Press release

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

“The safety net programs California counties operate on the state’s behalf have been a lifeline for millions of Californians during this pandemic. We are glad to see this budget values these critical services and expands on the support of county-driven programs to strengthen California’s recovery.  In particular, we are thrilled to see the budget proposal includes all income-eligible Californians in Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status. The budget takes a step towards reducing hunger by expanding the state-funded California Food Assistance Program to those over 55 regardless of their status, as well. With these moves, Governor Newsom has heeded the call of CWDA and many other advocates to eliminate or reduce hurtful barriers that have long fueled hunger and health disparities. 

“Increases to both CalWORKs and SSP grants will help those who have struggled to keep up with soaring food, gas and utility prices.  We also appreciate the Administration’s focus on support for foster children transitioning into independence, including a former foster youth tax credit.  We will continue to seek the resources needed to meet the complex needs of foster children and youth, recruit and retain resource parents, and ensure our transition-age youth have the support they need to thrive.

“On top of the crises brought on by the pandemic, county human services agencies have been called upon to help Californians displaced by wildfires, extreme heat and other disasters.  With the onset of climate change, we expect disaster response to be a growing need and will propose additional investments to support counties’ crisis response and recovery activities.

“Finally, we applaud the proposed investments into workforce development, especially the components that seek to increase the number of social work degrees earned through the state’s universities. Our members have grown increasingly alarmed about reductions in social work degree programs, and look forward to supporting, and helping shape, these initiatives.

“Today’s budget proposal offers significant opportunities to improve the lives of vulnerable Californians. We are gratified that the Governor’s ‘California Blueprint’ budget proposal acknowledges counties’ foundational role in building a stronger state coming out of this pandemic. As always, the initial budget proposal is a starting point, and we will seek additional, targeted investments in the safety net that address a number of issues counties are grappling with, including a growing crisis in CalFresh administrative funding.

“We look forward to continued enhancement of services and supports for our children, adults and seniors, in strong partnership with the Administration and Legislature.”