Success: Policy Intensifying Childhood Poverty Will Be Repealed

Target: Vivian Thorpe, leading advocate of repealing California’s Maximum Family Grant rule

Goal: Applaud the repeal of a California policy that punished poor women for having children and deprived poor children of resources.

Thanks in part to activism, including petitions on ForceChange, California will repeal a damaging policy that punished poor women for having children and intensified childhood poverty. The repeal is expected to benefit about 126,000 children in 93,000 families across the state.

The Maximum Family Grant rule denied additional welfare money to mothers who had children born ten months after they joined the welfare program. This rule was created because of the racist and sexiest assumption that so-called “welfare queens” were having children to increase their benefits.

The policy did nothing to decrease pregnancy rates of poor women and instead increased family poverty. These kinds of policies unjustly shame and punish poor people, so it’s a major victory that this has been repealed. Applaud that this sickening policy will no longer be enforced and that more families in poverty will be able to receive the help they need.


Dear Ms. Thorpe,

I’m writing to thank you for your work in repealing the damaging Maximum Family Grant rule in California. You were a lead activist in dismantling this racist and sexist policy that did much more bad than good for poor families.

While the fight to repeal similar policies from the period of welfare reform around the country continues, this is a huge victory towards helping poor families and fighting childhood poverty. I applaud your work and hope even more progress will be made on this issue.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Philippe Put

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