Martha & Francisco

“As parents, not having health insurance for our newborn was crazy. It was stressful, and having to worry about healthcare is just something that no family wants to go through."

Location: Fresno County

When she was born, one-year-old Olivia changed her parents’ lives forever. Martha (33) and Francisco (37) are more active now and find joy in peek-a-boo games, reading picture books, and dancing with Olivia. For Francisco, it’s exciting to be a dad, but now he thinks twice about every decision he makes. 

Both Martha and Francisco grew up with parents who took pride in working hard to meet the needs of their families. They managed to make ends meet without the need of public assistance programs and they encouraged their children to achieve higher education and better opportunities than they had.

Martha followed the advice and graduated with a degree in social work. She works for a local community benefit organization. Francisco opted to work over continuing school, and he is now growing his own landscaping business. Both work hard to make a happy life together, but low pay in Martha’s non-profit field combined with the risks and expenses of starting your own business make it financially challenging.

With a young family of their own, accessing public services is a conversation Martha and Francisco have very often. Deciding what is most important can be a struggle. But because of Olivia, Medi-Cal and WIC are services they access and prioritize.

Get to know Martha & Francisco

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Francisco shares about the importance of spending time with their daughter.

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Martha talks about the challenge of getting a good wage in her field, despite having gotten a degree.

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Martha & Francisco talk about Olivia’s early development through their parent interaction classes.

“My grocery purchase with WIC vouchers.”

“Olivia’s visit to the pediatrician. This is the waiting area and facility.”


Feelings about having to use and using services


“If it was this hard to get this program, how hard will it be to get others?” Frustrating experiences affect Martha’s access of other services.

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For Francisco, being able to access public services when things get tough gives him peace of mind.

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Francisco’s dream for Olivia is influenced by his own experience.


Public service eligibility

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Martha and Francisco can’t access high-quality child care. “I want my child to have access to those opportunities, too.”

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“If we were in that situation, what would we do?” If Martha and Francisco were eligible for more services, it would help them pay for other priorities—and save for emergencies.

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The cost of living has increased over the years and Francisco shares that for middle income families, like his, having access to these programs is important. 


Using public services


Martha has had a positive experience with WIC regardless of which staff helps her.

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Martha talks about her doctor visit experiences for daughter Olivia as positive.

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Martha talks about how confusing and long application process for Medi-Cal.

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Ideas for Change

Martha wants to reconfigure income eligibility criteria to take into account other expenses families have.