CSAC Human Services Budget Priorities
March 18, 2021
The Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees on Health and Human Services have both finished their initial round of hearings on human services budget issues. Due to the limited availability of hearing rooms because of pandemic-related public health guidelines, both subcommittees completed their hearings on an accelerated timeline compared to prior years. The Subcommittees are essentially keeping all items open at this point and will revisit them and take votes around the time of the May Revision. CSAC has engaged on numerous human services budget items throughout this process and three of the key budget issues are highlighted below.
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Collective Bargaining
CSAC is sponsoring an IHSS collective bargaining budget proposal along with the California Association of Public Authorities, the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), the Urban Counties of California, the Rural County Representatives of California, and the two IHSS provider unions – UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 and SEIU California. CSAC is also opposing an IHSS fiscal penalty proposal that is sponsored by UDW/AFSCME Local 3930. At the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services hearing on Wednesday, March 17, CSAC was featured on a panel to talk about IHSS collective bargaining and these budget proposals.
The goal of the coalition budget proposal that CSAC is sponsoring is to maintain the existing IHSS collective bargaining funding mechanisms that have been successful in leading to an increased number of local agreements to increase wages for IHSS providers. On January 1, 2022, two changes are set to occur that will make it more difficult to reach agreements. The historic state/county sharing ratio will flip so that counties would be responsible for 65 percent of the nonfederal share, instead of 35 percent, and the tool for participation above the cap would no longer be available. The budget proposal would preserve the existing funding mechanisms by maintaining the current sharing ratio and extending the use of the tool for participation above the cap so that further progress on IHSS collective bargaining can be achieved.
CSAC is strongly opposed to the proposal that would enact a penalty on counties that fail to reach a collective bargaining agreement. There has been significant and sustained progress on collective bargaining with 46 counties increasing wages since 2017. It is the IHSS funding mechanisms that have been the driver of the increased number of agreements, not any sort of threat of an IHSS fiscal penalty. The proposal ignores the progress that has been made on IHSS collective bargaining and is inconsistent with previous actions. The way to encourage and support future agreements is to adopt the coalition budget proposal to provide a positive fiscal incentive rather than a punitive approach.
Child Welfare Investments
CSAC is supporting two budget proposals sponsored by CWDA that will help further support implementation of important state and federal child welfare reforms and improve outcomes for children and youth. The first request is for $80 million for county workload for the Resource Family Approval process as part of the Continuum of Care Reform. Counties have been fronting these costs and state funding, as required by Proposition 30, is needed to ensure that counties can continue this vital CCR work and meet other child welfare mandates. The second proposal is for $100 million ongoing to establish local services and supports to prevent children and youth from entering foster care. The federal Family First Prevention Services Act enacted in 2018 created an opportunity for a federal match for investments in evidence-based prevention services. The services to families, children, and youth that would be possible with this investment include behavioral health services, substance abuse, parenting skills, and tangible supports.
Adult Protective Services Expansion
The Master Plan for Aging presents important opportunities to make significant progress on aging issues. There are several key opportunities for investment this year. One critical initiative would expand and enhance the Adult Protective Services program with a $100 million ongoing investment. CSAC has joined this coalition effort, which is led by CWDA and Justice in Aging. The funding would allow APS to provide long-term case management and serve vulnerable adults aged 60-65. The proposal would also expand and make permanent the Home Safe program, which prevents homelessness among victims of elder abuse and neglect. Providing these resources will help counties meet the growing population of older adults and growing needs for those who are victims of abuse and neglect.