Current law provides for the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, under which each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families and individuals. Current law prohibits the granting of CalWORKs aid to a child who has attained 18 years of age unless the child is less than 19 years of age, is attending high school or vocational training on a full-time basis, and is reasonably expected to complete the educational or training program before his or her 19th birthday. This bill would extend this exception to make a person who is less than 22 years of age eligible for CalWORKs assistance if he or she is attending high school or vocational training on a full-time basis and is reasonably expected to complete the educational or training program before his or her 22nd birthday.
AAP Positional Letter
March 14, 2018
The Honorable Blanca E. Rubio
Chair, Assembly Human Services Committee
Legislative Office Building, 1020 N Street, Room 124
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 2269 (Lackey) CalWORKs: eligibility
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Rubio,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, supports AB 2269 (Lackey), which would extend the CalWORKs program benefits for persons receiving aid until he or she reaches the age of 20, instead of the current termination at age 18, if he or she is attending school and making satisfactory progress as defined by the school.
Children who do not graduate high school are estimated to be at least eight times more likely to be incarcerated compared to their peers who graduate. They are also more likely to suffer mental health issues, live in poverty, and require government assistance. Nationwide, dropouts from the high school graduating class of 2011 are estimated to cost the government an additional 154 billion dollars over the course of their lifetimes.
Many of the factors associated with student dropout are beyond the student’s control and include low parental education, work or family responsibility, and moving to a new school in the ninth grade.2 In 2012, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts was 12% compared to the national rate of 8.1%. They are more than twice as likely as college graduates to live in poverty (30.8% vs 13.5%).3
AB 2269 (Lackey) increases the CalWORKS program benefits coverage up to age 20 for students who are making valid efforts to satisfy their GED credentials, thus giving students additional time to graduate high school.
Pediatricians across the state urge you to vote AYE on AB 2269 (Lackey). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Assembly Human Services Committee Members
Office of Honorable Tom Lackey, California State Assembly (Author)
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne; Lauren C. Nakano, MD, Policy Analyst