Find CWDA’s statements, press releases, op-eds and articles, plus other news of interest that the association is tracking.

Budget Priority

2022 State Budget Updates
Updates Issued In January 2022

Governor Newsom released his proposed budget this morning, for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The following budget update summarizes the proposals and issues included in the Governor’s Budget impacting the health and human services area. CWDA staff will continue to keep you updated in the coming weeks as we learn more details.

Press release


Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) of California released the following statement from Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald today:


Job Opportunities with CWDA

Human Services Policy Analyst/Senior Human Services Policy Analyst

CWDA is seeking a Human Services Policy Analyst. The Human Services Policy Analyst is responsible for a range of policy analysis, implementation, and advocacy activities, with an emphasis on the policy areas of child welfare and adult services.  

Please select the document link to see full position description and application information.

Position open until filled.

Press release

Congratulates Retiring Director and Lifetime Public Servant Will Lightbourne

Sacramento, CA – County Welfare Directors Association of California Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald released the following statement today on Governor Gavin Newsom’s appointments to key leadership positions within the Health and Human Services Agency:

“Will Lightbourne’s history of selfless public service at the county and state level is one that few can match. County human services agencies are proud to claim him as one of our own and will miss his steady leadership at the state level.

Press release

Budget Agreement Makes “Historic Investments” in Most Vulnerable Californians’ Recovery and Well-Being
If sustained long-term, budget decisions position California for meaningful progress against poverty, homelessness, and longstanding harms of systemic racism and inequity

Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) lauded the 2021-22 budget agreement the legislature voted on today, highlighting historic investments in the safety net programs county human services departments administer on behalf of the state. 

Budget Priority

CWDA Letters on Key Issues in 2021-22 Budget Discussions

The County Welfare Directors Association respectfully urges your support for funding included in the Joint Legislative State Budget Plans for implementation of two important CalFresh policy changes. 
Simplifications to Improve Program Access 

Budget Priority

State Budget Update #3 Legislature Reaches 2021-22 Budget Deal

Last night the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees each voted to approve a 2021-22 budget agreement reached earlier this week between the two houses. Because the Senate and Assembly are already in agreement and have adopted identical budget plans, there will be no Budget Conference Committee this year. The focus now turns to negotiations with the Governor to reach a three-party budget deal that can be voted on by the full Senate and Assembly by the required June 15th deadline for the Legislature to adopt a budget. 

Budget Priority

Human Services Programs – CWDA May Revision Memo #3

The May Revision includes a $68.3 million reduction, about 11 percent, to the Eligibility component of the Single Allocation in 2021-22. This is the funding that counties use to process applications for CalWORKs, redetermine eligibility, and provide case maintenance. This reduction is due both to revised caseload assumptions in the May Revision, and a more technical aspect of the budgeting methodology that shifts eligibility costs between CalWORKs and CalFresh.

Budget Priority

Medi-Cal and Health Programs – CWDA May Revision Memo #2

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) appreciates the collaboration and hard work of the Legislature and Administration throughout the budget process this year. Overall, the Administration’s proposed May Revision contains important investments in California’s low-income and vulnerable children and families.

Press release


The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) today announced three key staffing changes, filling out a leadership team led by Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald.

Budget Priority

State Budget Update #2 May Revision 2021-22 Budget

Governor Newsom released his May Revision budget proposal this morning, for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The following budget update summarizes the proposals and issues included in the May Revision impacting the health and human services area based on what we know so far. As of this writing, the detailed budget backup information for the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) was not yet available. As a result, we do not know the specifics of many proposals, nor do we have precise caseload and county administration allocation information for the CDSS programs.

Budget Priority

Investment Opportunities and Funding Needs in Health and Human Services Programs – CWDA May Revision Memo # 1

CWDA requests $1.5 million in 2021-22, $150 million in 2022-23, and $178 million in 2023-24 and ongoing to increase the Applicant Earned Income Disregard (EID) from $90 to $600 effective June 2022, commensurate with changes approved to the Recipient EID in the 2019-20 Budget Act. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, redeterminations of eligibility for the CalWORKs program were suspended; when they resumed in late 2020, thousands of families were removed from the program because they failed to complete paperwork requirements.

