CWDA Blog - Our Take


CWDA Blog – Our Take

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With New Plan, CWDA Deepens Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As I stepped into the role of CWDA’s Executive Director in January 2021, our state and our county human services agencies were grappling with several interrelated crises.  One was the devastation, fear and human loss of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our county staff were on the front lines, meeting a surge of need and witnessing the devastating impact of the virus on communities long excluded from the basic foundations of health – quality housing, nutrition, preventive care and more. 

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California Needs to Step Up Its Support of Our Most Vulnerable Kids & Families

In California, at any given time, about 55,000 children are living in foster care – young people for whom the State of California has legally taken on parental responsibility. Child welfare services, including foster care, is run by counties in California, with state oversight. Though counties run the system on the ground, state leadership is essential to ensuring children and families have access to resources and supportive services to help them avoid abuse and neglect, overcome trauma, and move forward in a healthy way. 

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As Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Expire, Californians Can Connect to County-Delivered Recovery Programs

Going to the grocery store, putting gas in the car. These everyday necessities would have been impossible for millions of Californians who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic were it not for the financial lifeline of federal unemployment benefits.

While most extensions and increases to these federal benefits expired September 4, 2021, affecting an estimated three million California workers, there are still opportunities to get help recovering from this crisis.

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A path for California to confront disparities in child welfare

What if families had the support they need to stay together and prevent their children from entering foster care?

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State Must Prepare for Human Crisis to Persist Beyond COVID-19

Many of us are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic through stories in the news, our social media feeds or our sparing trips out of the house to buy groceries or take-out.  At CWDA, we have a different view of how the pandemic is unfolding — through the data and frontline experiences of our county human services programs serving vulnerable Californians and families.

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No Easy Answers: Views From the Border

Three weeks ago, I was in El Paso, Texas, riding in a Border Patrol bus along the Rio Grande river. The river ran through a concrete gorge, Mexican national guard troops standing every few hundred feet on the other side. Just past a tall section of border wall, several Border Patrol SUVs converged on a young woman holding a baby in her arms, a toddler clutching her jeans and a young man standing next to her. Another woman, also with a baby and toddler, sat nearby.

Blog post Diana Boyer

Bringing Families Home Success Stories

This June, funding for the Bringing Families Home (BFH) program is set to end given its one-time, demonstration status. Bringing Families Home provides housing assistance and support for families involved in the child welfare system. Too many families that could safely stay together languish in foster care solely because of their inability to obtain safe and affordable housing; Bringing Families Home is the answer for these families.

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The breakdown with Frank Mecca
It’s time to update the CalWORKs Earned Income Disregard

Let’s start off with the basics, what is the Earned Income Disregard and how does it work?

When the Legislature – on a bipartisan basis – implemented CalWORKs, which is California’s version of federal welfare reform, there were several key tenets; one of them is that work should pay. The idea is that as families on CalWORKs are able to move into the workforce and earn money, we won’t deduct dollar-for-dollar from their CalWORKs check.

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The Road Ahead for California’s Foster Care Reform

CWDA continues to fight for the tools and resources necessary for the success of Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) in California’s child welfare system. It is imperative that California enact legislation that will help California meet the goals of this major foster care reform effort and ensure that funding is dedicated to that purpose. We must ensure that foster youth and caregivers are supported and stable as we continue to roll out and learn from this reform effort. To that end, we are determined to see two important policy efforts implemented in the coming year.

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California must increase the CalWORKs grant to keep children out of deep poverty
SB 982 is an investment to lift children out of deep poverty and allow them to thrive, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars

California is officially the fifth- largest economy in the world, unemployment is low, and our state is prospering. Yet, we also have the stain of the highest rate of children living in poverty in the nation. California’s coffers are filling up, but our social safety net programs intended to lift families out of poverty aren’t doing enough to meet the high costs it takes to live here.

