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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

Kids Count Report – Indiana

  • 2018 Kids Count: Ind. ranks 28th overall, 41st for infant deaths, By Jill Sheridan, February 5, 2018, Indiana Public Media: “The 24th annual Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count Data Book was released Monday. The data tool measures the well-being of Hoosier children. Overall Indiana ranks 28th nationally, but near the bottom in several categories…”
  • Achievement gap still present in Indiana schools, By Caele Pemberton, February 4, 2018, Kokomo Tribune: “There is still a wide achievement gap in Indiana schools. This is according to data compiled by the Indiana Youth Institute, which each year releases data on Hoosier children. The 2018 Kids Count Data Book, supported and coordinated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, looks at a range of factors affecting childhood well-being in Indiana, including economic, health, safety and education factors…”
  • Opioid use breaking up families, By Matthew LeBlanc, February 5, 2018, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “The opioid epidemic is expanding to affect the children of people who use the drugs, according to the Indiana Youth Institute. The 2018 Kids Count Data Book released today by the Indianapolis nonprofit says more children are being removed from homes where parents are drug users…”

Maternal Mortality – Texas

Dangerous deliveries, By Marissa Evans and Chris Essig, January 16, 2018, Texas Tribune: “In the photos flashing on the projector screen, Michelle Zavala had a look of serenity. In one, her eyes were closed as she smiled with her newborn daughter Clara nestled under her chin. Another showed her kissing her husband Chris on vacation. Another captured her laughing while stomping grapes at a vineyard, radiating the positivity that people loved about her. Below the screen, Michelle lay in a casket, surrounded by bouquets of flowers. The Pflugerville woman died in July — just nine days after giving birth to Clara — from a blood clot in her heart. She was 35. Across the United States, maternal mortality — when a mother dies from pregnancy-related complications while pregnant or within 42 days of giving birth — jumped by 27 percent between 2000 and 2014, according to a 2016 study published in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • After months in limbo for children’s health insurance, huge relief over deal, By Selena Simmons-Duffin, January 23, 2018, National Public Radio: “When parts of the federal government ground to halt this past weekend, Linda Nablo, who oversees the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Virginia, had two letters drafted and ready to go out to the families of 68,000 children insured through the program, depending on what happened…”
  • Short-term spending agreement provides longer-term relief for CHIP, By Amy Goldstein, January 22, 2018, Washington Post: “The short-term spending plan allowing the government to reopen solves a funding crisis in a public health insurance program for children of working-class families that is popular with Republicans and Democrats alike, but has been ensnared for months in partisan budget fights…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

  • NM ranked 49th in child well-being, By Rick Nathanson, January 15, 2018, Albuquerque Journal: “A persistently high child poverty rate in New Mexico continues to offset slight improvements in some indicators of child well-being, according to the 2017 New Mexico Kids Count Data Book, just released by New Mexico Voices for Children and timed for the opening day of the state Legislature.  The state rates 49th overall in child well-being, with only Mississippi faring worse…”
  • Quality of life for N.M. children, teens takes tumble, By Robert Nott, January 16, 2018, Santa Fe New Mexican: “Just days after a national study ranking New Mexico as the worst state to raise a family, a new report says that more of the state’s children are living in poverty, more children are going without health insurance and more teens and children are living in single-parent households than a year ago…”

Juvenile Court Fines and Fees

Movement against juvenile court fees runs into resistance, By Teresa Wiltz, January 17, 2018, Stateline: “California this month became the first state to eliminate court costs, fees and fines for young offenders. But court officials and legislators wary of forfeiting a key source of revenue have raised roadblocks in states and localities that have tried to follow suit. The Trump administration has further blunted momentum by scrapping an Obama-era warning against imposing excessive fees and fines on juveniles. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the move as part of a broader effort to overhaul regulatory procedures at the Department of Justice. The administration declined to comment on whether it supports the imposition of such fees…”

Welfare Reform – Kansas

Brownback cut welfare in Kansas. Is Congress about to follow?, By Jonathan Shorman, January 14, 2018, Wichita Eagle: “Welfare restrictions and work requirements have knocked tens of thousands of Kansans off assistance over the past few years. Many get kicked out for not working, but only a small percentage leave because they have a job, the latest federal data reveals. Republicans in Congress have said they want to tackle welfare reform. Some, including Rep. Ron Estes of Wichita, say Washington, D.C. should look to Kansas as an example, but it’s unclear whether program cuts in Kansas left recipients better off…”

