California has the highest rate of child poverty in the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure that accounts for the high cost of living in our state. That translates to one in five children or 1.9 million California children affected. Almost one-third of African American children and one-third of Latino children in California live in poverty.

The simple fact is that although California funds many services today, they are entirely insufficient to significantly reduce poverty.


GRACE set out to identify proven approaches to reduce systemic or generational poverty in California and also provide immediate relief to families in need. To accomplish this, GRACE visited and consulted with leading programs across the country with proven track records of reducing poverty. GRACE also convened leading providers, advocates and experts in two major conferences, work groups and follow-up meetings. Through this process, key approaches were identified for in-depth research and analysis.

In 2015, GRACE instigated an eight-month study by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, one of three federally funded national poverty centers. This resulted in the first comprehensive, evidence-based proposal to substantially reduce poverty in California.

To review Stanford’s research, click here.


Based on the solutions identified through GRACE’s process of analysis, conferences and work groups and Stanford’s research and recommendations, GRACE identified programs and services that, if implemented comprehensively, would significantly reduce child poverty in California.

Impacting poverty of this magnitude requires an unprecedented and comprehensive investment in proven strategies. Research indicates that expanding and investing in the following programs would reduce poverty in California by 50 percent:

  • Pre-Natal and Home Visiting Services
  • Childcare
  • Early Childhood Education
  • After School and Summer School Programs
  • California Promise Zones designated in areas of concentrated poverty
  • Job Training
  • Expanded State Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC)
  • Increase in CalWORKS grants


  • Reduce child and family poverty by 50%
  • Reduce child abuse
  • Approximately 170,000 new jobs will be created


  • Over 2:1 return on investment
  • Estimated savings of $13 million annually from reductions in incarceration, delinquency, public assistance, social services and healthcare costs


Assembly Bill 1520, authored by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke and sponsored by GRACE with funding from GRACE End Child Poverty Institute, created an expert task force made up of leaders and stakeholders from inside and outside government that will develop a comprehensive, data-driven plan that lays the groundwork to eliminate deep child poverty and reduce child poverty overall. For more information click here.

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