Budget Priority

County Human Services Programs Have Essential Role in California’s Comeback
Governor’s Budget Invests in Services to Help Hardest-Hit Californians Recover After Devastation of Pandemic, Recession and Longstanding Inequity

Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) released the following statement from Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald after Governor Newsom presented his revised FY 2021-22 budget proposal:

“Governor Newsom’s budget proposal meets this moment – as we emerge from a devastating pandemic and recession, amid a growing recognition that racism and inequity must be addressed meaningfully in our state and nationwide – with a tremendous set of investments aimed at improving the well-being of vulnerable Californians and families.

Budget Priority

CWDA Comments on Various Health and Human Services Budget Proposals

As part of the annual budget process, the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) typically comments or takes positions on budget proposals from the Administration or advocates that are of policy interest to our members or that have an effect on county operations. Because of the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the annual state budget hearing process, we have been unable to provide our feedback through public testimony as we usually would. Therefore, we are providing this feedback on several budget proposals in the adults policy area in writing here. 

Budget Priority

Coalition Letter on Family First Prevention Services Act

The organizations below respectfully request your support for an augmentation of $50 million General Fund (GF) in FY 2021-22, and $100 million on-going, to build locally driven services and supports for children, youth and families at risk of entering foster care. The goal of this effort is to keep families safely together and prevent the need for entries into the foster care system whenever possible.

Press release

County Leaders Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis

Organizations representing California’s county behavioral health, human services, public health, and public hospital systems today released a powerful, unified statement acknowledging the “historic and ongoing harms of systemic racism” and committing to address those harms through client and community-centered action and accountability.  They join local governments around California and the country, including the boards of supervisors in at least nine California counties, in declaring racism a public health crisis. 

Press release

CWDA Praises American Rescue Plan’s Landmark Investment in Reducing Child Poverty, Urges California to Direct State Allocation to Most Underserved Families

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) of California released the following statement from Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald today after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan:

Federal Update

CWDA Celebrates End of Cruel Public Charge Expansion

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) of California released the following statement from Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald today after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to rule on Trump-administration changes to the “public charge” rule that could be used to deny individuals entry to the United States and withhold the granting of lawful permanent residence (i.e., “green cards”) to beneficiaries of certain public programs. 

Budget Priority

Pandemic Relief For CalWORKs Families Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) respectfully requests your consideration of exempting pandemic or statewide public health emergency related unemployment or other relief benefits from consideration during CalWORKs eligibility determinations for applicants and recipients. This proposal would also allow for streamlining of the CalWORKs application process by allowing for electronic verification of identification. 

Budget Priority

CWDA, NASW, and SEIU-CA on Child Welfare Training System – Augment Governor’s Proposal Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), Service Employees Union International (SEIU)-CA and the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter appreciate the Governor’s budget proposal to invest $5.9 million General Fund (GF) into the Child Welfare Services (CWS) Training System to address critical underfunding in this program that prepares social workers in serving our state’s most vulnerable population of children and youth.

Budget Priority

CWDA and CAPA on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS): Electronic Forms Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) and the California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA) respectfully request the Legislature approve $5 million General Fund (GF) and accompanying trailer bill language to support implementation of electronic forms in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. This would enable older adults and individuals with disabilities — including applicants for services, existing IHSS consumers, and their providers of care – to more expeditiously and safely access these vital services in their own homes.

Budget Priority

CWDA on Cash Assistance for CalWORKs Families in Family Reunification Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) respectfully requests $9.0 million General Fund (GF) on an ongoing basis to provide CalWORKs cash assistance grants to eligible parents whose children have been temporarily removed from the home and placed into foster care, for a period of up to 180 days, while the families are engaging in reunification efforts with the county child welfare agency. This funding will enhance the ability of these parents to successfully reunify with their children.

Federal Update

CWDA Applauds President Biden’s Move to Reverse Cruel Public Charge Rule

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) of California released the following statement from Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald today after President Biden signed an executive order that takes the first steps toward reversing a Trump administration rule that can result in immigrants who receive aid from certain public programs being denied entry to the country and/or being barred from obtaining lawful permanent resident status (i.e., a green card):

Budget Priority

CWDA on Full Funding for the Resource Family Approval (RFA) Workload in the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) True-Up Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) requests your full funding for the workload associated with performing the state mandated Resource Family Approval (RFA) process as part of the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) True-up. The current estimate of these costs is $80 million General Fund (GF) annually, although we are in the process of gathering specific cost data for the 2018-19 fiscal year, the year of CCR costs that are being reconciled now.

Budget Priority

Child Welfare Services: Family First Prevention Services Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) and Children Now jointly request an augmentation of $50 million General Fund (GF) in FY 2021-22, and $100 million on-going, to build locally driven services and supports for children, youth and families at risk of entering foster care. The goal of this effort is to keep families safely together and prevent the need for entries into the foster care system whenever possible.

Budget Priority

Flexibilities for CDSS Administered Housing Programs Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) respectfully requests your consideration of several statutory changes to housing programs administered by the California Department of Social Services and county human services departments, including the Housing Support Program (HSP) and the Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP).

Budget Priority

Global Telephonic Signatures Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) respectfully requests $5 million General Fund (GF) ($4 million one-time and $1 million ongoing) to support implementation of a global telephonic signature solution for human services programs. 

Budget Priority

Reduce Senior Homelessness: Expand and Enhance Adult Protective Services (Early Action Request) Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) and Justice in Aging respectfully request the Legislature take early action due to the pandemic to augment and expand the Adult Protective Services CAPS) Program to meet the growing needs of older adults who are victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. We respectfully request $25 million GF in the current year and $100 million ongoing for the APS and Home Safe Program. This population is growing fast, as are cases with increasingly complex needs, including those who are homeless or cognitively impaired.

Budget Priority

Flexible Funding for County Human Services Department- Administered Housing Programs Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) respectfully requests your consideration as part of the early action on the budget a $100 million one-time General Fund augmentation for county human services departments to create a flexible funding pool to fill service delivery gaps in the housing programs that the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and county departments currently administer. The housing programs specifically serving those linked to the state’s social safety net programs are critical to the success of those programs. 

Press release

CWDA Selects Cathy Senderling-McDonald as Next Executive Director
Current deputy brings more than 20 years of human services policy experience to the job

Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) today announced the selection of Cathy Senderling-McDonald to lead the organization as Executive Director effective January 1, 2021.   

She will step into the new role after 20 years at CWDA and having served as Deputy Executive Director since 2010, where she has been at the forefront of legislative, budget and policy changes that improve human services programs and the delivery of those services to vulnerable Californians.


CWDA New Executive Director Press Release 12-1-2020 (Full Release)

Photo of Cathy Senderling-McDonald


Longtime CWDA Executive Director to Retire at Year’s End
Frank Mecca has led organization since 1991; numerous achievements in fighting poverty and improving Californians' lives

Sacramento, CA – Executive Director Frank J. Mecca announced today that he will retire at the end of this year following a nearly thirty-year career with the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA).  In the role of Executive Director since 1991, Mecca built CWDA into a powerhouse policy and budget advocacy organization for California’s county human services agencies and the people they serve. 

CWDA Executive Director to Retire at Year's End (Full Press Release)

Picture of Frank Mecca


CWDA Statement on Final 2020-21 State Budget

“Governor Newsom and the Legislature have come together to avoid the deepest cuts to the vital safety net programs that Californians are counting on as they face the continued, dual threats of COVID-19 and the deep recession caused by the economic shutdown,” said CWDA Executive Director Frank Mecca.

Full statement:

CWDA Statement on 2020-21 Budget Agreement


CWDA Statement on Governor’s May Revise Proposal
Proposal Maintains Most Essential Assistance for Vulnerable Families; Federal Support Essential for Child Welfare Services

CWDA Executive Director Frank Mecca released a statement on the May Revise budget proposal released today by Governor Newsom.

Read the statement here:

CWDA Frank Mecca Statement on May Revise 5-14-2020


CWDA Statement on Senate Budget Plan Released 5-12-20
Executive Director Frank Mecca Praises Approach, CWDA Ready to Assist Legislature, Governor

The California Senate today released a blueprint for approaching the state budget in light of significant revenue declines forecast by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.


Beware of Fake Letter Circulating
Letter contains false claims regarding public assistance applicants and beneficiaries and COVID-19

The California Department of Social Services has made CWDA and county human services agencies aware of false information being circulated on social mediate related to those receiving public benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter states that individuals receiving services are required to be tested for the virus (this is false) or lose their benefits (also false). The letter also states that individuals testing positive through this process will have their children taken into the foster care system (this is false). The letter links to a fake website.


Children’s Advocates Coalition Pushes for Federal Funding and Flexibility for COVID-19 Response
CWDA Among Several Signers to New Federal Advocacy Letter

On Monday, April 27, CWDA joined with several other prominent advocacy organizations urging Congress to increase funding and flexibility for states and counties to serve vulnerable foster children and transition-age youth and support their caregivers and families. 

Key recommendations of the letter aim to:

  • Provide Emergency Financial Relief
  • Ensure Stability of Foster Care Placements and Protect NMDs & Youth Transitioning from Care
  • Allow States and Counties Greater Flexibility

Further details:


CWDA Joins Call to Relax Student CalFresh Eligibility
Coalition asks Congress to waive onerous rules in light of COVID-19

CWDA joined more than 70 organizations today in asking Congress to pass legislation waiving onerous student eligibility rules for CalFresh (known as SNAP at the federal level). These rules severely curtail college students’ ability to participate in the program, especially at a time when nearly all students are participating in distance learning, unable to leave the house to work, and have had work-study slots canceled due to campus shutdowns.

Budget Priority

Information on COVID-19 Outbreak
Materials Released by CWDA and Trusted Partners

CWDA is developing a clearinghouse of information from trusted partners, including state and federal agencies, as well as materials produced by counties related to COVID-19. 

Please check back regularly as materials will be added as we receive them!



*** Beware of Fake Letter and Website Circulating Now ***


State-Issued Materials

California Department of Public Health: Essential Workers

CDPH Clarification on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers


Budget Priority

Increase CalWORKs Applicant Earned Income Disregard
Despite Inflation, Minimum Wages Increases, Inadequate $90 Disregard Has Not Been Updated Since 1998

As the Governor and Legislature continue to grapple with the state’s homelessness and housing issues, many policies have been implemented in order to encourage employment and give our poorest families a better opportunity to create self-sufficiency. Many working poor families already live on the cusp of needing social services and safety net resources.

Budget Priority

County Administration Cost Adjustment Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) respectfully requests your support for updating the funding levels for county administration of human services programs to reflect the appropriate state share of actual costs. Counties administer these programs on behalf of the state. Yet the proposed budget does not provide funding to cover the actual costs of counties for performing those duties in several key areas.

CWDA Cost Adjustment Memo to Assembly Budget Sub 1

CWDA Cost Adjustment Memo to Senate Budget Sub 3

Budget Priority

Expanded Subsidized Employment Budget Memo

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) opposes the proposal in the Governor’s Budget to shift funding from the CalWORKs Single Allocation to the Expanded Subsidized Employment (ESE) Program. Under the Administration’s proposal, $19.8 million associated with the base funding requirement (BFR) for ESE will be removed from the Single Allocation and provided as part of the ESE Program allocation.  This funding shift is effectively a cut to the Employment Services component of the Single Allocation.

Budget Priority

CWDA-SEIU Budget Memo re CalHEERS and Medi-Cal Eligibility
Joint memo calls for greater legislative oversight

It is critical for the Legislature to understand the shortcomings of CalHEERS and inordinate delays in developing functionalities that are considered to be a baseline for most eligibility systems.

Budget Priority

More CalFresh, Less Hunger Budget Request Materials
Policy, Practice Enhancements Will Increase Uptake and Reduce Churn

CWDA is sponsoring the More CalFresh, Less Hunger Act (AB 2413, Ting/Wiener), which will  help battle food insecurity across California. The significant policy and practice changes promoted by the Act will increase the food and economic security of an estimated 200,000 additional CalFresh households in California when fully realized, while helping the 2.17 million households already receiving benefits stay on the program instead of dropping off for purely administrative and paperwork-related reasons as happens too often today.

