Report: Two-Thirds of CA Children Born to Low-Income Families

One bright spot in a new report: 97 percent of California children have health insurance. Photo Credit: Nesstor4u/morguefile

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Almost two-thirds of babies in the Golden State are born to low-income families, according to a new report, which makes them less likely to have access to high-quality education and health care.

The nonprofit group Children Now just released its 2018 California Children’s Report Card, and said the state’s future depends on all kids reaching their full potential. Children Now president Ted Lempert said the state still struggles with poverty, but the long-term trend is looking up.

“All our grades stayed the same or went up from two years ago,” Lempert said. “So the bad news is the grades are low, the outcomes aren’t there. The good news is, we are making some improvement.”

The state got its highest grade, an A, for the levels of health insurance – 97 percent of California children are insured, including undocumented kids. One of the lowest grades, a D-plus, came in prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Lempert said he’s optimistic, however, that recent reforms meant to streamline the process by which a young person is removed from an abusive situation will improve outcomes going forward.

The report also gave California a D-minus for access to quality child care. Lempert said that’s because day care can cost more than college.

“On average, full-time child care in a center is over $16,000,” he said. “And very few eligible families are getting the subsidy to pay for that.”

The study found only 14 percent of low-income infants and toddlers are enrolled in child care. Lempert said if the state offered more child-care subsidies, more parents could return to the workforce, which would put a big dent in poverty levels.