Repeal of Maximum Family Grant Rule and Its Effect on Child Support

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the most inhumane laws that loomed over the State of California was the Maximum Family Grant rule (MFG). According to this law, if anyone in the family is under the scheme of cash aid for 10 months in a row, a child born into the same family will be excluded from the Assistance Unit (A.U) bracket and is not eligible for child support. The MFG rule was added to CalWORKs program in August 1997 and is applicable for those children born after the same date.

The MFG law- a racist, sexist and discriminatory law 

From the time the MFG law was enforced, it discriminated against poor young woman against demanding basic aid for child support. This rule penalized mother’s enrolled in the state offered cash welfare program if they were to give birth. Monetary assistance included only those children born before the time the law came into practice or if the children were born prior to the mother receiving cash aid from the state. MFG was adopted as a measure of reformation and is largely viewed as enforcement of restricting the size of the family- mostly a curb on colored women.

Repeal of Maximum Family Grant rule and its effect on child support

The latest state budget included the repealing of the MFG rule with full support from Governor Jerry Brown. The motion to repeal the law was passed few months earlier. The dissolution of this law comes as a relief for over 90,000 families who were dealt with an iron hand by this biased law. The excluded families will now benefit from additional $138 for each child that was previously left out.

The repeal will increase the state’s budget by $220 million, annually. With the repeal, California joins 22 other states including Minnesota, Maryland, and Wyoming. Currently, there are only a dozen other states that refrain from supporting the family when an extra child is born if the family is enrolled in a cash aim program. The remaining two states follow an inflexible system wherein a certain amount is paid regardless of the number of children.

The enforcement of the MFG law was directed towards children born out of wedlock. The children also include those conceived from incest, rape and birth control fails forcing the woman to share unconformable personal details with the case worker.  Since there was no evidence to prove that MFG was successful in controlling the growth of population, its repeal comes as a restoration of faith in humanity.

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