Repeal the Maximum Family Grant Rule (SB 23)

Author: Sen. Holly Mitchell

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Invest in California families.

SB 23 will repeal California’s policy of denying financial support to babies born while their families are receiving CalWORKs basic needs grants. The only exceptions to this policy, known as the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule, are for rape and the failure of certain long-acting contraceptives specified in the law.

The MFG Rule endangers the health and wellbeing of infants born into poverty and intentionally limits the reproductive decisions of poor women.

When an infant or child is denied basic needs assistance because of the MFG rule, the family’s grant is one less than it would otherwise be. The maximum CalWORKs grant for a family of three is $638 and $516 for a family of two. The average CalWORKs family – similar to the general population - has only 2 children. Without the MFG rule, the amount most households would receive in additional benefits for the newborn child is $122/month. Even without the denial of aid to newborns, most recipient households live in dire poverty, unable to afford basic necessities.

Research indicates that denying families cash assistance for basic needs could lead to greater familial poverty, which in turn contributes to poorer health, developmental, and social outcomes in children.

The ACLU of California is a sponsor of SB 23, along with other organizations.



Reintroduced as SB 23.


Failed to pass through the Senate Appropriations Committee.


Passed through Senate Human Services Committee in a 3-2 vote.


Introduced as SB 899.