Welfare System Pulls Former Law that Penalized Poor Women for Having More Babies

women and babies

*Thanks in huge part to the efforts put forth by California State Senator, Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who led the fight to do away with the policy that penalizes poor women (and their children) for having babies while on welfare, the law has been lifted. The “Maximum Family Grant” is a policy that came out of the state of California’s reformed welfare system in the mid-90s and attempted to discourage poor women, usually of color, from having more babies while on welfare by exempting them from receiving additional monies once new babies were born.

Legislative advocate Jessica Bartholow said it best, “No child should be treated differently under the law simply because they were conceived and born while their parents were poor.” Bartholow advocates for women and the poor at Western Center for Law & Poverty, and she is all for the reversal of the law known as the “MFG Rule.”

Now California’s passionate side appears to be kicking in. The state is ditching the law (this portion of the new budget, which was passed on Tuesday, will cost the state an additional $220 million) and Governor Jerry Brown (D) has said that he will support it.

The reversal of the policy will affect the lives of 93,000 families; each of whom is set to receive an additional $138 per month, per new child, who had previously been exempt.

Holly Mitchell  (D-Los Angeles)
Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles)

Of course such a leap in the state’s budget has its critics who say that giving the poor more money won’t resolve any of the underlying issues including a lack of education and employment, keep people in poverty.

To them, senator Mitchell says, “It is not the universal answer to poverty alleviation, but it is the most significant step we’ve taken of late to address the needs of those living in deep poverty across the state.”

 Jessica Bartholow
Jessica Bartholow

Read more at ABC News

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