CalWORKs in the Governor’s Proposed 2014-15 Budget: Assistance for Low-Income Families Is Left Far Below the Poverty Line

The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program is a key part of the state’s system of supports for low-income families with children. CalWORKs provides modest cash assistance as well as an array of services that prepare parents to find and keep jobs.

A new CBP analysis — the third in a series of briefs on key components of Governor Brown’s proposed 2014-15 budget — looks at the CalWORKs Program. This brief shows that despite the state’s improving revenue outlook, the Governor’s proposal would leave CalWORKs cash grants near the diminished level to which they were cut during the Great Recession. Under the Governor’s proposed budget, the maximum grant would remain well below the “deep poverty” cutoff, which is 50 percent of the federal poverty line.

The brief highlights the serious toll that poverty takes on children, families, and society and offers specific policy recommendations for boosting investments in low-income children and their families.

For additional analysis on the Governor’s 2014-15 budget proposal, read the CBP’s prior briefs on K-12 education and child care and preschool, as well as the initial analysis we published in the days following the release of the Governor’s proposal in early January.

Finally, don’t miss out on our annual briefing on the Governor’s proposed budget, coming up on Wednesday, February 19, from 10:30 to noon. An Incomplete Vision: Putting the Governor’s Proposed 2014-15 Budget in Context will examine the Governor’s budget proposal in depth, and there are two ways to join the briefing: in person at the CSAC Conference Center in Sacramento or online via webinarGet additional details and register.

— Steven Bliss