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Elimination of CA Welfare Program Expected To Impact One Million Kids

May 17, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Schwarzenegger says California's cash crisis has left him no choice but to make tough cuts. The governor's revised budget calls for wiping out the state's welfare program in order to save California $1.6 billion.

Kristen Golden-Testa, director of the California Health Program of the Children's Partnership, says the state's youngest citizens will be hit the hardest, since two-thirds of the enrollees in CalWORKS are children. Even though the governor spared the Healthy Families program, which helps provide health insurance for children in low-income families, she says the elimination of CalWORKS would still affect 1 million children.

"The Medi-Cal/Medicaid kids are still at risk, as are many of the billions of dollars in federal match that we get, because the Medicaid kids are subject to being cut from coverage."

Deena Lahn, policy director of the Children's Defense Fund, says the governor and legislature have another choice. She points to closing corporate tax loopholes and suggests the state take a hard look at past tax-credit programs and eliminate those that are under-performing.

"We're still giving out billions of dollars in corporate tax loopholes. And the fact that the governor will not even consider looking at revenues when we're about to turn a lot of children out into the street is outrageous."

According to the California Department of Education, the number of homeless school children has increased by more than 50 percent in the past two years.

If the governor's revised plan is enacted, California would become the only state in the nation without a welfare-to-work program. The state's deficit has grown to more than $19 billion.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA