SB 982 by Senator Holly Mitchell will eliminate deep poverty in the CalWORKs program by placing a minimum grant level to ensure no CalWORKs grant falls below 50 percent of the federal poverty level. By doing so, this bill will protect children from the worst harms of chronically unmet basic needs
Growing up in deep poverty impairs children’s ability to learn, develop and thrive. “Deep poverty” is defined as living in a family with an income below 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Chronically unmet basic needs experienced by children living in deep poverty not only impact their health and well-being, but also their future potential.
The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program provides basic needs cash aid and services to low-income families with children to alleviate the impact of poverty on children and help parents overcome barriers to employment. Yet, the level of support provided to CalWORKs families is insufficient to meet basic needs and lift all of these children out of deep poverty. The current maximum grant for a family of three is $714 per month or 41 percent of FPL.