Call Senator de Leon in Support of AB 271 - Women's Foundation California

ab271-deleon-email-imageCall-in number: 916-651-4022

Over the last four weeks, 1,412 people from all over California signed our card in support of the Assembly Bill 271 and its fearless author, Holly Mitchell. What an impressive turnout!

Unfortunately, we can’t celebrate just yet.

This important bill is now on so-called suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee. If it remains on suspense come Friday, August 30, some 143,300 California children will be abandoned to near-certain and debilitating poverty.

But if it passes, this groundbreaking bill may find itself on the Governor’s desk. And we may find ourselves just one signature away from witnessing history.

Assembly Bill 271 aims to repeal the Maximum Family Grant rule (MFG), a harmful law that cruelly denies assistance to some newborns as a way of punishing their mothers for getting pregnant while on CalWORKs (California’s welfare-to-work program). Our WPI Reproductive Justice team co-sponsored this bill along with ACCESS, East Bay Community Law Center and Western Center on Law and Poverty.

For almost 20 years now, this bill has denied infants a small cash grant of $122 per month, money that most low-income mothers desperately need to pay for diapers, clothes, soaps and lotions—basic necessities all infants require.

For almost 20 years now, this bill has pushed hundreds of thousands of children and their families into desperate and despairing poverty, forcing children into foster care and homelessness while negatively impacting their future cognitive, educational and workforce outcomes.

And although abundant research has proven the devastating impacts of MFG on poor children, we continue to keep this law on the books.

Why? Because we mistakenly believe that it’s in our fiscal interest to keep social safety net costs down.

But are we cutting off our nose to spite our face?

See, to save money today by denying assistance to defenseless infants, we’re basically committing ourselves to exponentially higher costs five, ten and twenty years from now. The cost of foster care, homelessness, healthcare and remedial and special education is much, much higher than $122 per month we are not giving to eligible children on CalWORKs due to MFG.

For example, one of the reasons children end up in foster care is because their families can’t afford to take care of them. Yet, each MFG child that ends up in the foster care system costs the state $90,000 per year. By lifting the MFG rule, we could remove or prevent some 10,000 MFG children from going into foster care and, as a result, save the state, federal and local community a whopping $900 million per year.

The Senate Appropriations Committee estimates that repealing the MFG rule would cost the state $220 million per year. But, that’s nothing compared to the cost of placing MFG children into foster care.

We must repeal this misguided and harmful rule and we need your help. Please call Senator de León, Chair of Senate Appropriations, and tell him that you support AB 271. Senator de León has an impressive record of supporting anti-poverty measures in our state and we hope that he will stay true to his values and support this bill.

Please call his office TODAY! Each call truly makes a difference and it will take no longer than a minute: 916-651-4022

Feel free to use this script:

Hi, my name is [Your Name] and I am calling to urge the Senator to support AB 271 and to allow it to come to a vote before the entire Senate.  AB 271 repeals the MFG rule, which both makes very poor children poorer and inappropriately dictates women’s reproductive choices. Not passing AB 271 will mean much higher future costs to the state related to medical care, foster care, homelessness and poor educational outcomes.”

Help us spread the word!

Mention AB 271 and calling Senator de León on Facebook. On Twitter, use these hashtags and handles: #RepealMFG, #AB271, #TalkPoverty, #StandWithWomen, @KDLeon, @JerryBrownGov, @ProTemSteinberg

Tell us why you support #RepealMFG on Tumbler.

Learn why organizations around the state support this policy:

Alliance for Justice

Berkeley Law Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice

Greenlining Institute

Moms Rising

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