California’s Healthy Families program provides state sponsored low-cost insurance for children teens and pregnant mothers, filling a vital gap in insurance coverage for families that are low income but do not qualify for no-cost Medi-Cal coverage. The CalWORKS program provides temporary financial assistance and employment focused services to families with children who are at the poverty level. Both of these social welfare programs, and dozens more like them, make up the vital safety net for the most vulnerable Californians and have been especially crucial for families caught in the recession of the past two years. Both programs could be eliminated outright in the Governor’s May budget revision, as the state tries once more to close a budget gap of at least $20 billion. Where will the most needy Californians turn when the social safety net is pulled out from under them?
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California
Bill Taylor, director of intergovernmental relations at L.A. County Department of Public Social Services; oversees L.A. County's CalWORKs Division