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

Press release

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:

“The American Recovery Plan signed by President Biden today will accelerate our recovery from COVID-19 and mark a significant turning point in our fight against child poverty.  We are particularly encouraged that the child tax credit of up to $3600 per child will be life-changing for families struggling most now to make the rent, buy food, and keep the lights on.  By some estimates the child tax credit could cut California’s rate of child poverty in half; we hope to see this landmark policy become a long-term safety net we can build upon to prevent the traumatic, lifetime effects of poverty on the nation’s children.

“President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and other key lawmakers fought to make state and local support a centerpiece of the recovery plan, recognizing the crucial role our systems play in having Californians return to school, work, and health. California’s county human services agencies will deploy these resources to ensure Californians in underserved and lower-income communities – especially the communities of color who struggled most during this pandemic – are able to take part in the state’s recovery.

“We encourage state leaders to direct the $26 billion in state funding to shore up services and supports to our lowest income residents and boost equity by filling in gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

“For example, elders and children in underserved communities have been left out of critical opportunities to connect to services and learning during the pandemic due to a lack of broadband access.  A statewide investment to expand broadband coverage is one way to build infrastructure that will help now, but also take us in a more equitable way into the future. Housing remains a key concern for people and families served by our county human services agencies. California should dedicate rescue funds to create housing options for the most vulnerable and expand CalWORKs, child welfare and adult protection programs that serve unhoused Californians and prevent homelessness. Without action, the expiration of eviction protections could result in a number of even worse outcomes, including job loss, health care repercussions and, for our elders, premature death. 

“CWDA urges California leaders to take this tremendous opportunity to make investments that will pay off down the line, not just in a one-time way.”