Newsroom

Overview Sarah Jimenez

Newsroom

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

Press release Cathy Senderling-McDonald Megan Gamble 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.

Article California HealthlineAna B. Ibarra Megan Gamble

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 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 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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Frank J. Mecca Megan Gamble

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.

Press release Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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.

Announcement Megan Gamble

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.

Letter Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble Diana Boyer Megan Gamble

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 Cathy Senderling-McDonald Megan Gamble Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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.

Announcement Cathy Senderling-McDonald Cathy Senderling

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 Megan Gamble

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 Cathy Senderling-McDonald Chronicle of Social Change Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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

By ROBERT MENICOCCI

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 Megan Gamble

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 Frank J. Mecca Sacramento Bee Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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 Megan Gamble

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.

Post Cathy Senderling

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.

Post Cathy Senderling

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.

Post Cathy Senderling

CWDA Statement on Passage of American Health Care Act

SACRAMENTO (May 4, 2017) - Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California, today issued the following statement on the passage of the American Health Care Act by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Through its actions today, the House majority demonstrated its lack of respect for basic principles of societal decency. The bill’s harsh cuts target nearly everyone, but will hit the poorest, sickest, and most vulnerable Americans hardest of all.

Press release Sarah Jimenez

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.

Article Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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 Sarah Jimenez

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.

Article Sarah Jimenez

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 Sarah Jimenez

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 Sarah Jimenez

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 Sarah Jimenez

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 Sarah Jimenez

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.

Article Sarah Jimenez

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 Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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:

Article Sarah Jimenez

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 Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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.

Article Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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 Sarah Jimenez

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 Cathy Senderling-McDonald Sarah Jimenez

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.

Article Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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 Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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 Frank J. Mecca Sarah Jimenez

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: