While WIC is a key hunger-fighting tool, WIC families need plenty of other supports if they are to climb out of poverty caused by a deep recession and growing inequality. While the outlook for SNAP (CalFresh) is still gloomy, there are signs of other, more hopeful policy changes that could truly benefit the families you talk to every day.
CWA supports, and urges you to support, these poverty-fighting proposals – they’ll help WIC families pay the rent, survive and thrive!
Covered California: Affordable health insurance, including expanded eligibility for Medi-Cal, is now available through our state exchange for millions of formerly ineligible households. To qualify for the January 2014 start date, urge everyone to apply by December 23, though applications will be taken through March 31, 2014. Go to www.coveredca.com or call (800) 300-1506.
Assembly Budget Proposal Talks Poverty! Speaker John Perez unveiled a FY 2014-15 budget “Blueprint” that, for the first time in recent memory, actually prioritizes child poverty reduction, calling on the Legislature “to address the intolerable situation where one-fourth of California children live in poverty, with life-long consequences.” Assembly Democrats want to use some of the projected surplus to restore damaging past cuts to health and welfare programs including CalWORKS, child care, Black Infant Health, and Medi-Cal.
Higher California minimum wage: The Governor signed a new law in September raising California’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $9 by July 2014 and $10 by January 2016. Coupled with the existing federal Earned Income Tax Credit, this pay boost will make a concrete difference for working poor families in the near future.
Paid Family Leave: Today, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a paid family leave bill, including maternity/paternity leave, called the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. Shouldn’t the USA join the rest of the civilized world regarding parental leave? Victory on this bold proposal will take years of hard work to achieve, but the benefits to breastfeeding and family life will be worth the effort!
Early Childhood Education: Child care advocates are working hard to push Congress to make good on a top – but yet unfunded - Obama priority: universal preschool. WIC champion Rep. George Miller (D-Concord) is one of the co-authors of a new preschool bill that would implement this long-held dream. A steep price tag will make this a long-haul, but let’s get it done!