News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – March 17, 2017

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo: analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the House GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act confirms that from children to the elderly, poor Americans will suffer and lose health care coverage. President Trump released his federal budget proposal and as one report summed up: “The president’s blueprint would disrupt almost everything California does, in some cases quite brutally.” Learn about a state task force trying to tackle the challenging questions around support of caregivers who care for aging family members. And be sure to read the powerful op-ed by two CWDA partners who explain SB 1322 and make it clear: there’s #NoSuchThing as a child prostitute.

Health Care

What Happens to Elder Care With Proposed Caps to Medi-Cal? | KQED March 14, 2017

It’s a Sunday evening for Charlotte and Marc Altieri of Long Beach, and that means bath time for the couple’s children — 2-year-old Gino and 5-month-old Jessie. And for this moment at least, Charlotte, 39, is able to focus on her children rather than worrying about her mother, 71-year-old Carmencita Misa. Three years ago, a debilitating stroke stole Misa’s short-term memory, her sight and her mobility…Initially, it was Medicare, the federal insurance program for those 65 and older, that paid for Misa’s nursing home care. But unbeknown to many, that program limits care to only 100 days. When Charlotte learned of the Medicare cutoff, she scrambled to figure out how to pay her mom’s monthly nursing home bill.

Families wary of enrolling undocumented kids in Medi-Cal | KPCC | March 13, 207

Tens of thousands of children in the U.S. illegally are enrolled in Medi-Cal, but fear of deportation by the Trump administration has many of their parents considering pulling them out of the program. Since Trump’s election last November, parents have been calling the L.A. Care Health Plan to request that their kids be withdrawn from Medi-Cal, according to agency officials, who say they’re counseling those who call to keep their kids in the program. A state law that took effect last May makes it possible for children under 19 to access Medi-Cal, regardless of their immigration status. 

5 takeaways from the CBO’s report on Obamacare repeal | Politico | March 14, 2017

The CBO projection finding the House Obamacare repeal bill would mean 24 million more uninsured may be politically toxic, but its conclusion the bill would cut the deficit gives Republican leaders a green light to press on with a plan they say will save the U.S. health care system by cutting taxes, regulations and entitlement spending. The Republicans have cast themselves as hard-headed saviors of a broken system in which Americans are forced to buy coverage they don’t want and can’t afford. But the numbers CBO issued Monday won’t make for an easier sell. Moderate and conservative critics alike are sure to be emboldened by forecasts that directly undercut President Donald Trump’s repeated promise that everyone would be better off under the Republican plan.

GOP health plan to cost older, poorer Californians far more | San Francisco Chronicle | March 13, 2017

The health care bill proposed by House Republicans would disproportionately affect older and poorer Californians by shrinking federal assistance to hundreds of thousands of older people who buy plans on Covered California and by reducing federal funding to Medi-Cal, the insurance program for the poor, experts say. The American Health Care Act, the GOP proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, includes two provisions that health care experts calculate would lead to lower-income Californians in their 50s and 60s paying more for health care.

GOP health proposal would upend consumers’ cost calculations in California | The Sacramento Bee | March 13, 2017

For better or worse, Californians who aren’t insured through their employers could see major changes in their health insurance costs under a Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act. A House GOP proposal introduced March 6 would provide substantially less financial help to many consumers in higher-cost areas of California, from San Francisco to Monterey. But people in lower-cost markets like Los Angeles could fare better. That’s because the Republican proposal takes a simpler, across-the-board approach to tax credits than the current law.

The life-and-death stakes of an Affordable Care Act repeal in one of L.A. County’s poorest, sickest regions | Los Angeles Times | March 10, 2017

Nurses and doctors rush through hallways, readying exam rooms. The clinic in Lancaster hasn’t yet opened for the day, but staff members know that once patients start filing in they won’t stop. In less than two hours, it will be standing-room only in the waiting areas. Eight years ago, the Antelope Valley Community Clinic was a mobile van that offered check-ups and employed fewer than 10 people. Today it’s a health system with two clinics, two vans and 235 employees, and treats 500 patients a day.

Federal Budget

Trump budget would reignite California’s financial strains | Los Angeles Times | March 15, 2017

President Trump’s budget would deliver a painful financial blow to California, with the potential to push a state that has struggled for years to keep its books balanced back into the kind of red ink that consumed it after the housing market collapse a decade ago. The only solace state and local officials are taking out of a White House budget plan that would cut most federal departments by about 10% to 12% is that even Republicans in Congress probably will find all the cuts on the table too hard to stomach. The president’s blueprint would disrupt almost everything California does, in some cases quite brutally.

Sonoma County housing, homeless and legal services brace for budget cuts under Trump plan | Press Democrat | March 16, 2017

Repairs to decrepit housing, restoration of coho salmon runs, funding for homeless services and legal assistance to low-income tenants are among the Sonoma County programs targeted for significant cuts in the budget blueprint released Thursday by President Donald Trump. Public access broadcasting and weather forecasting to improve water supply management also were threatened in the spending plan that cuts nearly $59 billion from most federal agency budgets to offset an equal increase for just three: Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Defense. Scientists at Novato’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging are eyeing a potential loss of $3 million for studies of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer, while Santa Rosa and the county are bracing for an equal loss of funding largely for housing services.

State Budget

San Bernardino County braces for renewed In-Home Supportive Services spending | Daily Press | March 14, 2017

This county is bracing for the financial brunt from the looming cancellation of a seven-county pilot program that had capped local costs for In-Home Supportive Services and shifted responsibility for IHSS labor negotiations to the state. The Coordinated Care Initiative, announced by Gov. Jerry Brown in January 2012, enabled persons eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal to receive health services, including home-based services, through a single health plan. The pilot program was implemented in seven counties, including San Bernardino County.


