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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Category: Children and Families

Infant Mortality – North Carolina

As NC babies die at one of the fastest rates in the country, Cooper calls for action plan, By John Murawski, August 31, 2018, News & Observer: “North Carolina has struggled with some of the nation’s worst infant mortality rates for decades, and now it’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s turn to wrestle with the stubborn public health challenge. Thirty years ago the state had plummeted to the nation’s second-worst infant mortality rate, prompting the creation of Smart Startand other government programs to reverse the trend…”

Kids Count Report – New Jersey

  • New Jersey kids better off than most in U.S., but poverty rates vary widely by county, By Nina Feldman, August 22, 2018, WHYY: “Overall, children in New Jersey are better off than other kids around the country. About 15 percent of kids in the Garden State live in poverty, while the national average is 21 percent. That’s according to the annual Kids Count report released Tuesday that rates each county in the categories of family economics, health, education, and child safety…”
  • Percentage of uninsured kids in New Jersey reaches all-time low, By Stephanie Noda, August 22, 2018, North Jersey Record: “The rate of uninsured children in New Jersey is at an ‘all-time low,’ according a new report from a children’s advocacy group.  The 2018 New Jersey Kids Count County Rankings, which is produced by the Advocates for Children of New Jersey, reported a 32 percent drop in the number of children without health insurance between 2012 and 2016, from nearly 103,000 to just over 70,000…”

Health Care for Foster Children

Foster parents often struggle to find doctors to treat the kids in their care, By Phil Galewitz, August 22, 2018, National Public Radio: “Sherri and Thomas Croom have been foster parents to 27 children — from newborns to teenagers — during the past decade. That has meant visits to dozens of doctors and dentists for issues ranging from a tonsillectomy to depression. While foster parenting has innumerable challenges, health care coverage for the children isn’t one of them. Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, picks up the tab for nearly all children in foster care and often continues to cover them if they are adopted, regardless of their parents’ income. And as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, foster kids who have Medicaid when they reach 18 can keep the coverage until they turn 26…”

Youth Unemployment

Youth unemployment hits a 50-year low, but there’s a catch, By Aimee Picchi, August 17, 2018, CBS News: “There’s a good news/bad news situation with youth unemployment. More young Americans — defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as people between the ages of 16 to 24 — are working this summer, pushing the unemployment rate for the group to a 52-year low. But there’s a catch: the labor force participation rate for young Americans remains below its 1989 peak…”

Summer Meal Programs – Maine

Summer meals take the edge off persistent child hunger in Maine, By Gillian Graham, August 5, 2018, Portland Press Herald: “Michelle McKinney was on her way home from picking up food at a Sanford food pantry when someone mentioned the free lunches served every weekday at schools and parks across the city. The news could not have been more welcome for the young mother and her husband, who are trying to stretch their single income to cover their $681 monthly rent, $400 car payment and groceries. For their children, it’s just another picnic in the park.

Child Poverty and Well-Being – New Jersey, Utah

  • NJ children face social, health barriers, report shows, by Nicole Leonard, July 31, 2018, Press of Atlantic City: “The early years of New Jersey’s youngest residents are crucial to childhood growth and development, yet some of the state’s 310,285 children under age 3 face challenges that threaten their potential to succeed and thrive, a new report has found. Advocates for Children of New Jersey’s new Babies Count report, which piggybacks on data from the organization’s Kids Count report, details health, financial, childcare, trauma and racial disparity issues that affect families and babies both in the short-term and long-term…”
  • Utah is reducing its child poverty rate, one piece of data at a time, By Renata Sago, July 30, 2018, Marketplace: “Shannon Starley and her team of case workers at Utah’s Division of Children and Family Services have a tough job. They help decide whether to remove kids from their parents’ custody. The agency investigated 21,093 cases last year. Many involved parents struggling with substance abuse. ‘A lot of mental health issues,’ Starley added. She said she has seen parents lose their kids, get them back, then lose them again…”

