CSAC Human Services Budget Priorities
Today, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services wrapped up their initial round of hearings with a hearing dedicated to stakeholder budget requests. On the Assembly side, the initial human services budget hearings are focused on larger themes, such as anti-poverty and safety net programs, and will extend into April. Both subcommittees are essentially keeping all items open at this point and will revisit them and take votes around the time of the May Revision. This year, CSAC is co-sponsoring three human services budget proposals. All three are related to advocating for the state to provide counties with the sufficient amount of funding needed to administer safety net programs and provide essential services to vulnerable children, families, and individuals.
CalFresh County Administration
In partnership with the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), CSAC is co-sponsoring a budget request for $60 million for CalFresh county administration. The amount of funding provided to counties to administer the CalFresh program is based on an outdated methodology that has resulted in inadequate staffing levels. The state has agreed to work with counties to develop a new budgeting methodology, but that work is currently delayed by the pandemic. Until that work is complete, providing this additional $60 million annually will help counties respond to increased caseload and expanded eligibility to ensure that individuals and families can quickly gain access to these vital nutrition assistance benefits.
Resource Family Approval Funding
CSAC is co-sponsoring an additional budget request with CWDA and SEIU. This proposal asks for $100 million for county workload associated with the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process. The RFA process was a new requirement under the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) that helps relatives and non-related individuals become approved foster caregivers and aligns with the goals of CCR to have more foster children be cared for in home-based settings with loving family caregivers. Under Proposition 30, the state is required to fund the net costs to each county for new state child welfare requirements enacted after 2011. Counties have been fronting these costs for years and disagree with the state’s interpretation that the RFA process was a requirement before 2011. This funding is needed so that counties can continue this vital CCR work and meet other child welfare mandates.
Local Child Support Agency Funding
For the third co-sponsored proposal, CSAC is joining the Child Support Directors Association (CSDA), the Urban Counties of California (UCC), the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and SEIU in requesting $29.9 million for Local Child Support Agencies (LCSAs). The state in recent years worked with counties to develop a new funding methodology for LCSAs. The Governor’s budget proposes to increase funding based on this methodology with $20.1 million and CSAC is appreciative and supportive of that investment. The stakeholder request includes an additional $14.2 million to fully fund the new methodology and $15.7 million to help counties effectively implement a new federal child support rule. This increased investment will help ensure that children and families are supported and have financial resources to help reduce poverty.