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Press release Cathy Senderling-McDonald Megan Gamble

CWDA Statement on National Stay of “Public Charge” Rule

“After standing with Governor Newsom and California Attorney General Becerra against the “public charge” rule and in support of their lawsuit against it, CWDA is pleased that multiple courts have ordered a stay of the rule. CWDA is relieved that the entire rule will not go into effect until the process plays out in our courts and will not be going into effect anywhere next week. The “public charge” rule change would only have harmed immigrant families nationwide should it have gone into effect next week as was planned.

Blog post Cathy Senderling-McDonald

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.

Article California HealthlineAna B. Ibarra

How And When Immigrants’ Use Of Government Benefits Might Affect Their Legal Status

new rule to restrict legal immigration, published by the Trump administration this month, is sowing confusion and anxiety even among immigrants not directly affected by it, as fear spreads faster than facts, immigration and health policy experts say.

Video Cathy Senderling-McDonald Megan Gamble
CWDA Stands with Governor Newsom and Attorney General Becerra Against Public Charge Rule Change

CWDA Stands with Governor Newsom and Attorney General Becerra Against Public Charge Rule Change
Deputy Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald represented CWDA during a press conference announcing California's lawsuit against the Trump Administration's changes to "Public Charge".

August 16, 2019

This change to long-standing immigration law will hurt California’s  immigrant population, especially those trying to make ends meet, by instilling a real fear of using public assistance programs that they are eligible for and need. CWDA stands opposed to this rule change and is engaging with our state and advocacy partners in their efforts to stop this policy from going forward. 

Press release Cathy Senderling-McDonald Megan Gamble

CWDA Condemns “Public Charge” Rule Change Announced by the Trump Administration

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) condemned the Trump Administration’s final rule announced today that will change long-standing rules about legal immigrants’ use of public benefit programs. These “public charge” rules, which were released earlier in the year in draft form and drew more than 210,000 sets of comments from organizations and individuals across the country, including CWDA, will be published Wednesday in final form in the Federal Register.

Press release Cathy Senderling-McDonald

CWDA Opposes Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule Change for SNAP Food Benefit Recipients
The proposal seeks to force thousands of California’s most vulnerable off the CalFresh program and will increase bureaucracy

SACRAMENTO –The proposal put forth today by the Trump Administration would end the streamlined process that California and dozens of other states have opted into, which allows us to deem low-income families that meet certain qualifications, such as CalWORKs participation, automatically eligible for CalFresh food assistance, also known as SNAP federally.

Coalition Work

CWDA joins Western Center on Law & Poverty, CA Association of Food Banks, and other food advocates in opposition to Trump Administration’s proposed changes to SNAP rules

The rule targets low-income families by seeking to end a long-standing and widely adopted rule that eases the application & retention burden for families that qualify for other federal benefits, like CalWORKs in California, for SNAP benefits – reducing hunger for millions of Americans.

Download the joint statement

Press release Frank J. Mecca

CWDA Executive Director Frank Mecca Appointed to Governor’s Homelessness Advisory Body

SACRAMENTO – The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) is proud to announce that Governor Newsom has appointed CWDA executive director, Frank Mecca along with other statewide experts and local leaders to advise him on confronting the homelessness crisis in California.

Article Chronicle of Social ChangeSara Tiano

After Veto, California’s Crisis Hotline for Foster Youth is Back in Play

A plan to establish a statewide 24/7 crisis hotline and mobile response system for California foster youth and caregivers has been given new life in the state legislature’s new budget after former Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed the project last year.

The state legislature’s budget, which was passed on Thursday, includes $15 million from the state general fund in the next fiscal year to roll out the project, plus $30 million annually through the end of 2021 to operate the system. Gov. Gavin Newsom has until July 1 to sign the budget bill.

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.

Press release Frank J. Mecca

CWDA Statement on the 2019-20 Budget May Revise

SACRAMENTO – CWDA continues to be inspired by Governor Newsom’s vision of a California for all, as evidenced by his May Revise investments to lift Californians out of poverty and homelessness. The 2019-20 May Revise continues to expand on programs that address underlying issues contributing to the state’s high poverty rate, including housing insecurity, trauma, and low wages. Proposed changes include greater funding for trauma screenings as well as funding for physician training and the time to properly roll out the policy change.

Blog post Frank J. Mecca

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.

Press release

HBO Documentary Film FOSTER Comes to California As Part of 10-State Social Impact Screening Tour Hosted by Participant Media
Campaign seeks to accelerate solutions to support children and families in the California foster care system and in communities across the country

SACRAMENTO – The upcoming documentary FOSTER, presented by Participant Media and Emerson Collective, in association with HBO Documentary Films, is coming to Sacramento on April 9 as part of a special 10-state social impact tour that aims to change perceptions about foster youth and accelerate solutions for children and families in the foster care system.

Article California Health Report

For Foster Youth in Crisis, Advocates Seek Another Option Besides 911

By Claudia Boyd-Barrett

Foster parents often have trouble getting prompt help when a traumatized child in their care acts up or struggles to adapt to a new home.

Event Megan Gamble

FOSTER Documentary Screening in Sacramento
Co-hosted by CWDA April 9, 2019

CWDA joined Participant Media and HBO to present an early screening of FOSTER, a documentary that follows different perspectives in child welfare and foster care within the Los Angeles County system. This film is an honest and unflinching look into the lives of families, youth, caregivers, and social workers. 

Press release

Assemblyman Ken Cooley and the California Legislature Recognize Michelle Callejas as an Extraordinary Woman at Annual Celebration of Women’s History Month

Assemblyman Ken Cooley joined the California Legislative Women’s Caucus to recognize extraordinary women from across the state in celebration of Women’s History Month. This year, the Assemblyman honored Michelle Callejas of Sacramento. 

“Recognizing Michelle on this momentous occasion at the Capitol brings me great pride,” said Assemblyman Cooley. “Michelle’s dedication to working collaboratively with families and partners within our community fosters better experiences and exemplifies outstanding community service.”

Press release

California Health and Human Services Agencies Successfully Issue CalFresh Food Assistance Early in the Face of Government Shutdown
Had county HHS and state agencies not acted quickly, millions of vulnerable Californians could have gone without food assistance in February.

SACRAMENTO – Tomorrow, January 16, millions of Californians will receive their February allotment of CalFresh food assistance benefits, which would normally be released starting February 1. This was an enormous, $550 million undertaking by the state and county human services agencies and our automation system staff that came together in less than a week. It is the first early issuance in California’s history.

Budget Priority

2019-20 State Budget Update
January 2019

CWDA issues Budget Updates that include information about the Governor’s proposals, budget subcommittee actions, Budget Conference Committee actions, leadership negotiations, and Governor’s vetoes.

Download the CWDA 2019-20 Budget Update

Press release

CWDA Statement on Newsom Administration’s January 2019 Budget

SACRAMENTO – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) commends Governor Newsom for putting forth a comprehensive, thoughtful and achievable set of investments to help California’s most vulnerable in his 2019-20 budget proposal released today.


CWDA Joins Coalition Announcing Support for the Latest Version of the Farm Bill
CA Association of Food Banks, CA Food Policy Advocates, Western Center on Law & Poverty Joined CWDA in Support

The Farm Bill Conference Report that was published this week included a Nutrition Title that protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as CalFresh in California.