The Alliance has had three strategies for CalFresh Excellence: Quick, Consistent, Connected. Of course, we need to ensure CalFresh Excellence for ALL of California’s diverse communities, and bring a focus on race and language equity. We continue our ATC approach: data-driven, client centered, aligned, and statewide with the issue of equity applied to all. This strategy acts as an elevation, but neither a beginning nor an end, to this essential work. The Alliance has developed a set of Equity Recommendations to guide organization engagement:

ATC Equity Recommendation #1: Start with a shared vision of Equity and Excellence.

  • Excellence in CalFresh is for All People and All Communities; no disparities in access–special attention being paid to race, national origin, ethnicity and non-English speaking groups.
  • Address in a pro-active manner.
  • Reach beyond non-discrimination and focus on institutional/structural barriers and implicit biases.
  • Shared with State, County and Community Stakeholders.

ATC Equity Recommendation #2: Know the rules on non-discrimination.

  • Discrimination is prohibited for 8 groups in SNAP/CalFresh:
    • race
    • color
    • national origin
    • age
    • sex
    • disability
    • religious creed
    • political affiliation
  • Seek out training
  • Learn about the Civil Right Compliance processes at USDA, CDSS, and your County.
  • Ask your local Legal Services for information and assistance when necessary.

ATC Equity Recommendation #3: Advocate for State Agenda to Advance Equity in CalFresh

  • More standardized data on race and language access is needed at the sate and federal level.
  • Standard and accessible translations for statewide communication & protocols for translating county-specific communications focusing on the need of the community–not just the regulatory minimum.
  • Look for county proven practices to lift up and replicate.

ATC Equity Recommendation #4: Build a Diverse and Equity-focus Advocacy and Outreach Team

  • Do your own work, check in with your own implicit and explicit biases.
  • Practice Cultural Humility/Sensitivity regularly in order to successfully identify and mitigate institutional racism.
  • Be sure that people within your organization share a common understanding of racial equity.
  • Start with yourself, then work with your organization and create space for learning and supporting the essential and iterative process.

ATC Equity Recommendation #5: Train and Support Diverse Workforce

ATC Equity Recommendation #6: Use your Outreach Experiences and Data and Equity Indicators

  • Know your Community
  • Check to see if your data matches your expectations:
    • Who is eligible, applying, and getting approved?
    • Who is underrepresented?
  • Dig deeper:
    • Host a focus group.
    • distribute a survey.
  • Work with your county.

ATC Equity Recommendation #7: Investigate more Equity Indicators in Partnership with Your County

  • Begin collecting and summarizing data yourself.
  • Ask for data from your county that might illuminate the issue.
  • Propose solutions.
  • Review the data overtime.

ATC Equity Recommendation #8: Engage in Step-by-Step “Debiasing” of any Areas Generating Disparities

  • Investigate
  • Discover
  • Resolve

Hypothetical example #1: Data show apps received in [x] group [could be race, language, one local office, etc] sharply down one quarter.
Investigate: Request for language services by [x] group speakers down.
Discover: The “Notice of Language Services” in [x] group is incorrectly translated.
Resolve: Re-translate Notice, with proper review by professional and community translators. Outreach push to [x] speakers and community groups.

Hypothetical example #2: Data show denials for incomplete verifications higher for [x] group.
Investigate: Incomplete verifications of SSN is #1 reason for x’s group denial.
Discover: Applicants are being asked to provide their SSN card, even though not required and SSN can often be verified electronically.
Resolve: Retrain workers on verification protocols, including SSN. Follow-up on cases denied for failure to verify SSN. Continue to monitor data on denials for incomplete verifications.

Equity Resources