- Spencer Hagaman
- Communications Director
Sacramento, CA— Assemblymembers Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) introduced legislation to automatically exempt single parents receiving CalWORKs welfare benefits from “welfare-to-work” requirements for the first three years of their child’s life. Welfare-to-work programs, such as looking for a job or studying for professional licensure exams, require significant investments of time, imposing severe limitations on the time CalWORKs single parents can spend caring for their children. Extensive research has shown that a lack of adequate care and parental contact during the critical early years of childhood is strongly correlated with worse health, educational, and other outcomes later in life. Under existing law, single parents only receive a six-to-twelve-month exemption, which they must formally request, from welfare-to-work requirements after giving birth to, fostering, or adopting a child.
“A single parent deserves the same rights as anyone else to care for and spend time with their new child,” said Assemblymember Robert Rivas. “As the son of a single mother myself, I strongly believe that we should be creating policies that promote better child-care, not take parents away from their children during the most formative years. My mom worked three jobs and went to night school to secure a brighter future for my brother and I. Luckily we lived with our grandparents who provided the support we needed while our mom was away – many single mothers don’t have the support they need.”
“As numerous studies have demonstrated, infancy is a crucial time for brain development,” said Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio. “Thus, this bill comes in acknowledgement of the important role we know early bonding time can have on a child’s long-term health. I look forward to partnering with my colleague to ensure we are empowering families with the ability to choose what is best for their own circumstance and for the needs of their family.”
While the legislation will automatically exempt single new parents from welfare-to-work requirements, single new parents can still voluntarily take part in welfare-to-work activities, if they so choose. Tentatively slated to be named AB 1728, the legislation is sponsored by the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations and is modelled off previous legislation by Assemblymember Rubio, AB 2326 of 2018.