In the world of policy, decision makers try to balance the needs
of various constituencies to drive toward incremental change.
Reform efforts that start with the best of intentions can have
unintended consequences, often for the very people they are
trying to help. However, when we know what the consequences are
before legislation is passed, we can follow the cardinal rule of
any intervention: First, do no harm.
Imagine getting a call that your elderly father – who you thought
died two years ago – is alive. An Adult Protective Services
worker shares that your father, who lives 100 miles from you, who
you thought succumbed to complications of a traumatic brain
injury, is the victim of physical, financial and psychological
abuse. For several years, he’s been isolated and neglected by two
people you thought were his caregivers.
The headline reads, “Dozens arrested in sex trafficking bust in
Colorado.” Buried deeper in the
story from April 27 about the adults arrested for
trafficking and prostitution: among the children recovered was a
15-year-old victim who was transported to Colorado from
That 15-year-old child could have come from your community.
It’s the most classist, racist and sexist law in California human
services policy, and its more than two-decade run is closer to
coming to an end.
Last week, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human
Services took action to repeal the Maximum Family Grant (MFG)
policy in the CalWORKs program. Under this law, a child born into
a family receiving CalWORKs assistance is not eligible for
assistance unless the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest or
a failure in contraception.
Of course the answer is no. It is unconscionable that we expect
low-income families trying to rebuild their lives to pull
themselves out of poverty with so little assistance. But $704 is
the maximum amount of assistance a family of three receives in
the CalWORKs program, a result of policy decisions made in
California over a number of years.
Homelessness and housing affordability continue to dominate
legislative attention this session. And the CalWORKs Housing
Support Program is being held up as a model in our state’s
quest to end homelessness.
State, county and community leaders testified before separate
Senate and Assembly hearings on challenges and opportunities to
ending homelessness. Speaker after speaker pointed to the
“housing first” model that the CalWORKs Housing Program is based
upon as key to how to address California’s human crisis of
It’s no secret, and should be no surprise, that California faces
a growing problem of housing affordability that threatens the
ability of our state’s economy to continue its recovery as it
threatens the ability of struggling families to find safe,
quality places to live that don’t place them on the edge of
Visiting our new website for the first time and noticing we look
a little different? Rest assured we’re the same CWDA
- promoting a human services system that encourages
self-sufficiency of families and communities, and protects
vulnerable children and adults from abuse and neglect. We’re
still committed to Advocating, Educating and Collaborating. CWDA
- Advancing Human Services for the Welfare of All