As lawmakers discuss whether or not to make additional cuts to California's welfare program, known as CalWORKS, a new report indicates the program has helped a number of low income families. The goal of the program is to help low income parents support themselves and their children as they build the skills they need to find work as quickly as possible.
The report by the Independent Public Policy Institute of California calls CalWORKS an important part of California's social safety net. It claims CalWORKS has provided essential support for families in need.
But, as California's deficit ballooned to $16 billion, Governor Jerry Brown's budget is proposing serious cuts to the CalWORKS program. The governor wants to cut $880 million from the program. That would be accomplished by reducing the amount of time people can receive aid.
Currently, adults can get help from CalWORKS for up to four years if they meet certain requirements. Under the new budget, that would be reduced to two years.
One member of the group that issued the report on CalWORKS says most people are able to find work in under two years, but some need the extra time.
"Many families on CalWORKS have been on aid for two years or less, and there are families who have been on for more than six years. But, that represents only about one in five families," said Caroline Danielson, PPIC. "I think there is a suggestion in our research that welfare to work services are effective and that cutting them back would be a mistake, not in the interest of the families who come to use CalWORKS."
CalWORKS has offices in all 58 counties in the state. The support it provides to recipients varies based on the needs of that person and his or her family.
Supporters of CalWORKS say the program has already faced enough cuts.
It's had funding cut every year since 2008.