California has the highest child poverty rate in the nation. More than 1 in 5 California children are poor. The burden of poverty falls disproportionately on children of color, with Black and Latino children more likely to live in poverty than White children. Growing up poor has lifetime negative consequences, decreasing the likelihood of graduating from high school and increasing the likelihood of becoming a poor adult, suffering from poor health, and becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
California can – and must – end child poverty now. Every child deserves a life free from poverty, hunger, homelessness and unmet basic needs. Ending child poverty is key to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential and protecting children from the lifelong consequences of poverty.
California can end child poverty by investing more in programs and strategies that work. We advocate for policies at the local, state and federal levels that reduce child poverty, including:
- Eliminating deep child poverty by increasing CalWORKs basic needs benefits
- Putting more money in the pockets of working poor families by strengthening refundable tax credits like the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit
- Strengthening the social safety net to ensure children’s basic and developmental needs are met, including investing in nutrition programs, affordable housing, and quality child care.
- Creating policies that break the cycle of poverty by ensuring children and families have access to affordable health care, quality early learning, high-performing schools, and families and neighborhoods free from violence.