California has the highest rate of child poverty in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. One in five children in California live in poverty, and 9.1%—over 800,000 children—live in deep poverty.
AB1520, signed into law in 2017, created the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to provide the Administration and Legislature with recommendations on comprehensive strategies to reduce child poverty, especially deep poverty, in California. The task force is scheduled to issue its final report by November 1, 2018.
The Department of Social Services convened the task force in December 2017. The task force is multi-disciplinary and is made up of government and community leaders, researchers, and subject matter experts. Subcommittees focus on specific topic areas for review and recommendations: coordinated services, early childhood programs, housing & homelessness, social safety net, special populations (foster care and juvenile justice), and workforce training & support. So far, the task force has issued memoranda on four areas of focus: coordinated services, early childhood services, juvenile justice, and the social safety net. The memoranda summarize existing programs and approaches, research findings on program results, and identify considerations for formulating recommendations.
The last meetings of the task force are scheduled for August 23 and September 26, 2018. This is a final opportunity to communicate the important role that child support can play in reducing poverty. While the child support program is not traditionally considered a social safety net program, child support payments provide more support each month than SNAP, WIC or the Earned Income Tax Credit. Nationally, child support provides 41% of family income to poor families who receive support payments, and lifts one million people out of poverty each year. It is critical that the task force considers the impact that child support can have on poverty reduction in formulating recommendations for the final report.
Additional information, including memoranda and meeting materials, can be found at the California Department of Social Services website: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/CDSS-Programs/Poverty-Task-Force.
- United States Department of Commerce. U.S. Census Bureau. (2017 September). The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2016. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/demo/p60-261.pdf.
- State of California, Department of Finance. Population projections. (2017 March). Retrieved from http://www.dof.ca.gov/Forecasting/Demographics/Projections/documents/P_PressRelease.pdf.
- Child & Family Research Partnership. (2015 May) “The Hidden Social Safety Net”. Retrieved from https://childandfamilyresearch.utexas.edu/news/infographic-child-support-hidden-social-safety-net.
- Office of Child Support Enforcement. (2016 December) “The Child Support Program is a Good Investment.” Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/programs/css/sbtn_csp_is_a_good_investment.pdf.