California News Service
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown’s new $131.7 billion budget is earning praise from children’s advocates because of the investments it makes in supporting health and combating poverty.
The budget includes $26.7 million for a voluntary pilot program to send community health workers to visit struggling families. Kelly Hardy, senior managing director of health policy at Children Now, said this program will benefit low income kids and their parents.
“It really helps young families reach self-sufficiency by supporting healthy development of the kids and connecting parents to services like CalFresh and employment services,” Hardy said.
She said she’s also glad to see that the state is committed to keeping kids enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP – at least in the short term – even if Congress fails to fund the federal government’s share.
Today is the 101st day since the authorization for CHIP expired. Congress has simply extended funding on a short-term basis while they work on a deal.
Hardy said some groups are particularly vulnerable, waiting for Congress to act.
“Coverage for 32,000 pregnant women and kids is at risk if CHIP funding is not extended soon,” she said. “So it’s just more reason for the federal government to take care of what should have been a slam-dunk re-authorization. ”
California enjoys a $19 billion surplus this year. Hardy said she’d like to see a larger investment in early-childhood care.