Children's State Budget Watch

The state budget is an important moral statement of what we value as a state and where our priorities lie. We believe the state 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 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.

CDF-CA works to be a voice for children in the state budget process by testifying at budget hearings and advocating for crucial investments in the future of California’s children.

UPDATE: The Governor and Legislature have reached a budget deal that takes important steps to support California's children and families. The budget agreement will:

  • Repeal the CalWORKs Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule beginning January 1, 2017. The MFG rule denies additional basic needs assistance to children born to families already receiving aid.
  • Provides $100 million for 8,877 additional full-day State Preschool slots to be phased in over 4 years and to increase child care provider payments to reflect the minimum wage increase.
  • Provides $2 million for outreach grants to community based organizations to reach more families eligible for the new state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which provides an income boost to working poor households.
  • Increase CalWORKs grants by 1.4%.  A family of 3 will see an increase of $10 per month, bringing the maximum grant to about 42.5% of the federal poverty line.
  • Eliminates the once in a lifetime limit on CalWORKs Homeless Assistance.
  • Increases funding for the CalWORKs Housing Support Program by $12 million.
  • Provides a $2 billion bond funded by proceeds from the Mental Health Services Fund to build 10,000 units of supportive housing for persons living with mental illness.
  • Provides $10 million for the Bringing Families Home program to help homeless families in the child welfare system reunite.
  • Provides a $2 million increase for the Statewide Emergency Food Assistance program for food banks.
Latest Budget Developments

Sacramento Bee: Finally, an end to an ineffective and humiliating welfare law
June 14, 2016
The Sacramento Bee editorial board highlight the repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule: "Shaming this state’s impoverished women and children is hardly a reflection of our values, and putting a stop to it is long overdue."

California budget to eliminate contentious welfare policy
June 14, 2016
As part of a pending state budget deal with fellow Democrats, Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to repeal the so-called maximum family grant policy that prohibits people from receiving increased welfare income if they have more children while receiving public assistance.

Statement from Alex Johnson on the Governor's May Revise
May 13, 2016
"We were pleased to see that the Governor’s May Revise proposes $2 million for the Franchise Tax Board to support additional outreach and marketing to ensure California’s new state Earned Income Tax Credit reaching more eligible poor, working families. However, the Governor’s May Revise fails to include investments in critical programs for children and families and consequently ignores the reality that the state continues to have the highest poverty rate in the nation."

Press Statement: Governor's Budget Must Do More to Respond to the Needs of the Whole Child
January 7, 2016
CDF-CA's Executive Director Alex Johnson responds to the Governor Brown's proposed 2016-17 budget. "Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed budget falls short of providing the resources necessary to end child poverty in California and fully support crucial programs for our most vulnerable children and families."

Governor Jerry Brown Signs 2015-16 Budget
June 24, 2015
The Governor has signed a budget that includes several important first steps to address child poverty and invest in children and families, including expanding health coverage to all immigrant children, enacting California's first-ever state Earned Income Tax Credit to boost income for working families in deep poverty, and increasing funding for child care and early learning programs. However, additional investments will be needed to implement the bold, comprehensive strategy needed to eliminate child poverty for 1 in 4 California children.

Press Statement: Children’s Health Advocates Hail California’s Budget as a Historic Leap Toward Health Coverage for All Children 
June 19, 2015
The Children's Health Coverage Coalition responds to the inclusion of health coverage through Medi-Cal for undocumented immigrant children in the budget. 

Statement from CDF-CA’s Executive Director Alex Johnson: "California is built on the dreams of immigrant families in search of a better future for their children. Now, these children will have the health coverage they need to survive and thrive, and grow up ready to contribute fully to our state’s workforce and economy. By doing the right thing for children, our state will benefit now and in the future."

Press Statement: Governor’s Proposed Tax Credit for Working Poor Families is a Positive First Step to Reduce Child Poverty in California
May 14, 2015
CDF-CA’s Executive Director Alex Johnson released a statement in response to the Governor’s May Revise budget proposal.

Governor Jerry Brown Releases May Revise Budget Proposal
May 14, 2015
The Governor’s May Revise budget proposal includes $380 million for the state's first-ever Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reduce poverty, but fails to restore deep cuts made to the social safety net during the recession. Read analyses and responses to the Governor's May Revise:

#EndPovertyCA Social Media Day of Action
May 13, 2015
The day before the Governor released his May Revise state budget proposal, advocates and policymakers joined together in a social media day of action to highlight the need to make ending poverty in California a state budget priority.

CDF-CA Gives Invited Testimony to Assembly and Senate Budget Committees
February 25, 2015
Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, Senior Policy & Government Affairs Manager at CDF-CA, testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the need to invest in early learning and before the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services on CDF’s Ending Child Poverty report and recommendations to dramatically reduce child poverty.

Press Statement: Governor’s Budget Proposal Fails to Adequately Address the 1 in 4 California Children in Poverty
January 9, 2015
CDF-CA’s Executive Director Alex Johnson released a statement in response to the Governor’s budget proposal.

How the State Budget Impacts Children

How the Governor’s 2016–17 Budget Proposal Would Affect California Children

Alex Johnson, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, released the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal:

“With California’s fiscal health improving, now is the time to invest in the health and well-being of California’s children and rebuild our tattered social safety net. Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed budget falls short of providing the resources necessary to end child poverty in California and fully support crucial programs for our most vulnerable children and families.

The historic investment in K-12 education is a critical step, but we also need a budget that addresses the root causes of educational gaps. Quality health care, child care and early education are important family supports needed for children to survive and flourish. If we want our investments in California’s public schools to be successful, we need to be making investments to ensure that our children don’t live in poverty or come to school hungry or sick.

The Governor is using the threat of future recession to justify not making critical investments of our most vulnerable children today. We cannot afford to continue allowing 1 in 4 children in California to live in poverty, struggling to meet basic needs on a daily basis. We can be fiscally and morally responsible by making smart investments in California’s future by protecting and supporting our children.

We were pleased to see that the Governor’s budget proposal reflects the implementation of the creation of California’s new state Earned-Income Tax Credit to support poor working families and the extension of Medi-Cal coverage to all children, regardless of immigration status. And although minimal, the inclusion of the first cost-of-living increase for Supplement Security Income/State Supplement Payment recipients since 2006 was a good first step.

We encourage the Governor and the Legislature to develop a final budget that invests in the whole child and strengthens the safety net to create a stronger future for all of California’s children and families.”