End Child Poverty California Movement Federal Priorities to Strengthen Families - Sign On Form
We have been asked to submit the End Child Poverty California movement's highest priorities for the next federal stimulus package. Sign-ons from as many movement partners and collaborators as possible is critical. We will also be organizing video meetings with members of the California federal legislative delegation, and would like you to be involved. Stay tuned.
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ECPCA Federal Priorities to Strengthen Families - COVID-19 Response
ECPCA Priorities to Strengthen Families
April 9, 2020

The following priorities are focused specifically on children and families living in poverty. As a coalition, we also support recommendations submitted by partner and allied organizations.

BASIC LIVING EXPENSES

• Further Expand the Child Tax Credit (“CTC”) While the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (“TCJA”) included an important expansion of the CTC, the expansion has had an uneven impact on families with different income levels. Under the TCJA, the non-refundable CTC was doubled to $2,000 per child, while the refundable CTC was raised from $1,000 to a maximum of only $1,400 per child. Given that the credit phases in only after the family earns enough ($2,500) to qualify for any refundable CTC, the expansion under the TCJA creates significant inequalities. Consequently, the following proposals provide basic stability for low - and very - low income families with children. We propose three key changes to the federal CTC program and that these changes be applied retroactively to 2019:

o Make the CTC fully refundable for all filers, with no minimum income requirement and no phase in. This would extend eligibility for the full CTC to the one-third of families who earn too little to receive the full CTC.
o Broaden eligibility to include children age 17 (the credit is currently available for children up to age 16).
o Increase the CTC by $1,000 for children age 6 to 17, and by $1,600 for children age 0 to 5. Consider phase-out of the additional credits starting at $30,000 as needed to reduce costs.
• Provide Unemployment Insurance to Farmworkers in ALL States.
TANF and SNAP

These proposals would expand federal benefits and support to states for these programs during the pandemic period. The enhanced federal support is crucial, as states facing major revenue declines and budget deficits will otherwise need to consider major cuts in these safety net programs. To ensure that the state’s existing safety net programs are adequately resourced and that states have flexibility to best meet the needs of its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, we make the following recommendations for federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”):
• Temporarily allow state TANF programs to not comply with the Federal Work Participation Rate. This will facilitate compliance with state and federal public health guidance on social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, and other requirements associated with maintaining public health and safety during the pandemic. Also temporarily suspend the federal time limit on benefit receipt to allow families to receive emergency help during the emergency without affecting future eligibility.

• Temporarily increase the federal TANF block grant by 20 percent for states that do not curtail cash benefits or reduce eligibility.

• Provide a 15 percent SNAP benefit increase with automatic extensions of the increase during the recession.

• Remove eligibility restrictions for SNAP during the pandemic by easing administrative rules; including suspending student eligibility rules; providing presumptive eligibility for foster youth exiting the foster care system and benefits to non-citizens, or, at a minimum, removing the 5-year waiting period currently in place for lawfully permanent resident adults to access SNAP.

• Continue the Emergency Allotment (EA) added to SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards bringing the total amount of households’ benefits to the maximum monthly benefit allowed for the duration of the recession, and provide a flat EA for households already receiving the previously authorized maximum benefit.

HEALTHCARE and MEDICAID

• Provide Immediate Funding for Community Health Clinics (CHC):

o Ensure that 8% of the new $100B funding be awarded to CHCs. Across the nation, 8% of all persons rely on community health centers for their care. The numbers are even greater in California, where our health centers serve 7.2 million patients annually - almost 17% of Californians turn to CHCs for their care.
o This estimate is also aligned with financial modeling that projects $7.6 billion is needed immediately.

• Disaggregate COVID-19 Data by Race and Ethnicity. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the African American, Latinx, API and Native American communities, it is important to collect real time racial data on the impact of the crisis on these communities so that federal responses can respond immediately.

• Expand Emergency Medicaid to cover those who are not eligible for regular Medicaid but who are in need of assistance including but not limited to Dreamers, TPS-holders, and mixed status families; and confirm that testing and treatment for COVID-19 and related conditions are considered treatment for an emergency condition under 42 U.S.C. 1396b(v).

• Temporarily Increase Disproportionate Share Hospital (“DSH”) allotments by 2.5 percent for the duration of the public health emergency. Cancel the Medicaid DSH cuts for fiscal year 2020 and reduce or eliminate the DSH cuts scheduled for fiscal year 2021.

• Expand the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (“FMAP”) by 10 percent across the board.

CHILD CARE
• Provide immediate childcare funding for essential workers, including healthcare and healthcare staff, social services workers, first responders and those in the food supply chain i.e. farmworkers, grocery clerks, food delivery personnel; waive family fees for all subsidized childcare programs and increase subsidized childcare for families earning less than 250% FPL.

• Pay providers to cover ongoing and COVID-19 related operating costs while they are closed for public health reasons, or open but with reduced enrollment to serve children of essential workers.

CHILD WELFARE
• Increase Child Welfare Agency Title IV-B Funding: $1 billion in increased funding with no match requirement through Title IV-B-1 is necessary to provide the resources that child protection agencies and states require during this period. COVID-19 is placing unprecedented challenges on state, local, and tribal child welfare systems. Family support, family strengthening, and the importance of a permanency connection have never been more critical. Child welfare agencies must have the ability during the COVID-19 crisis to engage directly with families and to allow children who can safely remain in their homes to thrive in that setting.

• Provide for an Increase in All Foster Care Payments across all programs/placements including placements that provide specialty mental health services.
o Eliminate the Federal Eligibility Component for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis
o Alternatively, temporarily raise the Federal Reimbursement rate to 80% as baseline funding to States.

• Increase Transition Aged Youth Funding and Flexibility in Extended Foster Care (EFC): Increase Title IV-E Chafee funds by $500 million and increase flexibility in the fund to allow for coverage of basic housing-related needs and other COVID-19 related needs; suspend school and work requirements as a condition of participation in EFC; Permit young adults to remain in EFC for 12 months upon reaching the maximum eligible age and continue Title IV-E funding to States for this purpose; and Prohibit states from discharging youth age 18 and older who are in EFC, unless the youth specifically requests discharge to a safe setting.

EDUCATION
• Provide COVID-19 Stimulus Federal Funding for Pre-K through Community College to address increased challenges created by the crisis targeted for low income and special populations such as the following: Title I programs for disadvantaged students, Special Education, Head Start, After School Programs and the E-Rate program.


WORKFORCE
• Increase funding for Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act, with a targeted investment in the Youth Program and flexibility for Workforce Boards to serve low income youth inclusive of foster, justice-involved, homeless youth. These populations, who are often youth of color, are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 recession.

HOUSING
• Community Development Block Grant funding increase: This funding will allow state and local governments to have a flexible resource to address the needs of their communities when mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.

• Provide $5 billion in emergency housing assistance to help communities minimize homelessness and identify space (like hotels and motels) for isolation and quarantine, help with outreach to make sure people facing homelessness have safe space.
Dolores Huerta - Sacramento End Child Poverty CA Bus Tour
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