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Low-Income Students and School Meal Programs in California

By Caroline Danielson

School nutrition programs help improve nutrition among vulnerable children. In so doing, they help build a better future for these children and the state. Now that California is implementing the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), there is additional reason to make sure all students who are eligible for free or low-cost meals enroll in these programs. Along with English Learners and foster youth, low-income students—in other words, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals—are targeted for additional funds under the LCFF. This renewed focus on enrollment could also prompt further consideration of participation in school nutrition programs.

This report looks at factors that might be linked to variations in student enrollment and participation in free or reduced-price meals. Not surprisingly, we find that districts with higher poverty rates identify higher levels of eligibility than wealthier districts. Low-income high school students appear to be enrolled at levels comparable to younger students, but students in elementary school districts are much more likely to participate in lunch programs than students in other types of districts. We also find that schools in districts with higher shares of foreign-born residents have modestly lower participation levels (but not identification of low-income students). Finally, we find evidence that schools with smaller enrollments are more successful than larger schools at identifying and serving low-income students.

One way to further the goal of full enrollment among low-income students is to cut the large share of low-income students who must submit applications for free or reduced-price meals. Achieving this objective is arguably an important part of a larger state effort to integrate social safety net programs and services.

Report

Enrollment in Health and Nutrition Safety Net Programs among California’s Children

By Caroline Danielson, Shannon McConville, Laurel Beck

This report examines statewide trends in safety net program enrollment and also explores drivers of participation across counties. It finds that increased county resources, such as higher staffing and state funding, help to boost participation. It also discusses the benefits of streamlining administration across programs.

This research was supported with funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Statewide Survey

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Future

By Mark Baldassare, Renatta DeFever, Lunna Lopes, Dean Bonner

Some findings of the current survey:

  • While many Californians believe the state will be a better place to live in 2025, most (55%) think that today’s children will be worse off financially than their parents.
  • A solid majority of Californians think that state and local governments are not doing enough to respond to the current drought.
  • Californians are divided along party lines about extending the Proposition 30 tax increases, but there is bipartisan support for raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Most Californians think the state is not adequately funding public colleges and universities—but few favor paying higher taxes or increasing student fees.

Job Approval Ratings:
    Governor Brown [PDF]
    California State Legislature [PDF]

Time Trends of Job Approval Ratings:
    Governor Brown [XLS]
    California State Legislature [XLS]

Mood of Californians:
    General Direction of Things in California [PDF]
    Economic Outlook for California [PDF]

Time Trends for the Mood of Californians:
    General Direction of Things in California [XLS]
    Economic Outlook for California [XLS]

This survey was supported with funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California Postsecondary Education Commission Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

Statewide Survey

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government

By Mark Baldassare, Renatta DeFever, Lunna Lopes, Dean Bonner

Some findings of the current survey:

  • Governor Brown leads Neel Kashkari by 16 points in the gubernatorial election; attention to election news and enthusiasm about voting is lower than in past elections.
  • Majorities support the water bond (56% to 32%) as record-high shares say that their regional water supply is a big problem.
  • Proposition 45, which would regulate health insurance rate changes, is down 9 points since last month, but the share considering the outcome as very important is up 11 points.
  • The share of Californians with unfavorable opinions of both major parties has increased since the last presidential election.

Job Approval Ratings:
President Obama [PDF]
Governor Brown [PDF]
California State Legislature [PDF]
U.S. Congress [PDF]
Their Own State Legislators in the Assembly and Senate [PDF]
Their Own Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives [PDF]

Time Trends of Job Approval Ratings:
President Obama [XLS]
Governor Brown [XLS]
California State Legislature [XLS]
U.S. Congress [XLS]
Their Own State Legislators in the Assembly and Senate [XLS]
Their Own Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives [XLS]

Mood of Californians:
General Direction of Things in California [PDF]
Economic Outlook for California [PDF]

Time Trends for the Mood of Californians:
General Direction of Things in California [XLS]
Economic Outlook for California [XLS]

This survey was supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation.

Report

Child Poverty and the Social Safety Net in California

By Caroline Danielson, Sarah Bohn

Because economic hardship is associated with a host of adverse outcomes, particularly for children, policies that can give children a better start in life are especially important. This report focuses on measuring material hardship among children across the state. Using the California Poverty Measure—which accounts for both family earnings and safety net resources and adjusts for work expenses and housing costs—we find that one-quarter of California’s children are in poverty. An additional 26 percent of children live in households that are "near poor,” or somewhat above what is often referred to as the poverty line. In short, about half of California’s children are poor or near-poor. Poverty rates, earnings, and the role of safety net resources all vary by region. But most poor children live in "working poor” families, with one or more working adults. And, without resources from the social safety net—which includes the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, CalFresh (California’s food stamp program), CalWORKs (California’s welfare program), and housing subsidies—there would be far more children in poverty throughout California.

Report

California’s Health Workforce Needs: Training Allied Workers

By Shannon McConville, Sarah Bohn, Laurel Beck

Over the next decade, California’s growing and aging population will require about 450,000 new health care workers. Given the importance of associate degrees and postsecondary certificates in growing health care occupations—and the need for a diversified health workforce—the state needs to ensure that its two-year institutions are preparing technical and support workers for rewarding careers.

Report

California’s Need for Skilled Workers

By Sarah Bohn

If recent trends continue, California is likely to face a shortage of workers with some college education but less than a bachelor’s degree by 2025. State and federal policymakers have increased their focus on boosting educational opportunities for this segment of the workforce. This report examines labor market outcomes among workers with some college training to shed light on the types of jobs that hold the most promise for future workers and the state economy.

Report

Health Care for California’s Jail Population

By Shannon McConville, Mia Bird

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created a new opportunity for California to reach and enroll a medically vulnerable population—the jail population—in health insurance coverage. While inmates receive health care services from county jail systems while incarcerated, few have coverage after they are released from custody. Expansion of the state’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) under the ACA has extended insurance eligibility to much of the currently uninsured jail population. As a complement to the ACA, California recently signed into law Assembly Bill 720 (AB 720), which facilitates the use of jails as sites of health insurance enrollment. Increasing enrollment levels for the jail population holds the potential to reduce corrections costs, as well as improve public health and safety.

Statewide Survey

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government

By Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Sonja Petek, Jui Shrestha

Some findings of the current survey:

  • Californians are divided in their assessment of the Affordable Care Act, but most are aware that California has a health care exchange.
  • In the wake of the government shutdown and the flawed rollout of the national health insurance website, approval of both the president and Congress has dropped to record lows.
  • A record-high 66 percent of Californians say the state is economically divided into haves and have-nots.

Job Approval Ratings:
President Obama [PDF]
Governor Brown [PDF]
California State Legislature [PDF]
U.S. Congress [PDF]

Time Trends of Job Approval Ratings:
President Obama [XLS]
Governor Brown [XLS]
California State Legislature [XLS]
U.S. Congress [XLS]

Mood of Californians:
General Direction of Things in California [PDF]
Economic Outlook for California [PDF]
General Direction of Things in the United States [PDF]
Economic Outlook for the United States [PDF]

Time Trends for the Mood of Californians:
General Direction of Things in California [XLS]
Economic Outlook for California [XLS]
General Direction of Things in the United States [XLS]
Economic Outlook for the United States [XLS]

This survey was supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation.

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