Ohio Early Childhood Race and Rural Equity Report

  • Ohio report ties poverty, race and geography to lifelong success, By Laura Hancock, July 25, 2018, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Ohio children who are not ready for kindergarten have a hard time catching up over the years, with their scores in third grade reading and eighth grade math continuing to lag, according to a study released Wednesday. The report, by the education advocacy organization Groundwork Ohio, found poverty is often tied to insufficient kindergarten readiness. It also found children who are black or who live in the 32-county Appalachian region tend to more often be poor…”
  • Report: Minority, Appalachia kids at greater risk of remaining poor for life, By Catherine Candisky and Mary Beth Lane, July 26, 2018, Canton Repository: “Young children of color or who live in rural Appalachia are more at risk of starting behind — and staying behind, well into adulthood — than their more-affluent peers elsewhere in Ohio, a new report shows. Groundwork Ohio released the Ohio Early Childhood Race & Rural Equity Report 2018 on Wednesday. Shannon Jones, executive director of the nonpartisan child-advocacy organization, said it was the most-comprehensive early childhood report in the state’s history…”

Teen Birth Rate – Wisconsin

Teen births decline in Wisconsin, By Shamane Mills, July 25, 2018, Wisconsin Public Radio: “Fewer Wisconsin teens are having babies. The latest data from state health officials shows the birth rate to mothers age 15-19 has dropped dramatically. Teen births have been on a downward trend across the United States. And in Wisconsin they’ve dropped by half over a span of eight years…”

Rural Hospitals and Obstetric Care

It’s 4 A.M. The baby’s coming. But the hospital is 100 miles away., By Jack Healy, July 17, 2018, New York Times: “A few hours after the only hospital in town shut its doors forever, Kela Abernathy bolted awake at 4:30 a.m., screaming in pain. Oh God, she remembered thinking, it’s the twins. They were not due for another two months. But the contractions seizing Ms. Abernathy’s lower back early that June morning told her that her son and daughter were coming. Now. Ms. Abernathy, 21, staggered out of bed and yelled for her mother, Lynn, who had been lying awake on the living-room couch. They grabbed a few bags, scooped up Ms. Abernathy’s 2-year-old son and were soon hurtling across this poor patch of southeast Missouri in their Pontiac Bonneville, racing for help. The old hospital used to be around the corner. Now, her new doctor and hospital were nearly 100 miles away…”

Incarceration and Childhood Trauma – Wisconsin

Cycles of incarceration hit African Americans, children especially hard, By Dean Mosiman, July 14, 2018, Wisconsin State Journal: “When people commit certain crimes or pose an extreme danger to others, most agree, they need to be locked up. Incarceration can also concentrate the mind, forcing offenders to confront the alcohol and drug dependencies that often led to their crimes, allow them to address anger problems and further their education. But it’s also true that incarceration can compound the effect of childhood trauma, make some problems worse, separate families, and renew cycles of trauma, making everyone less safe…”

Foster Care System

  • This new federal law will change foster care as we know it, By Teresa Wiltz, May 2, 2018, Stateline: “A new federal law, propelled by the belief that children in difficult homes nearly always fare best with their parents, effectively blows up the nation’s troubled foster care system. Few outside child welfare circles paid any mind to the law, which was tucked inside a massive spending bill President Donald Trump signed in February. But it will force states to overhaul their foster care systems by changing the rules for how they can spend their annual $8 billion in federal funds for child abuse prevention…”
  • Judges wrestle over whether Texas mistreats foster kids so badly, it tramples their rights, By Robert T. Garrett, April 30, 2018, Dallas News: “A panel of three judges appeared divided Monday on whether Texas has breached the U.S. Constitution in how it treats foster children — and if so, what should be done about it. A top assistant to Attorney General Ken Paxton and a Houston lawyer who’s the lead counsel in a class action suit on behalf of nearly 11,000 children in long-term foster care clashed for an hour at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Their argument was over whether judges should embrace or reject U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack’s 2015 ruling that the state’s system is ‘broken’ because it subjects already vulnerable youths to mayhem and harm and that remedial orders must be implemented…”

