More than half of all California children participate in at least one health or nutrition program designed to help low-income residents, according to a newly released PPIC report. At a briefing in Sacramento on Friday, PPIC research fellow Laurel Beck described the report, Enrollment in Health and Nutrition Safety Programs among California’s Children, that she co-wrote with PPIC senior fellow Caroline Danielson and research associate Shannon McConville.
Beck said that increased resources to administer assistance programs had raised enrollment in the programs—Medi-Cal, CalFresh, free and reduced-price school lunches, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). As of 2012, nearly all low-income children up to age four were enrolled in at least one of these programs. But the researchers found significant variation across programs and counties. They concluded that better coordination could further the state’s goal of full enrollment of eligible children.