CWDA CalFresh Memo to Assembly Budget Sub 1

CWDA CalFresh Memo to Senate Budget Sub 3

Budget Priority

Adult Protective Services Budget Request Materials
Coalition Seeks $100m to Help Elders, Dependent Adults Facing Homelessness

The APS Program has a long and successful history of working with California’s most vulnerable older and dependent adults. APS workers understand their needs and the program is connected to other systems and partners familiar with serving this unique population. With the requested resources and strategies outlined in this proposal, the APS Program will be able to expand to meet the needs of the growing aging population, and to enhance case management to address the growth of both senior homelessness and those with cognitive impairments.

Press release

CWDA Statement on Governor’s State of the State Address
Counties share Governor Newsom's focus on urgent solutions to housing and homelessness crisis


February 19, 2020

Contact: Mike Roth, 916-444-7170


Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) released the following statement today from Executive Director Frank Mecca on Governor Newsom’s 2020 State of the State address:

Press release

CWDA Condemns Supreme Court Ruling on Public Charge
SCOTUS Allows Implementation Despite Active Lawsuits

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2020

Contact: Maya Polon, 818.288.6231


CWDA Statement on Supreme Court Public Charge Ruling

Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) released the following statement from Cathy Senderling-McDonald, Deputy Executive Director, condemning the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lifts a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump Administration from implementing changes to the Public Charge rules:

Budget Priority

2020-21 State Budget Updates
Updates Issued In January 2020

State Budget Update #2 – January 14, 2020

CWDA Budget Update #2


State Budget Update #1 - January 10, 2020.

CWDA Budget Update #1


Press release

CWDA Commends Regional Homelessness Council Recommendations
Executive Director Frank Mecca Sits on Expert Panel that Released Recommendations on January 13, 2020

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2020

Contact: Maya Polon, 916.444.7614


CWDA Joins Governor Newsom’s Council in Call for

Urgency, Prevention on Homelessness Emergency


Press release

CWDA Statement on Governor Newsom’s 2020-21 Budget Proposal
Homelessness Investments Recognize Urgency of Need Statewide

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2019

Contact: Maya Polon, 916.444.7614


CWDA Statement on Governor Newsom’s 2020-21 Budget Proposal

Sacramento, CA – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) released the following statement from Frank Mecca, Executive Director, upon the release of Governor Newsom’s budget proposal today:

Press release

CWDA Statement on ABAWD SNAP Rule
Trump Administration’s SNAP rule change for “able-bodied adults without dependents” will push those on the verge of losing housing into homelessness and will hurt local economies

Today, the Trump Administration dealt another blow to Americans struggling in poverty by publishing a rule to take away Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance, known as CalFresh in California, from those they consider “able-bodied adults without dependents” that are either unemployed or underemployed. CWDA strongly opposes this cruel and counterproductive rule, which won’t accomplish what it allegedly seeks, which is to motivate people to be gainfully employed.

Press release

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.


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.

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.


CWDA Submits Comments Regarding “Public Charge” Rulemaking Proposal

Last week, CWDA submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security in opposition to the proposed rule change that would broaden the list of benefits considered “negative factors” in a public charge assessment of immigrants when applying to change their immigration status. 

Article Chronicle of Social Change

Beyond Family First: Congress Should Boost Funding to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

By Daniel Heimpel

Last week, national TV news was filled with images of newly elected Members of Congress descending on Capitol Hill for their “freshman orientation.” My hope is that this change – and momentum on the heels of a major federal foster care law signed earlier this year – will create a new opportunity to get child welfare financing closer to what advocates, practitioners and lawmakers have long said they want, but have failed to deliver: True child maltreatment prevention.

