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State Budget Adopted: New Investments in Early Childhood, Child Welfare, Housing, Homelessness, Healthcare and Health Access, and Justice Reinvestments

Publication date: 
Monday, June 24, 2019

The California State Legislature passed a $214.8 billion budget that makes “one-time” investments in key priority areas, such as homelessness, ongoing commitments to health access and early childhood, and contributions to “rainy day” funds that protect the state from a predicted economic downturn. Key highlights from the budget include:

  • Early Childhood: More than 8,000 vouchers for child care and more than 3,000 new child care slots.
  • Health: Expanded health care coverage through Medi-Cal for undocumented adults, age 18 to 25, inclusive. 
  • Homelessness: Over $1 billion in investments, including grants to local government for homeless emergency aid, expanded Whole Care Pilots, and student rapid rehousing services at University of California and California State University Systems.
  • Poverty: Expansion of the state Earned Income Tax Credit to cover 1 million more households (for a total of 3 million households) by expanding income eligibility from $24,950 to $30,000 and will provide an additional $1,000 refund for families with children under 6.


Budget Highlights

Child Welfare

Foster Parent Recruitment, Retention and Support (FPRRS)

$21.6 million to continue to retain, recruit, and support foster parents and relative caregivers. In Los Angeles County, philanthropy has complemented FPPRS dollars by nearly $400,000. Philanthropic dollars work with FPRRS funding to better support recruitment of resource families. For example, the County’s Fostering Home Events have attracted hundreds of people interested in becoming resource families.

Additionally, the County and philanthropy have been able to leverage FPRRS funds through the Foster Together Network (FTN), a collective impact group is focused on addressing recruitment and retention of resources parents. Launched in 2017 by SCG members’ The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and First 5 LA, FTN’s partners include the County’s Department of Mental Health, Department of Children and Families, the child welfare deputies of the Board of Supervisors, foundations, and nonprofits. The group is working on faith-based partnerships and has supported recruitment events, data and research, and Foster Family Agency (FFAs) engagement using FPRRS to leverage philanthropic investments.

Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children (Bridge program)

$10 million annually to expand the Bridge Program and help more foster families and parenting foster youth access childcare. This builds the $31 million in ongoing investment secured last year by advocates, including Southern California Grantmakers, in the 2018-19. Conceived in Los Angeles, the Bridge Program started as a pilot program with support from SCG members the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the W.M Keck Foundation, and First 5 LA and in partnership with Los Angeles County and the Child Care Resource Center. 

The Family Urgent Response System (FURS) 

$15 million in 2019-2020 and $30 million ongoing to establish FURS, a 24/7 statewide hotline and county mobile response system. Co-sponsored by Children Now, the County Welfare Directors Association, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association, and a coalition of child welfare and mental health stakeholders, this response system will help ensure foster youth and caregivers can access trauma-informed supports during critical moments. 

Transitional Housing Placement Plus Program (THP-Plus)

Provides $8 million in on-going support to expand the to reduce homelessness for former foster youth, with TBL and possible suspension on December 31, 2021 if revenues are lacking, with the funds working through the Department of Housing and Community Development. 

Bringing Families Home (BFH)

Approves $25 million in one-time support to continue and expand the program for child-welfare involved families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, with TBL with revisions to the statute governing BFH. 

Office of Foster Care Ombudsperson Foster Child Complaint Investigation

Approves funding for additional staff for two-years to address an increased caseload backlog associated with the investigation of complaints about child welfare and foster care. 

Other Investments for Children and Youth
  • Screening for Developmental Delays and Trauma: $105 million for developmental and trauma screenings and $50 million for provider training to deliver trauma screenings.
  • Home Visiting: Makes $136 million in investments in home visiting, of which $90.3 million to support the CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative in the Department of Social Services. The new initiative will serve 18,500 CalWORKS families in 44 counties. The Department of Public Health will get $45.9 million to expand existing programs in 23 counties funded by the federal Maternal, Infant and (MIECHV) program. 


Early Childhood Education

The budget makes advances in early childhood education, but stops short of requests from advocates for $1 billion to increase affordable access to childcare. Investments include: 


Provides $300 million for the Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant program, prioritizing schools converting part-day to full-day kindergarten programs. The balance of grant funds can support implementation of full-day kindergarten. 

Childcare Vouchers

Provides $80.5 million in ongoing Proposition 64 funding for 8,162 alternative payment child care vouchers. Provides $50 million in one-time General Fund for 3,086 General Child Care slots. 

Early Learning and Care Workforce Development Grants Program

Provides $195 million to expand trainings and support activities to a broad range of providers and specifies stipends and professional development is aligned with the Quality Counts California professional development system. 

Early Childhood Policy Council

Allocates $2.2 million for three years to establish the Council to continue and build on the work of the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education. The Council will include a parent advisory committee and a workforce advisory committee in order to advise the Governor, Legislature and Superintendent on working toward the recommendations outlined in the Blue Ribbon Commission report and the Early Care and Education Master Plan. 

Reporting System

Provides $10 million in one-time General Fund for the California Department of Education to implement a reporting system for state-funded early childhood education programs. 


Healthcare and Health Access

The adopted budget expands healthcare and health access to vulnerable communities.


The budget provides full-scope Medi-Cal, the state’s implementation of the federal Medicaid program, to undocumented adults, age 18 to 25. A proposal to cover all adults, regardless of immigration status, failed. 

