Child Welfare in the 21st Century

  • June 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Jul    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

We must invest in kids.

Posted by lboyd544 on February 24, 2015

This morning I received an article from which I will paste this sentence: Between 2006 and 2011, the number of children’s hospitalizations in the United States for suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, and self-injury increased by 104% among children under age 18.

Sad and scary, but there is much we can do.

We must fight against budget cuts in our states and at the federal level that will harm mental health and behavioral health services. We must join the ranks of performance based contracting for mental health outcomes. We must stand up for quality of our service providers/provisions.  Good discussion: http://firstfocus.org/blog/sequestration-stop-cutting-kids/

We must demand that Congress reauthorize CHIP (national Children’s Health Insurance Program) promptly and fully. Check this out http://www.momsrising.org/blog/calling-all-childrens-health-supporters-simple-ways-you-can-show-your-support-for-chip

We must encourage those states who have declined to expand Medicaid via ACA, to do so through their own state plans or waivers. http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/229920-medicaid-expansion-is-next-top-healthcare-challenge-advocates-say

We can make a difference!

Posted in Child Welfare | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Polling Data Showing Strong Support for Investments in Children and Youth

Posted by lboyd544 on October 23, 2014

The Children’s Leadership Council has released the results of a new national public opinion poll that finds that an overwhelming 79 percent of Americans favor investing more federal funds in programs that improve the lives of children and youth across the age spectrum from birth to adulthood. And by a strong 18-point margin, Americans say that investing more in children’s health, education and well-being (54%) should be a higher priority today than reducing taxes (36%).

These findings are timely, coming as they do on the eve of national elections and during a period when the majority of American families are contending with a slow economic recovery and growing inequality. Nearly one in five children and young adults in the U.S. live in poverty, and many struggle to make ends meet. As advocates, we know that government investments can work—this month’s Census data show that federal anti-poverty programs like SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit lifted millions of children out of poverty last year. The new poll results indicate that the majority of Americans also believe such supports are essential in helping families navigate today’s economy.

As Congress makes decisions on the federal budget and debates the worthiness and effectiveness of federal programs, it is our hope that these findings will help you and your organizations make the case for investing—not cutting—critical services for children, youth and families.

To make it easy to share this information, in educating elected officials, the media and others, including:
A memo and PowerPoint presentation on the poll and its results
Sample social media posts and shareable graphics
A customizable blog post, with quotes
Short blurbs for your site and e-newsletters
A recording of the researchers walking through the findings
These and more are available at bit.ly/CLCpoll.

Posted in Child Welfare | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CONGRESS SHOULD NOT PUSH CHILDREN OVER THE “FISCAL CLIFF”

Posted by lboyd544 on December 16, 2012

The looming “fiscal cliff” will result in automatic tax increases and spending cuts unless a deal is reached before year’s end. To not come to some resolution will do profound harm to Oklahoma’s children.

Nearly one-quarter of Oklahoma’s children live in poverty.  About two-thirds relied on either Medicaid or food stamps during 2011. The Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, Unemployment Insurance and food stamps prevented thousands more Oklahoma families from falling further into poverty last year. Yet the automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1 would devastate these programs.

A single mother raising two kids in Oklahoma on a full-time minimum wage salary currently gets a $7,000 tax credit check thanks to the Earned Income and Child tax credit.  That check could disappear.  The additional burden would be equivalent to a $3.50 per hour pay cut.

Republican Congressman Tom Cole recently strayed from the position of House leadership when he said in a private meeting that we should lock in tax cuts for the middle class now and postpone fighting over tax increases for higher-income earners until later. Representative Cole should be applauded for being part of a serious discussion about a critical issue.

As important as it is to avoid the fiscal cliff, we must also make sure that any deal doesn’t ultimately do as much damage as the automatic cuts. The solution is a balanced approach that includes new revenue and spending cuts – as has been endorsed by at least two bipartisan deficit reduction commissions.

Several core principles should be reflected in any deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.  First, it must not exacerbate either poverty or income inequality.

Any deal must also eliminate the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would account for nearly half the projected growth in the nation’s debt for the foreseeable future.

