant increase in funding for K-12 education, which will be split between providing ongoing funding for schools and one-time funds for debt repayment and facility maintenance. The budget would provide $4.5 billion to continue implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, a new funding formula passed last year that directs additional resources to disadvantaged students. Despite the reinvestment in education in the last two budgets, California's per-student education spending still lags far behind the national average.


The Governor's proposed budget maintains last year's funding levels for subsidized child care and the state preschool program, leaving in place the elimination of 110,000 child care and preschool slots due to budget cuts since 2007.

Get Involved

In the next four weeks, the state Legislature and the Governor will be finalizing the state budget, and we need you to weigh in now to ensure that the needs of children are a top budget priority. Contact your state legislators and tell them to protect the social safety net for children and to invest in children's health, education and well being.


Use our legislative email tool to reach lawmakers right in their inbox.



Use our Fast-Tweet tool to quickly to encourage your twitter followers to take action.


Budget Resources

CBP Initial Analysis of Governor’s Revised Budget Proposal
This new report examines Governor Brown’s May Revision to his proposed 2014-15 budget, highlighting key changes and new proposals and the issues they raise.Learn more »

Governor's Budget May Revision 2014 - 2015
Read the Governor's May Revised Budget in its entirely.Learn more »

An Incomplete Vision: Putting the Governor’s Proposed 2014-15 Budget in Context
The California Budget Project's annual chartbook that examines key components of the Governor’s budget proposal.Learn more »

State of America's Children Report 2014
A comprehensive analysis of the most recent data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence.Learn more »

If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please contact Michele at:

Michele Stillwell-Parvensky
Childern's Defense Fund - California