News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – January 13, 2017

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo: Governor Brown released his proposed 2017-18 budget, maintaining support for the Medi-Cal program and keeping general fund spending flat; a new study shows the difference the ACA and health care has made in the housing arena, allowing many poor working families to afford their rents; learn how a Butte County group is raising awareness about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experience).

State Budget

California revenue is growing. So why the talk of deficits? | Associated Press | January 10, 2017

California’s economy is expanding and voters just approved billions of dollars in tax increases, yet Gov. Jerry Brown this week projected a budget deficit for the first time in four years and called for spending cuts. So what’s going on? The paradoxical budget picture is a result of revenue growing more slowly than economists had predicted after years of rapid increases from a hard-charging economy. While Brown expects revenue to be up 3 percent next year, the governor and lawmakers assumed revenues would be even higher when they planned the current budget, and they spent accordingly. Costs are higher than expected, too.

Brown, Legislature differ sharply on California budget | Associated Press | January 10, 2017

Gov. Jerry Brown sees a budget deficit and an urgent need for spending cuts. Legislative leaders see a surplus with room to comfortably increase expenditures… Brown staked out a conservative opening position Tuesday, warning of a potential $1.6 billion budget deficit and proposing a spending plan that keeps general fund expenditures flat at $122.5 billion. Since costs rise every year, his plan would require cuts to keep pace, and he suggested eliminating billions of dollars allocated to education, state building construction, subsidized housing, college scholarships and child care providers.

Gov. Brown’s Budget Shows Support for Medi-Cal | Capital Public Radio | January 11, 2017

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget shows continued support for California’s Medicaid program as talks of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act gain momentum. He has proposed an $18.9 billion budget for Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for low-income individuals. Brown allotted $1.6 billion from California’s General Fund for the health program. In last year’s budget, $888 million came from the General Fund. Brown says repealing the ACA would be difficult and disruptive.

Obamacare Repeal Could Punch $15 Billion Hole in State Budget | KQED | January 9, 2017

When Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2017-18 budget Tuesday, there will be one huge question mark hanging over the proposal: What will it cost California when congressional Republicans follow through on their promise to dismantle Obamacare?… Since 2014, Medi-Cal rolls have swelled from about 8 million Californians to about 14 million. One reason: the Affordable Care Act greatly expanded Medicaid eligibility for childless, low-income adults — more than 3 million new Medi-Cal enrollees have qualified because of that change since 2014. 

Health Care

Obamacare has Benefits that Extend Beyond the Hospital—and into Housing | New America | January 12, 2017

Landlords across America should be cheering for Obamacare, and here’s why: Families who get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are significantly more likely to pay their rent or mortgage. This shows up clearly in our new study of tax and survey data on roughly 5,000 people living near the poverty line. Those who get insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces become delinquent on their housing payments at a rate 15 percent below those who go uninsured. This research, led by a team at Washington University in St. Louis, strongly indicates that the ACA is lessening financial distress for the working poor by helping to keep a roof over the heads of families who might otherwise be out on the street.

Trump Voters and I Have One Thing in Common: We’re Scared of Losing Medicaid | TalkPoverty | January 13, 2017

I recently read about a county in Kentucky that is typical of the kinds of depressed white communities that have dominated the news since Trump’s election. Owsley County is 83 percent white, mostly rural, and rigidly conservative. On the surface, I don’t have much in common with its residents. I’m a black American. I’m pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, and a feminist. I’m a lifelong progressive. According to multiple media outlets, Owsley’s residents see my beliefs as a direct threat. But we also have deep a bond. Poverty.


State stops refusing extra welfare to moms who have more children | calMATTERS | January 11, 2017

Rocio Zavala is doing her best to keep her daughter from eating her coupons. It’s 11:30 on a Friday morning and Zavala, 30 years old and unemployed, is sitting at a foldout table in her living room, snipping, sorting, and stacking the freshly clipped squares of paper, while cooing at 3-year-old Deysy. The mother’s hands are moving with a practiced swiftness, partly to keep her coupons out of Deysy’s grasp, but also because she is in a hurry. She, her fiancé, Deysy, and her 2-year-old, Franklin Jr., have only have a few hours to finish all the shopping before the other five kids get home from school.  With those five kids crowded into one room and the parents and two toddlers sleeping bed-to-crib across the hall, that makes for cramped quarters in this two-bedroom bungalow in east Oakland. And yet despite the seven clearly marked children’s gift stockings that still hang from the mantel, it wasn’t until January 1st of this year that the state of California’s welfare program, CalWORKs, officially determined that all of Zavala’s children—and not just three—were deserving of financial assistance. Along with some 95,000 other families across California, the Zavalas have just begun receiving a larger monthly welfare payment thanks to the repeal of a controversial state law known as the Maximum Family Grant rule.

Homelessness & Poverty

Housing is just a start in tackling LA County homelessness | Los Angeles Daily News | January 6, 2017

The four walls and a roof over their heads is a start. But it won’t solve everything for people who sleep under overpasses, in their cars or on sidewalks, says Dorothy Edwards. Not at first. Edwards knows this well. She was once among the chronically homeless of Pasadena, living in a tent on the side of the 210 Freeway and on the streets after decades of drug use…  But the social workers never gave up on Edwards, and now, as a part-time peer case manager at an affordable-housing community called Teague Terrace in Eagle Rock, Edwards won’t give up on others who were once like her. “The housing is all good and we love housing people,” Edwards, 59, said one recent day, “But that’s when the work begins.” This year, Edwards spoke at dozens of events in favor of Proposition HHH, a property tax bond measure that Los Angeles residents passed in the Nov. 8 election. 

Child Sex Trafficking

Connection between sex trafficking, child welfare system explored in Yolo County | Davis-Enterpise | January 13, 2017

Josie Feemster was a young teen mother living in Sacramento when an adult she trusted began grooming her for a life as a sex trafficking victim. She had grown up in a dysfunctional home, with a father who spent time in prison and a mother who was on drugs, and “there was no consistency or stability,” she says of her childhood… Feemster’s situation was not unlike many other children who, like her, eventually become victims of what was long called child prostitution and now is referred to as the commercial sexual exploitation of children: forced to have sex for money over and over again by an exploiter who would beat Feemster and threaten to kill her daughter if she tried to leave… Feemster, now a writer and advocate, was one of two experts in the field on hand to talk about how to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children and how to help the victims.

Child Welfare

Local Butte County group raises awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences | Chico News & Review | January 12, 2017

In Jeremy Wilson’s line of work, it does well to remember that people who act abusively have probably suffered abuse themselves. He offered an example of a schoolyard bully. “When someone is displaying disruptive behaviors,” he said, “you can respond in that authoritarian, knock-if-off way, or you can say, ‘OK, there’s a reason this sixth-grader is pushing other kids down on the playground.’ Most likely, it’s not because the sixth-grader was born a mean, awful kid, but because they’ve experienced some level of trauma at home.” Wilson, program manager for Butte County Behavioral Health, says severe trauma affects everyone differently, depending on factors such as mental health, family history and genetics. For pretty much everyone, however, traumatic experiences are more devastating earlier in life. A growing body of research suggests early trauma can reverberate throughout adulthood. There’s even a term for it: ACE, which stands for Adverse Childhood Experience.


To submit stories for inclusion in CWDA’s weekly Media Memo, email Sarah Jimenez. County staff and others not currently receiving the Media Memo directly can sign up on the CWDA website at the bottom of the home page.