CSAC Bulletin Article

Assembly Budget Committee Looks to Available CalWORKs Realignment Funds to Repeal Maximum Family Grant Rule

March 31, 2016

Calling it a day “that has been a long time coming,” Assembly Subcommittee Chair Tony Thurmond presided over a 3-1 vote to repeal the state’s Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule and boost CalWORKs grants by 4 percent.

The action by the Assembly budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Health and Human Services was cheered by more than 100 advocacy groups, but still must pass muster with the full Assembly Budget Committee, the Senate, and ultimately Governor Brown.

Funding for the repeal of the MFG and CalWORKs grant increases would come from a combination of “leftover” funds in the Child Poverty and Family Supplemental Support Account, created in 2013 to capture AB 85 redirections of county Health realignment funding. Those redirected funds are then used to fund state CalWORKs grant increases. The legislature subsequently enacted a 5 percent CalWORKs grant increase – funded through the Child Poverty subaccount – but there have been “leftover” funds in the past two years. The Subcommittee’s proposal uses the remainder of the funds in the subaccount combined with a state General Fund backstop to make up the rest of the costs. The chart below was prepared by Subcommittee staff using estimates provided by the Legislative Analyst’s Office:

(in millions)







4% CalWORKs grant increases

(effective 1/1/17)







Repeal MFG

(effective 1/1/17)







Total Cost








Available Child Poverty Account Funds







Remaining General Fund Costs







The MFG was implemented in 1995 and prohibits a CalWORKs family from receiving additional aid upon having a baby while participating in the program unless the mother can prove that she was sterilized, using Norplant, or on the Depo Provera shot. Senator Holly Mitchell has championed the repeal of the MFG with a series of bills over the past six years, arguing that the state is harming children and pushing families deeper into poverty every time the rule is invoked. Because of the costs of the repeal, the issue has also been included in the budget process.The chart assumes increased revenues, a continuing positive economy, and robust AB 85 health realignment redirections, but with state General Fund making up any difference between the estimates and actual revenue, there should be no direct county costs under this proposal.

To read the Subcommittee’s MFG repeal and CalWORKs grant increase proposal, see pages 10-21 of the March 30 agenda.

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