Press release Diana Boyer

Author and Cosponsors of Assembly Bill 2043 Respond to Governor Brown’s Veto

SACRAMENTO – Last week, to our disappointment, Governor Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 2043 (Arambula), cosponsored by CWDA, Children Now, and the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA), which would have created California’s first-ever Family Urgent Response System (FURS) for foster youth and families.

Press release

CWDA Opposes Trump Administration’s Proposed Changes to “Public Charge”

SACRAMENTO – CWDA opposes the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the rules that govern the consideration of whether certain legal immigrants are to be considered a “public charge,” released by the Department of Homeland Security on September 22, 2018. This unnecessary and cruel proposal changes long-standing federal policy governing the entry and livelihoods of our nation’s immigrant population.

Article Sacramento Bee

Agencies must work together to place foster kids. This bill will help

By Assemblyman Ken Cooley

Children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect have experienced unimaginable trauma that will follow them throughout their lives. All these children need specialized care and services to help them heal.

But there is a small subset of California’s 60,000 foster children who require even greater attention and care, whose special needs and intense service requirements often don’t fit into an easy placement solution.

Article GV Wire

Upon Brown’s Signature, Help Is a Call Away for Foster Youth

 By Myles Barker

Foster youth and their caregivers may have a new way to seek support in tough times.

That new way is through Assembly Bill 2043.

“The children in California’s foster care system have experienced abuse, neglect and mental trauma, and Assembly Bill 2043 will give these children and their caregivers an immediate way to stabilize distressing situations that may arise.” — Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula

Article Eureka Times Standard

CalWORKs 2.0 In The News
Business Sense: Goal, plan, do

By Connie Lorenzo

Social Services, for whom I work, is engaging in a new process to further help folks we serve back to work. It isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but the results may be revelatory for folks who have not used the simple power of intention and goal setting.


CWDA Deputy Director Takes Leadership Role at National Association of Counties

CWDA is proud to announce that deputy executive director Cathy Senderling-McDonald was appointed by National Association of Counties (NACo) President Greg Cox of San Diego to be the 2018- 2019 Vice Chair of the Aging Subcommittee under the Human Services and Education Steering Committee of the organization.

Article CalMatters

California’s push to make people healthy — and save taxpayers money

By David Gorn

Diana Dooley may have led the largest agency in California’s government as secretary of health and human services for the past eight years, a job that led to her current post as Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief of staff — but she’s also a country gal from Hanford, in the Central Valley.

Article Chronicle of Social Change

Please Don’t Call This Foster Care

A number of news outlets have published articles in the past two weeks about the children and parents separated by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) as they cross our borders. Some of these articles have referred to the children handed over to contracted agencies and placed into homes as being “in foster care.” This is not the case, and the record must be set straight.

Press release

CWDA Statement on the California 2018-19 Budget Agreement

“CWDA is pleased with the overall 2018-19 budget picture, particularly the anti-poverty programs and measures that represent who we are as a state. This year’s budget tackles homelessness and begins to address the growing population of families experiencing the trauma of deep poverty – a phenomenon that is, quite simply, a stain on California’s reputation as the fifth-largest economy in the world.

Article Chronicle of Social Change

California Considers a “Bat-Signal” for Foster Youth in Distress

By Susan Abram

The woman used a thick extension cord on her foster children.

Welts rose. Bruises formed. Fear became the norm inside the Watts neighborhood home in Los Angeles where LaToya Cooper and six other children were sent to live.

But no one believed the then-fifth grader. Not Cooper’s teachers. Not the police.

Article San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Why state should fully fund housing program for victims of elder abuse
The Home Safe program would help abuse and neglect victims maintain a stable living environment


The California Legislature will decide the fate of the Home Safe program that could provide desperately needed housing for adults and seniors with disabilities.

Press release

San Diego, Fresno, Sonoma and Yuba Counties Win California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge, First Statewide Effort Focused on Helping Foster Youth Apply for College Financial Aid
Winners announced at the April 10 Foster Youth Education Summit

John Burton Advocates for Youth

SAN FRANCISCO, April 10 — More California foster youth who are seniors in high school are headed to college, thanks to the first coordinated statewide effort to help them submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receive financial aid for college.  As part of the inaugural California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge, led by John Burton Advocates for Youth, four county offices of education were named winners for their efforts and received checks at the Foster Youth Education Summit in Pomona on Tuesday, April 10.