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Victims of Elder Abuse Are Being Forced into Homelessness at an Alarming Rate

Home Safe program would help counties step in to protect vulnerable adults

Alice* weighed only 80 pounds when she was rushed to the hospital last year by ambulance. At 80 years old, with limited mobility, she was terrified to return home to her daughter and adult grandsons. Alice knew the brutal neglect she had suffered would only continue. These family members refused to help Alice get to the kitchen to eat, or to the bathroom to use the toilet. She was often left to soil her bed.

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“Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” could trigger automatic program cuts across the board and what that means for Californians

Abused and neglected children, persons with developmental disabilities, families facing extreme poverty and the elderly all stand to see negative consequences from the passage of the Republican tax bill first hand in California, though not in the way people may think.

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CWDA Wraps Up Productive Legislative Session

The Governor wrapped up his signatures and vetoes of all bills on his desk just before the midnight deadline on Sunday, October 15. CWDA had several sponsored bills signed this session.

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The Cloak and Dagger Congress

If you believe the tweets, the Senate has begun or will soon begin sending pieces of its health care reform proposal to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for the development of a fiscal analysis, or “score.” Unlike the House, which passed the American Health Care Act prior to the release of an updated score, the Senate must have a CBO score on any bill it seeks to bring up on the floor. So far, no leaks have occurred, so unless you’re in a very small, not very diverse-looking group of Senators or their staff, you’re in the dark just like me.

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Join Us in Saying “YES” to Coverage and to Health
“NO” to the House AHCA Legislation

Seven years ago, today, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, marking the start of dramatic improvements in health care delivery and access for millions of Americans. For decades, our county eligibility staff had to tell people “No,” they weren’t eligible for coverage because they had no children, no disability, income that was a little bit too high. In California, the new law let our county staff tell nearly everyone, “Yes! You qualify for health care.” The ACA opened doors to coverage for millions, including the state’s highly successful Medicaid program expansion, which now covers 3.7 million adults, as well as the additional 1.5 million covered through Covered California, our state exchange.

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Patients in Crisis would Suffer under House GOP Plan
Medicaid Hospital Presumptive Eligibility Program Saves Lives and Money

By Cathy Senderling-McDonald & Jackie Bender

A patient arrives at an emergency room at a public hospital in the Central Valley. During the visit, she is also diagnosed with a brain tumor that requires highly specialized care available only at certain facilities in the state. However, she recently relocated to the area for a new job, and she does not yet have health insurance through her employer. Thanks to an option in the Affordable Care Act known as Hospital Presumptive Eligibility, this woman – and hundreds of thousands of Californians like her who seek care at participating hospitals each year – can receive immediate health care treatment and coverage while her eligibility is processed. The hospital offering the specialized care knows it will be paid for her care, and she will have the peace of mind that her care will be covered by this temporary insurance coverage.

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Per Capita Cap in House GOP Bill: A Cut, By Any Other Name
Caps Penalize Low-Cost States, Don't Grow Fast Enough

It’s been four days since House Republicans released their American Health Care Act (AHCA) to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Another name that might have been considered: The “Axe Medicaid” Act.

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House GOP Plan would Dismantle the Medicaid Program
Leaves Taxpayers on Financial Hook & Abandons Federal Government's Responsibility to Provide Basic Level of Health Care

“Keeping America Healthy” – that’s the motto of the Medicaid program, established more than 50 years ago to provide health coverage to low-income people. The program – one of the largest insurers in the nation – has seen dramatic improvements in eligibility processes, health care delivery and access in the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was signed. Medicaid – known as Medi-Cal in California – today covers 1 in 3 Californians, counting 14 million children, adults and seniors on its rolls.

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Take Action on EITC Awareness Day
Learn about the Federal & State Tax Credits, Tell a Client, Family Member or Friend How to Get the Credit They've Earned

Today, January 27, is EITC Awareness Day across the nation, a day to promote the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and help ensure low-income workers know how to claim the tax credit they have earned. In California, we want to be sure people also know about the state tax credit known as CalEITC, now available for the second year.