Estimates Show a 14 Percentage Point Reduction in Child Poverty from Safety Net Programs

Poverty Reducing Effects of the Social Safety Net in California According to the California Poverty Measure: 2014-2016

Table Image of the Poverty reducing Effects of the Social Safety Net in California According to the California Poverty Measure: 2014-2016

Safety net programs such as tax credits and supplemental nutrition help mitigate economic hardships for families and safeguard children. Children who face economic hardship, or who experience deep and prolonged poverty, are at greater risk for poor emotional and physical health than children in more economically secure households.
Based on the California Poverty Measure, social safety net programs reduced child poverty by an estimated 14 percentage points in 2014-2016. Estimates show how each program contributed to reducing poverty. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit had a particularly strong effect, reducing poverty by six percentage points. Also impactful was CalFresh, known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which reduced poverty by four percentage points.
The effects of poverty extend beyond individuals. The estimated total annual cost of child poverty in the U.S. is more than a trillion dollars, due in part to loss of economic productivity and increased health costs. For every dollar spent on poverty reduction strategies, the U.S. could save an estimated $7 related to the economic costs of poverty.

Data About Programs for Families in Poverty

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at

Social Safety Net

COVID-19 Resources on Children

SupplyBank.Org supports under-resourced children and families by manufacturing and collecting then distributing basic needs material items to local agencies. They are accepting requests for supplies from social service agencies, WIC, First 5, school districts, domestic violence shelters, or other public assistance agencies in need of basic material resources.

California’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division compiled COVID-19 Resources for Women and Families to offer guidance for both families and health professionals in areas such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and family nutrition.

The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality outlines the challenges in Supporting Children’s Health During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic. They offer insights in areas such as home-visiting services, communications with pregnant women, and parent and caregiver mental health.

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health continually updates a curated list of COVID-19 Resources for Children with Special Health Care Needs.

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