Article Sacramento Bee

A good investment to keep California’s seniors from becoming homeless

By Frank Mecca

We are witnessing an awful reality that as California’s senior population booms, so does the number of elderly and disabled adults who are abused, neglected or exploited.

They often are forced into potentially life-threatening homelessness even after Adult Protective Services is alerted. Unfortunately, when APS was created two decades ago, it wasn’t designed, nor was it ever funded, to deal with complicated housing issues.

Article Chronicle of Social Change

California Approves Short-Term Fix For Foster Parents Stuck in the Approval Process

By Jeremy Loudenback, March 15, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a stop-gap measure on Tuesday that will provide emergency funding to caregivers who take in a foster child before completing the approval process.

Over the past year, the state’s new approval process for caregivers in the state has led to lengthy funding delays for foster parents and relative caregivers, now collectively known as resource families.

Article The Chronicle of Social Change

Three Strategies That Helped San Francisco Increase Foster Home Applications by 300 Percent

January 26, 2018

By Felicia Curcuru

Efforts like Continuum of Care Reform in California are part of the statewide goal to place more foster youth in family settings. However, many county child welfare agencies are struggling to meet these goals due to a shortage of available resource families, a group that includes both foster parents and kinship caregivers.


Contribute to County Employees Affected by the Wildfires
Many county human services agency employees lost homes as they served their neighbors

CWDA has created a YouCaring fundraising site to collect donations to assist county human services department employees who lost their homes in the recent wildfires.

At this time we know of employees in Napa and Sonoma Counties who lost their homes. We will add additional counties as we become aware of employees affected in other areas.

Please consider donating. All donations will be divided evenly among those we know of who lost their homes in the fire.


CWDA Statement on Proposed Federal 2018 Budget

The budget for programs in the Health and Human Services area contains significant proposed cuts and policy changes that will result in reduced benefits and eligibility for potentially millions of Californians, if enacted by Congress. CWDA Executive Director Frank Mecca issued the below statement regarding the proposal.

Press release

New Year Brings Major Change for Child Sex Trafficking Victims: No Longer Treated as Criminals
Senate Bill 1322 Requires Law Enforcement to Ensure Child Victims Receive Services, Not Arrest or Jail

SACRAMENTO – Child welfare agencies, children’s advocates and community providers are reminding their partners and the public that January 1 marks a major turning point in California’s efforts to help children who are victims of sex trafficking: These children will no longer be treated as criminals. Instead, the expectation of law enforcement agencies is to protect these children and ensure they receive appropriate, victim-centered services from child welfare agencies and community providers.


CWDA Executive Director to Serve as Vice Chair of Budget Center Board

CWDA Executive Director Frank Mecca will serve as vice chair of the California Budget & Policy Center in 2017. Frank has served on the Budget Center’s Board since 2013. The Budget Center Board elected its new leadership at its December meeting.

Press release

Governor Makes it Clear: Child Sex Trafficking Victims are Not Criminals
Senate Bill 1322 is Critical Step in Children’s Recovery and Healing

SACRAMENTO – Child welfare agencies, children’s attorneys and community providers are praising Governor Jerry Brown today for signing Senate Bill 1322, which sends a strong message to children who are victims of sex trafficking: You are not a criminal.


California Receives Federal Grant to Enhance Adult Protective Services

California is among 13 states receiving a grant for its Adult Protective Services (APS) system to address the abuse, neglect, and exploitations of older adults and people with disabilities.

