Webinar: How, and Why, to Encourage California Families to Participate in the Census

It only happens once every 10 years, and there’s a lot riding on it.

It’s the U.S. Census, which officially starts April 1. It determines how the federal budget pie is sliced up, not to mention how much representation we get in Congress. An undercount could cost California more than $1.5 billion across all federal programs (including CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, Head Start, and Section 8), and would also mean less money for local schools, hospitals, roads, and more.

But even though the U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to keep responses anonymous and confidential — no sharing with ICE or any law enforcement agency, or with landlords! — many families are reluctant to participate. Many may also mistakenly believe that young kids and babies don’t need to be counted.

First 5 Association of California is one of the groups leading the effort in California to get families and young children counted. Association trainer Ana Lugo presented this webinar on February 13, 2020, for Outreach Specialists in the Welcome Baby program, which is part of the First 5 LA-funded Family Strengthening Network in Los Angeles County. A big thanks to Ana and First 5 Association!

See below for lots of related resources.


The presentation slides from this webinar are available here.

See First 5 LA’s information on Census participation, including its Winter Parenting Guide (English/Spanish).

First 5 Association of California assembled this training guide that includes Census resources, which we’ve reprinted (with a few additions) here:

Toolkits and More

Key Messages to Share With Families (courtesy of Zero to Three)

  • “You can fill out the Census on your own schedule and it only takes about 10 minutes to complete.”
  • “Counting your young children in the Census means your local school will get more funding for our children.”
  • “The Census only happens once every 10 years. So, if we don’t count a 2 year old now, our community will have less funding for education, child care, and other services children need for most of their childhood.”

Information on the Census

History of Race and the Census

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