Low-Income Women’s Health Program – Texas

Texas health program served more low-income women, but improvement since funding cuts is unclear, By Jackie Wang, April 27, 2018, Dallas News: “A new report shows more people enrolled in a health program for low-income women in 2017, but it doesn’t show if the numbers are an improvement over the years before funding was cut. According to a Texas Health and Human Services Commission report published Thursday, Healthy Texas Women increased its total number of clients served from 70,336 in 2016 to 122,406 in 2017. The Family Planning Program increased its clients from 38,404 in 2016 to 96,990 in 2017. Overall, Texas served 29 percent more women in one year…”

Families and the Opioid Crisis

  • Keeley and the Vial, By Rich Lord, April 30, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Keeley Ashbaugh puts one hand on the arm of the couch, another on the electric fireplace, and pushes up with her thin arms so that her feet are inches off the floor. And then, because 8-year-olds don’t stay still, she swings her feet back, forward, back, forward, all the while babbling about a relative’s kitten, which is, oddly, named Puppy…”
  • Opioids swamping child welfare system, By Rich Lord, April 30, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “First came an anonymous tip that a young girl was living in a building with no utilities. When police arrived at the boarded-up apartment on East Warrington Avenue, in Allentown, they saw no sign that anyone was inside, and no clear way in. A half-hour later on that September morning last year, though, another call reported an overdose at that address. Medics busted in, and revived Connie Hartwick, 46, from a heroin overdose, according to a police affidavit…”
  • In rural areas hit hard by opioids, a new source of hope, By Jen Fifield, April 30, 2018, Stateline: “For people addicted to opioids, the first time in detox isn’t necessarily the last. For Brian Taylor, the second time wasn’t the last, either — nor was the third, fourth or fifth. The sixth time, though, was different. It has been nearly 17 months since Taylor, 33, walked out of his last treatment at the Withdrawal Management Center in Harrington, Delaware, and he hasn’t used drugs since. If the detox center hadn’t been so accessible — just 20 miles from where he was living, in the small town of Seaford — he said he may have lost his children, his family and even his life…”

Kids Count Report – Delaware

Study: Almost half of Delaware children experience trauma, stress, By Meredith Newman, May 1, 2018, News Journal: “Almost half of Delaware children experience some type of traumatic or stressful moment growing up that could influence a child’s overall health, according to a new study.  The annual Kids Count report, released Tuesday, found that 48 percent of kids in Delaware experience one or more adverse childhood experiences, slightly higher than that the national average of 46 percent…”

Ohio Poverty Report

  • Medicaid expansion has helped, but poverty persists in Ohio, By Bill Bush, April 13, 2018, Columbus Dispatch: “The rising cost of child care and college, combined with the raging opioid crisis, continue to have a major impact on poverty in Ohio, a new report says. ‘These problems travel through society like a cancer,’ said Philip Cole, executive director of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, which publishes the annual State of Poverty in Ohio…”
  • Ohio poverty report suggests federal data is outdated, By Kayla Beard, April 25, 2018, Athens News: “How many more days until your next paycheck? How many more minutes until your next meal? For many in Athens County, as residents of one of the most poverty-stricken regions in the state, the answers to these questions are heavy with fear and uncertainty…”