Press release

Repeal of Maximum Family Grant Rule is Momentous for Families in Poverty
Historic Rule Change Benefits 130,000 Children

SACRAMENTO—The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) is thrilled at the news that repeal of the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule in the CalWORKs program is included in the 2016-17 budget agreement announced by Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Press release

Assembly Budget Includes Child Care Assistance for Foster Families
CWDA, The Alliance for Children's Rights Commend Action as Critical to Keeping Siblings Together & Improving Child Well-Being

Many of our youngest foster children are languishing in shelters because long waiting lists for state subsidized child care are frustrating county efforts to recruit and retain otherwise willing foster parents. On Tuesday, California’s Assembly voted to include $22 million in the forthcoming budget for a child care bridge proposal that would provide time-limited child care vouchers for the youngest of these children, ages 0 – 3. The request for funding was proposed by a broad coalition of child welfare and child care advocates, led by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

Press release

Assembly Budget Committee Makes Ending Child Poverty a Priority
Action Taken to End Maximum Family Grant (MFG) Rule, Myth-Driven Law that Plunges More Children into Poverty

SACRAMENTO—Today marked a critical step in ensuring children living at the deepest levels of poverty are no longer subject to a classist, racist, myth-driven law and are eligible for assistance to help them and their families build better lives.

Press release

CWDA Applauds Minimum Wage Agreement
Increasing Income and Well-Supported Assistance Programs Key Combination to Ending Poverty in California

SACRAMENTO - Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), released the following statement in response to the tentative agreement reached for increasing California’s minimum wage:

“Today’s agreement to boost the minimum wage over the coming years is an important recognition by California’s leaders that too many working families simply cannot build a decent life without more income each month.


Repeal MFG Makes Women’s Caucus Priority List

Continuing their push for a #StrongerCA and reminding their colleagues and the public that families and women must be the state’s priorities, the Democratic members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus unveiled their priorities on Thursday, February 11.

Press release

Senate Plan Prioritizes Housing and Keeping Families Together
CalWORKs Housing Support and Bringing Families Home Programs are Key Investments to End Homeless and Poverty

SACRAMENTO— Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), released the following statement in response to the bipartisan “No Place like Home” State Budget initiative led by Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and supported by a coalition of Senators:


Repeal MFG Named to Sacramento Bee’s Top 15 Political Stories of 2015

The shameful maximum family grant (MFG) policy that has exacerbated the hardship children and families in the CalWORKs program face each day and continued work to repeal it made The Sacramento Bee’s Top 15 political stories of 2015.

Press release

EITC Critical Start to Ending California’s Poverty Crisis
Strengthening CalWORKs, Dealing with Child & Family Homelessness Next Steps in Comprehensive Plan

Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) responds to Governor Brown’s revised 2015-16 state budget.


Housing is key to move Californians from welfare to work
By Frank Mecca and John Bauters, Special to The Bee

After suffering through unthinkable abuse for over a decade, Michelle gathered the strength to leave her husband and seek a better life for her three children. But what came next was a series of humbling experiences she never imagined. 

Press release

Fighting Poverty Imperative for Children, Families and Economy
CWDA Commends Governor for ACA Commitment, Urges Policies that Improve Lives of All Californians

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) commends Governor Brown for his continued commitment to the Affordable Care Act, reflected in his proposed 2015-16 State Budget, and the critical expansion of Medi-Cal that has brought health care coverage to millions of Californians.

Press release

Governor Brown Signs Legislation to Save Dollars, Smooth Medi-Cal Communication Under Affordable Care Act
County Social Services Agencies & Front-line Workers Teamed Up to Reduce Confusion

County Social Services Agencies and the front-line workers who help eligible Californians access health care benefits praised Governor Brown’s signature on SB 1341 (Mitchell), a bill that will save taxpayer dollars and reduce confusion in the Medi-Cal program.


State Takes First Steps to Help Child Sex Trafficking Victims
By Frank Mecca and Kate Walker, Special to The Bee

Nine children who were being repeatedly sold for sex and exploited by pimps were recovered last week in the Sacramento region, part of a nationwide FBI sting that recovered 168 children across the United States. Sacramento had the sixth highest number of recoveries out of the 54 FBI field offices involved. 

Press release

Poverty Epidemic Will Continue Dragging Down Recovery
Lack of Strategic Solutions to Help Children and Families Disappointing

Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), issued the following statement on Governor Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 May Revision:

Press release

Budget Misses Opportunities to End Poverty
Strategic Solutions Can Help Children and Families, Optimize State’s Economic Recovery

Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), issued the following statement on Governor Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 State Budget proposal: