Autumn Burke (Courtesy Photo)
Autumn Burke (Courtesy Photo)

Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood) has introduced landmark legislation that seeks to lift 1,000,000 California children out of poverty. AB 1520, known as the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act, commits the Legislature to a goal of reducing child poverty by 50 percent over the next 20 years and provides for a comprehensive framework of research-backed solutions to achieve it.

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; and almost one-third of African American children and one-third of Latino children lives in poverty. Without a comprehensive and sustained approach to reduce the root causes of poverty, the future economic stability of California is at risk.

“AB 1520 certifies that it is no longer acceptable to have 2 million children in the state of California living in poverty. It is frankly embarrassing to know that we have the 6th largest economy in the world, yet we have so many children living under the conditions of poor schools, unsafe neighborhoods, and a lack of economic mobility. No child should face these odds,” said Assemblywoman Burke. “As a mother and an Assemblywoman, I cannot begin to fathom that we have accepted to have 2 million children living in poverty. AB 1520 will analyze current funding and create stronger responsibility mechanisms to ensure that we fully invest in programs that lift our families out of poverty and put the American Dream within their reach.”

AB 1520 addresses child poverty through the adoption of a framework for continued investment in programs and approaches that have been proven to impact poverty in the most effective ways. AB 1520 requires the Department of Finance to monitor and measure progress by producing annual reports analyzing how the proposed state budget will impact the child poverty rate. In addition, it requires reports every two years monitoring the impact of current and potential investments, and joint Legislative hearings will be held every two years.

“AB 1520 is ground breaking legislation that changes the way California does business,” said Conway Collis, CEO of GRACE, a sponsor of AB 1520, and former Chair of the State Board of Equalization. “California is committing to reduce child poverty and adopting mechanisms to measure and monitor its success. The fact is that poverty at this level will eventually overwhelm the state budget. Reducing child poverty helps everyone.”