Welfare Reform

  • Wisconsin is the GOP model for ‘welfare reform.’ But as work rules grow, family faces the hard reality, By Robert Samuels, April 23, 2018, Northwest Herald: “The shock absorbers in James Howlett’s Ford Fusion were busted, but he and his partner, Nadine, packed their two children inside anyway. They were already homeless, and their time on food stamps was running out. They needed to fix the car and dig up documents to try to get back on welfare. The suburban homeless shelter where they slept the night before was now in the distance as they made their way through the familiar blight of the city neighborhood that was once home. Howlett dropped Kayden, 5, at kindergarten and Cali, 3, at day care in a community center that stood amid the boarded-up houses and vacant fields surrounded by barbed wire that dot Milwaukee’s north side. That’s when he found himself gripped by a new worry: His run-down Ford might be another barrier to government assistance…”
  • Farm bill creates latest push for ‘welfare reform’, By Jessica Wehrman, April 22, 2018, Columbus Dispatch: “Republicans’ next big push for ‘welfare reform’ comes courtesy of a bill designed to pay for the nation’s farm programs. The federal farm bill, which expires on Oct. 1, is aimed at providing federal support to farmers who may need it during tough times. But roughly 80 percent of the bill goes to federal food assistance, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. That typically makes the bill’s passage a bipartisan affair, with urban and rural lawmakers joining forces to both help feed the poor and to keep farmers facing financial difficulty from being driven out of business entirely. But this year’s bill has been different. Instead, to Democrats’ fury, House Republicans see the farm bill as an opportunity to take a crack at revamping SNAP, formerly known as food stamps…”

Pregnancy Rate of Foster Youth – Texas

Teens in foster care more likely to become pregnant than other Texas youths, report finds, By Jackie Wang, April 16, 2018, Dallas Morning News: “The pregnancy rate for teens in foster care is almost five times as high as the rate for other Texas girls ages 13 to 17, according to a report from an advocacy group. The analysis, which Texans Care for Children released Monday, also found that more than half of teens who age out of foster care at 18 or extend their time until 21 will become pregnant before they turn 20. That’s double the 1 in 4 American teens who will be pregnant before turning 20, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy…”

Kids Count Report – Michigan

  • Kids Count Report: Poverty down, health and education remain concerns, By Erin Dietzer, April 17, 2018, Holland Sentinel: “The good news in the 2018 Michigan Kids Count Report is that poverty is finally seeing a drop. The bad news is that a majority of child well-being indicators have stagnated or worsened statewide since 2010, with widening disparities by race, ethnicity and income…”
  • Report: Rate of black kids living in poverty dips, April 17, 2018, Detroit News: “While Michigan continues to recover from the Great Recession, one group has lagged behind. The number of black children living in poverty has dropped but still remains alarmingly high, according to the 2018 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book. It has fallen from 48 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2016…”

Maternal and Infant Mortality

  • Why America’s black mothers and babies are in a life-or-death crisis, By Linda Villarosa, April 11, 2018, New York Times Magazine: “When Simone Landrum felt tired and both nauseated and ravenous at the same time in the spring of 2016, she recognized the signs of pregnancy. Her beloved grandmother died earlier that year, and Landrum felt a sense of divine order when her doctor confirmed on Muma’s birthday that she was carrying a girl. She decided she would name her daughter Harmony. ‘I pictured myself teaching my daughter to sing,’ says Landrum, now 23, who lives in New Orleans. ‘It was something I thought we could do together.’  But Landrum, who was the mother of two young sons, noticed something different about this pregnancy as it progressed…”
  • Report: Texas’ maternal deaths were dramatically lower in 2012 under new methodology, By Marissa Evans, April 9, 2018, Texas Tribune: “The number of Texas women who died from pregnancy complications in 2012 is being cut by more than half through a new state method for counting and confirming maternal deaths — which made Texas the subject of national news coverage over its high death rate. Several of the state’s top health experts released a report in the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology on Monday  showing that by using the new method, the number of women who died dropped from 147 to 56…”

Kids Count Report – Florida

Fewer kids in Florida live in poverty but state ranks 40 overall for child well-being, By Liz Freeman, April 5, 2018, Naples Daily News: “Kids can’t get ahead when they are behind with learning and thriving. New Florida Kids Count data shows modest improvement statewide for children getting out of poverty and for students graduating on time, but more needs to be done to improve their future, according to program officials…”