Foster Care and the Opioid Crisis – Florida

Opioid epidemic could be stressing foster-care system, study says, By Naseem S. Miller, January 10, 2018, Orlando Sentinel: “A new study shows that the increase in opioid prescription rates in Florida may have had a role in the higher rate of kids being removed from their homes, putting more stress on the state’s foster care system and highlighting the shortage of foster parents…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

Budget office cuts cost estimate of children’s insurance, By Alam Fram (AP), January 9, 2018, Connecticut Post: “Congress’ official budget analysts have eased one stumbling block to lawmakers’ fight over renewing a program that provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children. The Congressional Budget Office says a Senate bill adding five years of financing to the program would cost $800 million. Previously, the analysts estimated it would cost $8.2 billion…”

Child Mortality in the US

American babies are 76 percent more likely to die in their first year than babies in other rich countries, By Christopher Ingraham, January 9, 2018, Washington Post: “American babies are 76 percent more likely to die before they turn a year old than babies in other rich countries, and American children who survive infancy are 57 percent more likely to die before adulthood, according to a sobering new study published in the journal Health Affairs…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • With children’s health program running dry, parents beg Congress: ‘Do the right thing’, By Robert Pear, December 19, 2017, New York Times: “With more and more states running out of money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, parents took their case to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, pleading with Congress to provide money before their sons and daughters lose health care and coverage. But the program, known as CHIP, which insures nearly nine million children, took a back seat as lawmakers raced to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut. CHIP’s fate, it appears, is now caught up in a messy fight over an end-of-the-year deal on spending that must be struck by Friday to avert a government shutdown…”
  • Kids’ health insurance hangs in balance, and parents wonder what’s wrong with Congress, By Robert Samuels, December 21, 2017, Washington Post: “The lingering uncertainty in Congress over the fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program has left Ashlee and Levi Smith torn between optimism and anxiety. As the parents of two young children who have relied on the government-backed health-care plan, the Smiths are unsure whether they should stretch their finances to put their boys, 3 and 3 months, on a private plan — or have faith that a polarized Congress will work it out…”
  • 2 million kids will lose CHIP coverage right away, report finds, By Maggie Fox, December 21, 2017, NBC News: “Nearly 2 million children will lose health coverage starting next month if Congress doesn’t renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by Friday, a new report projects…”

Foster Care System – Kentucky, Ohio

  • Lawmakers back big changes to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system, but do they have the money?, By Deborah Yetter, December 19, 2017, Louisville Courier Journal: “A group of state legislators on Tuesday recommended broad changes meant to improve Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system, wrapping up eight months of study of a system critics say is overburdened, underfunded and plagued with frustrating delays. The group’s goal is to improve services for abused and neglected children and help streamline foster care and adoption if the child can’t return home. But many of the changes would be costly, and members acknowledged extra money will be in short supply as the General Assembly prepares to draft a new budget in 2018…”
  • Number of Ohio foster children rising fast during opioid crisis, By Rita Price, December 21, 2017, Columbus Dispatch: “A thousand more Ohio children are in foster care this Christmas than last, and advocates say the epidemic of opioid addiction is on track to overwhelm the state’s county-based system of child protection…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • Millions of children could lose health coverage starting next month, By Haeyoun Park, December 14, 2017, New York Times: “Lawmakers have yet to renew federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP, which insures nearly nine million children in low-income families. Most states will run out of money in the next few months if Congress does not act…”
  • Parents worry Congress won’t fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, By Alison Kodjak, December 12, 2017, National Public Radio: “It’s a beautiful morning in Pittsburgh, but Ariel Haughton is stressed out. She’s worried her young children’s health insurance coverage will soon lapse.  ‘So, we’re like a low-middle-class family, right?’ she says. ‘I’m studying. My husband’s working, and our insurance right now is 12 percent of our income — just for my husband and I. And it’s not very good insurance either…'”

Child Welfare System

  • Opioid crisis strains foster system as kids pried from homes, By Matt Sedensky and Meghan Hoyer (AP), December 12, 2017, ABC News: “The case arrives with all the routine of a traffic citation: A baby boy, just 4 days old and exposed to heroin in his mother’s womb, is shuddering through withdrawal in intensive care, his fate now here in a shabby courthouse that hosts a parade of human misery.  The parents nod off as Judge Marilyn Moores explains the legal process, and tests arrive back showing both continue to use heroin. The judge briefly chastises, a grandmother sobs, and by the time the hearing is over, yet another child is left in the arms of strangers because of his parents’ addiction…”
  • Data mining program designed to predict child abuse proves unreliable, DCFS says, By David Jackson and Gary Marx, December 6, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is ending a high-profile program that used computer data mining to identify children at risk for serious injury or death after the agency’s top official called the technology unreliable.

Homeless Students and Academic Achievement – New York

New report shines light on homeless students’ achievement gap, By Jay Rey, December 12, 2017, Buffalo News: “Homeless students in New York City fared better on state assessment tests than students in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse who had never been homeless. Meanwhile, more than 16 percent of students in the Buffalo Public Schools who took the state tests two years ago were either homeless or had been homeless at one time. In either case, those students were about half as likely to meet state math and reading standards compared to their classmates who have always had their own place to call home…”

Child Poverty – Oregon

Report: Child poverty in Oregon, Marion County on the rise, By Whitney Woodworth, December 12, 2017, Statesman Journal: “Almost half of Oregon children are being raised in low-income households and their likelihood of escaping poverty as adults is poor. In 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties, less than half of children born into low-income families will reach the middle class or beyond as adults, according to the newest annual report by the Oregon Community Foundation…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

The CHIP program is beloved. Why is its funding in danger?, By Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear, December 5, 2017, New York Times: “Laquita Gardner, a sales manager at a furniture rental store here, was happy to get a raise recently except for one problem. It lifted her income just enough to disqualify her and her two young sons from Medicaid, the free health insurance program for the poor. She was relieved to find another option was available for the boys: the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, that covers nearly nine million children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage…”

Maternal Mortality

New maternal mortality strategy relies on ‘medical homes’, By Michael Ollove, December 5, 2017, Stateline: “When Hannah White first showed up at the Mountain Area Health Education Center here three years ago, she was in trouble. She was 20 years old, a couple months into her first pregnancy and on the run from an abusive husband in Texas who already had broken her ribs in an attempt, she said, to kill her unborn child. She also has a form of hemophilia which prevents her body from producing platelet granules that stem bleeding. That disease had robbed her of her Malawian mother when Hannah was three months old, which ultimately led to her adoption by American missionaries…”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Series on Childhood Trauma

  • Impact of childhood trauma reaches rural Wisconsin, By John Schmid and Andrew Mollica, November 30, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Jodi Williams has just returned from the Marquette County jail, where she met an unemployed 27-year-old man who had been busted after jumping bail on charges of battery, property damage and disorderly conduct. He and his girlfriend used heroin until two years ago when their child was born. Instead of cleaning up, he switched to alcohol, which angered his girlfriend, who left with their child. Now, he’s dangerously depressed, locked up and dealing with his first sustained sobriety since he was 13.  ‘These people are in constant survival mode,’ Williams says of the distressed couple and so many others like them in the vast impoverished regions of the nation’s rural heartland. Williams is one of Marquette County’s few mental health and substance abuse case workers…”
  • Wisconsin childhood trauma data explodes myth of ‘not in my small town’, By John Schmid, December 4, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Traffic on Main St. is lazy as Kyle Pucek strolls past tidy homes with wide front porches. ‘I lost a lot of friends in the last couple years,’ Pucek, 41, says matter of factly. He counts 10.  A car rolls past and a woman waves at Pucek. The two shout greetings.  ‘That’s Kirsten,’ Pucek volunteers almost offhandedly, ‘an ex-heroin addict who’s also in recovery.’ Pucek grew up with her, and with her fiance, who died of a heroin overdose in 2009. Contacted later, Kirsten Moore added that her teenage son became attached to her late fiance’s brother — and then the brother died from a heroin overdose, too, less than two years later. Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Rock County falls into the highest tier of overdose deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits linked to opioids and heroin, as ranked by state health authorities…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program