Additionally, the budget restores Medi-Cal “optional” benefits, which optical, dental, and other services. These benefits are called optional as they are not required by the federal government. The state removed these “optional” benefits in 2009 at the height of the recession. The California Optometric Association used national data to estimate that 2 million Medi-Cal recipients’ ages 21 to 64 need glasses or lenses. However, the Legislature also included a provision that could suspend these benefits, totaling $40.5 million, on December 31, 2021 if state revenues decline.

Black Infant Health (BIH)

Recognizing that black infant mortality is significantly higher, the Legislature approved an additional $7.5 million to expand the Black Infant Health (BIH) program, reflecting May Revise, which includes an additional $12 million in DHCS reimbursements for Medi-Cal eligible activities in the BIH and the California Perinatal Equity Initiative. 

Lowering Health Premiums

The Legislature adopted an individual mandate to carry health insurance after Congress removed the individual mandate. Enforcement fines collected from the mandate will be used to lower the cost of premiums in Covered California, subsiding the cost of health insurance purchased in the exchange. 



The budget makes several investments related to addressing homeless in the state, including:

Emergency Aid

$650 million to local government for homeless emergency aid.

Whole Person Care Pilots

$120 million to support Whole Person Care Pilot programs which coordinate health, behavioral health, and social services in a patient-centered manner with the goals of improved beneficiary health and wellbeing.

Student Housing and Food Security

$52.9 million for student rapid rehousing and food security services for University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges. Assistance includes rapid rehousing for students experiencing homelessness, emergency grants for rent on- and off-campus, and support food security support.



Recognizing that the lack of affordable housing directly relates to persons falling into homeless, the adopted budget has $1.75 billion across various programs that seek to create incentives for private development of housing. The table below summarizes these investments.

Amount Purpose
$500 million Incentives for localities refocused to Infill Infrastructure Grant Program, which provides gap funding for infrastructure that supports higher-density affordable and mixed-income housing in locations designated as infill. Potential use with Opportunity Zones.
$500 million Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to support affordable housing development
$500 million Home loan program for California Housing Finance Authority for low and moderate income persons. 
$250 million Technical assistance to cities and localities to ramp up zoning and permitting processes. May Revision adds school districts and county offices of education for workforce housing.









Justice Reinvestments

In January, the Governor proposed moving the Division of Juvenile Justice from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the Department of Health and Human Services Agency. The Legislature approved this proposal, establishing a committee within the Child Welfare Council to provide recommendations on juvenile justice policies that will improve youth outcomes and reduce recidivism.

To support this transition, the budget provides $1.2 million for key staff to plan the change and to launch a new independent training institute that will train all staff on best practices. Furthermore, the budget provides $1.4 million to create a partnership between the Division of Juvenile Justice and the California Conservation Corps to develop and implement an apprenticeship program for young people involved with the justice system. 

Other justice investments include:

  • $5.5 million a package of programs aimed at improving literacy rates of incarcerated individuals, including diagnostic remedial reading programs, literacy coaches, computer-based learning, English as a second language courses, literacy mentor programs, and teacher mentor programs. 
  • $5 million to the Youth Reinvestment Grant. 
  • $10 million for tribal youth diversion programs. 
  • $5 million General Fund for a restorative justice pilot in San Joaquin County. 


Local Capital and Initiatives Investments

The Legislature also included one-time investments to counties and cities for capital improvements for parks, cultural facilities, and conservation efforts as well local initiatives. These grants include:

  • Camps Destroyed by Fires: $21 million for capital outlay to rebuild camps destroyed in Woolsey Fires: Wilshire Blvd Temple Camps (Camp Hess Kramer and Gindling Hilltop Camp) and the Shalom Institute Camp and Conference Center
  • Destination Crenshaw: $10 million for the 1.3-mile open-air museum in the City of Los Angeles. The project will include he open-air museum anchored by two large monuments and featuring more than 100 rotating and permanent art installations on sidewalks, business facades and public structures tackling themes like community resiliency and Afro-futurism in South L.A.
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: $5 million for the first phase of an expansion project, which will reorient the museum's entrance into Exposition Park and an additional $4 million for operations and capital outlay.
  • Discovery Science Center of Orange County: $10 million for purchase of nearby property to create a parking lot.
  • Columbia Memorial Space Center (City of Downey): $5 million for a second building.
  • California African American Museum (Los Angeles): one-time $4 million for deferred maintenance General Fund and $500,000 ongoing annually for general operating budget.
  • Lower Los Angeles River: $3 million for planning and capital.
  • Compton Creek Watershed: $3 million for planning.
  • Parks and recreation for local cities:
    • Approves $200,000 for the City of Maywood Parks. 
    • Approves $700,000 for the City of Lakewood Parks. 
    • Approves $500,000 for the City of Los Angeles to create a conceptual plan for the Glassell Park Bowtie Parcel, which is adjacent to the LA River, including a dedicated project manager position at State Parks to coordinate the planning process. 
    • Approves $200,000 for the City of South Gate Park. 
    • Approves $500,000 for the City of Paramount Park. 
    • Approves $370,000 for the City of Pico Rivera. 


For questions about the adopted budget, please contact Seyron Foo, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, at (213) 246-2367 or [email protected]

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