There should be no harmful changes to the Medicaid and food stamp programs that are the safety net preventing even more Oklahoma children from living in poverty.

Congress should also be careful not to simply shift burdens to the states. Additional cuts should take into account the $1.5 trillion in reductions to non-defense discretionary spending that have already been made.

The fiscal cliff represents a monumental challenge for our nation, and spending cuts must be part of the solution.  But we must avoid cuts that will save a little now only to cost us far more in social, public safety, corrections, and education costs later.  We must be even more careful not to solve our fiscal problems on the backs of defenseless children who did nothing to cause the problems we confront today. We will need them healthy and well-educated to lead our country for many years to come and confront the long lingering challenges of getting the federal budget under control.

Posted in Child Welfare, Events, News and politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Election Day is upon us!

Posted by lboyd544 on October 31, 2012

Yesterday I attended a fascinating Forum sponsored by and for members of Leadership Oklahoma. The guest presenter for the afternoon was journalist Bill Bishop, author of the best selling book the Big Sort. In his book, Mr. Bishop uses demographic data from across the country to show how Americans have been sorting ourselves into extremely homogeneous communities in the past 30 years. Most disconcerting, he demonstrates how dangerous to the basic tenets of our country and to democracy this sorting is. We ‘sort’ on the basis of education, income, and lifestyle. We choose who and what we will believe, and we have become so ideologically inbred and polarized that we don’t understand or communicate with others who may live only blocks away, much less with those who are of different ethnic, religious, political, educational, or experiential backgrounds.

While we may think of the ‘world at our fingertips’ due to the advances of technology and the easy access to the web, smart phones, and TV channels, our worlds individually have actually shrunk to a few like-minded neighbors or civic groups who think like we do, choose like we do, and live like we do. As a result, extremism in ideology and politics has grown; tolerance of differences has diminished.

The most scary result of this sorting, which we see on any day of the year, is our inability as a nation to act collectively to tackle and resolve urgent challenges: budget, spending, health care, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and so on. The data supports this premise from Mr. Bishop that politics is no longer about solving the nation’s problems; it is about showing ideological commitment to a political party.

There is a crucial election next week. Will you vote on ideology? Will you educate yourself on the candidates thoroughly from various objective references, not your ‘favorites’? Will you study state questions that might be on your ballot?

Or will you vote, as we seem to be doing way too much, on innuendo, prejudice, emotion, party….fear….anger?

America is the land of opportunity. At least it was once. Yet if we are now ‘sorted’ and intolerant, and I believe we are, we must cast our votes for President and all candidates from a lens of who will listen to various voices, who will keep in mind those who seem to have no voice (the children, the poor…), and who will work from the center and reach out to all sides for discussion and consideration?

Sadly, being a ‘moderate’, i.e. governing from the middle, is rarely successful any more in elections. Ideology gets the money and the votes.

We need courageous and informed voters to secure our country’s future and to return us to a country welcoming differences as richness, not imposition. Please ‘go carefully into this dark night’.

Posted in Events | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Good Business (and Community) Sense – part 2

Posted by lboyd544 on September 10, 2012

Last week I talked about the new money for Oklahoma (and most states) through expansion of Medicaid to 113% Federal Poverty Level.  This week let’s ‘drill down’ on that.

  1. The Medicaid Expansion will help free up state and local spending that now goes to uncompensated care. State and local governments help offset the cost of care that is provided to uninsured patients who cannot afford to pay—paying an estimated 30% of the cost of uncompensated care. In Oklahoma, uncompensated care would be reduced from $886M annually to $277M, a drop of $609M or 69%. (figures from OHCA)
  2. The Medicaid Expansion will reduce state spending on mental health services for lower-income, uninsured patients. This includes spending on state mental hospitals, hospital emergency rooms and community health clinics. This spending has been growing over time, with state and local governments covering 42% of the cost of state mental health expenditures by 2009. Full Medicaid Expansion is estimated to save between $11 and $22 billion in funds states will otherwise spend on mental health programs from 2014-2019.
  3. The Medicaid Expansion will enable states to continue using health care provider assessments as part of their state matching funds. