As Storms and Budget Deficits Descend on California, the Safety Net Must be Protected

Press release

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

“Today’s budget shows the Governor’s commitment to maintaining safety net programs that help our most vulnerable Californians in their times of greatest need. Many of these programs are operated at the local level by the county human services programs CWDA represents, and we applaud his commitment to upholding the principles and values on which he has built his Administration.

“Californians are currently weathering massive storms and bracing for economic indicators that could continue to worsen, affecting both individuals’ bank accounts and the state’s budget, as well. During this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that state leaders work to not just preserve but also strengthen our social safety net. 

“Millions of Californians depend on services like CalWORKs, CalFresh and Medi-Cal to pay their rent, buy groceries, and take their children to the doctor. For Californians to access these essential programs without delay, counties must be funded to properly administer those programs accurately and without delaying needed support to our customers. Additionally, the state must continue and expand investments in our child welfare system and the In-Home Supportive Services program, both of which provide crucial support to the most vulnerable among us. 

“California must heed the lessons of the last recession, which taught us that putting cash in the pockets of struggling families is essential to blunt the effects of the economic downturn, particularly the life-long trauma associated with poverty. Given our state’s strong commitment to equity, the budget must respond to the fact that households headed by women and communities of color suffer most in an economic downturn because of the lasting impacts of racism and sexism.”

“And as Governor Newsom noted in his press conference today, California continues to deal with the effects of climate change, from fires to floods. CWDA will seek funding in the budget to help our members respond to these life-altering events. County human services agencies are often the first place people turn in an emergency. We need to ensure they are equipped to respond comprehensively and in a sustainable fashion. We look forward to working with the Administration and legislative leaders to make that happen.”