Skip to main content

Out-of-School Challenges

**Bohn, S., & Danielson, C. (2017). Just the facts: Child poverty in California. Public Policy Institute of California. Available at

This publication draws on statistics from the California Poverty Measure to provide an overview of childhood poverty rates in California. Although child poverty rates are much higher than they were before the recession, the authors state that they would likely be higher still without social safety net programs like food stamps and the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Child poverty rates vary by county; Santa Barbara County has the highest rate with nearly 31 percent of children living below the poverty line, while El Dorado County has the lowest rate, with 13 percent of children living below the poverty line. African American and Latino children experience poverty at higher rates than other populations.

McConville, S. (2017). Health care. In California’s Future. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at

Johnson, H., & Mejia, M. C. (2017). Housing. In California’s Future. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at

Danielson, C., & Bohn, S. (2017). Social safety net. In California’s Future. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at

California’s Future is a collection of briefs on a variety of key statewide policy challenges. The reading materials in this tab include three briefs—health care, housing, and the social safety net:

Health care. Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fewer California adults are uninsured every year, resulting in nearly a 9 percentage point decline in uninsured adults since 2013. Medi-Cal now covers more than one-third of all Californians and half or close to half of all residents in several large counties. Still, more than 3 million Californians were uninsured in 2015, and some areas of the state have better access to high quality care than others. Federal funding for ACA is uncertain, and any changes will likely impact California's health care system significantly.

Housing. California home values (both the state median and in the 15 most populous counties) have increased since the 2008 recession, but progress is deeply uneven. Despite tremendous growth in some areas and new construction permits returning to their pre-recession levels, the state continues to face decreased homeownership rates, issues with homelessness, and exponential increases in rent. The authors recommend short- and long-term policy supports to make housing more equitable and accessible.

Social safety net. This brief focuses on the state’s public assistance programs, such as cash aid and employment assistance (CalWORKs), food assistance (CalFresh), K-12 free and reduced price meals, and public housing. The state’s 2016-17 budget includes increased funding for children (e.g., child care and preschool) and elders (e.g., Supplemental Security Income). At the time this brief was written, it was unclear how future federal funding would affect our public assistance programs; it plays a large role in all major state programs. Looking forward, the state will need to continue working to keep up with cost of living and inflation.

An additional California’s Future brief on California’s economy can be found in the California Economy & Education Budget page.

**EdTrust West. (2017). Undocumented students in California: What you should know. Available at 11/ETW_CA-Undocumented-Students-What-You-Need-to-Know-FINAL-April-2017.pdf

This infographic sheet provides a demographic overview of undocumented immigrants in the country and state. For instance, one in thirteen Californians is undocumented. It also provides a glossary of common terms, a review of national and state policies affecting undocumented immigrants and their families, and a list of both challenges and safeguards for undocumented children.

Freedberg, L. (2017, April 23). 1 in 8 children in California schools have an undocumented parent [Web log]. EdSource. Available at

This article highlights the challenges educators face in supporting undocumented students and mixed-status families. In response to the Trump administration’s promises to aggressively advance anti-immigration policies, educators report seeing the effects of heightened anxiety on their students. Some advocates have argued that schools have a crucial role to play in helping undocumented immigrants protect themselves and their families. In an effort to reassure their students, some California school districts have declared themselves “safe havens,” while other organizations are developing resource packets and trainings to help educators better defend their communities.

**This document is considered a priority reading.