Sacramento families waiting for affordable housing may lose access under federal cut | Sacramento Bee | March 13, 2017

Faced with a significant federal budget cut, Sacramento’s affordable housing agency could be forced to shut off access to low-income residents waiting for rent vouchers as early as this summer. The move, should it happen, could also threaten Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s plan to use those federal funds to pay for permanent shelter for 1,200 homeless people over the next three years. La Shelle Dozier, head of the city-county Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, said a $2.5 million federal cut through June will force her agency to burn through reserves to ensure more than 12,000 households can continue receiving subsidized housing. Dozier said households already using vouchers in Sacramento will likely avoid impacts.


Lost in the Fog: Family Caregiving in California | California Health Report | March 11, 2017

It was dubbed “The Fog Bowl.” On New Year’s Eve in the late 1980s, two professional football teams watched as a dense fog descended on Chicago’s Soldier Field, rendering the game largely invisible to coaches, fans and broadcasters alike. As one player trudged off the field, a coach asked him a simple question: “What’s going on out there?” A new California task force is asking this same question about family caregivers. Overwhelmed family caregivers feel lost and frustrated, unable to navigate a fragmented and confusing system of support that should integrate adult daycare, long-term care and respite care for exhausted caregivers, while educating families on complex topics like dementia. The problem is so acute that family caregivers often get sick themselves — and sometimes wind up hospitalized.

Child Welfare

Foster kids need face time with parents, but in LA County that’s not easy | KPCC | March 14, 2017

Los Angeles’ traffic issues, among other problems, are hampering one of the child welfare system’s basic functions: getting foster kids face time with their parents.  According to a recent Los Angeles County report, nearly 10,000 children in the county’s foster care system are receiving “reunification services” designed to help repair their families and return them to their parents — and visitation is a core, legally required component. “It’s one of the most essential services we can provide,” said Diane Iglesias, senior deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Visits help keep children connected with their families, she said, and provide opportunities to repair damage their relationships have suffered. 

California Time Limits 30-Day Shelters for Foster Youth in Midst of ‘Epic Crisis’ in Foster Parent Recruitment | Chronicle for Social Change | March 9, 2017

As California shifts away from its reliance on group homes for children and youth in foster care, the first domino to drop is the elimination of 30-day emergency shelter facilities. As California rolls out the ambitious overhaul of its foster care system, advocates who pushed for the reform are hopeful that shortening timelines for placement, and other imminent changes, will disrupt the system and transform it into one that better serves children. But, some local service providers are skeptical that meeting new shortened timelines for placement can be achieved, especially when most counties across the state are facing a serious foster parent recruitment crises. Counties use emergency shelter facilities to place children when they first enter foster care or in between placements as social workers try to find them a home. Until now, the shelter care facilities have been set up to house a child for a maximum of 30 days at a time.

Child Care

New California task force looks for long-range plan to meet child care needs | Los Angeles Daily News | March 12, 2017

Opening the first meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, said that the primary reason he ran for office was to be able to address child care needs. Rendon, who convened the commission, worked in early education for years before coming to Sacramento. He said he established the bipartisan commission, made up of 18 lawmakers, advocates and practitioners, “to have a forum outside the budget process to discuss our early childhood education system and how to improve it.” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, a commission co-chair, noted that despite a state investment of just over a half billion dollars, at least 300,000 eligible children in California do not have access to state subsidized child care.

 Child Sex Trafficking/Human Trafficking

My Word: No, California hasn’t made child prostitution legal | East Bay Times | March 16, 2016 | By Stacey Katz and Kate Walker Brown

A harmful paradox existed in California law: Raping a child was sexual abuse, yet when someone paid to rape them, the child was arrested and detained. This paradox was resolved on Jan. 1, when Senate Bill 1322, authored by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, became law.The bill ensures that children who are sold for sex receive the same protections and support provided to all victims of child abuse. It decriminalized victims of a crime, a milestone moment in the battle to ensure rights and legal protections for victims of child sex trafficking. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that Assemblyman Travis Allen has chosen to use his public platform to attack this important bill by distorting the facts and spouting outright falsehoods.

Backpage’s Sex Ads Are Gone. Child Trafficking? Hardly. | New York Times | March 11, 2017

OAKLAND, Calif. — Since she was 14, Tiffany says, she has been sold for sex, offered via hundreds of advertisements on, a website that grew rich on classified ads for services like escorts, body rubs and exotic dancers. Far from being a marketplace for consensual exchanges, Backpage, the authorities said, often used teasers like “Amber Alert” and “Lolita” to signal that children were for sale. In the midst of a Senate investigation, a federal grand jury inquiry in Arizona, two federal lawsuits and criminal charges in California accusing Backpage’s operators of pimping children, the website abruptly bowed to pressure in January and replaced its sex ads with the word “Censored” in red. Even so, Tiffany — a street name — did not stop using the site, she said. Instead, her ads moved to Backpage’s dating section. “New in town,” read a recent one, using words that have become code for selling sex. “Looking for someone to hang out with.” Other recent dating ads listed one female as “100% young” and suggested that “oh daddy can i be your candy.” In the fight against child sex trafficking, shutting down an epicenter like Backpage was a major victory, but one against a relentless foe that quickly unfurled new tentacles. The demise of Backpage’s adult ads undermined the trade, but it also illustrated how difficult it is to stamp out the practice of selling children for sex. 

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.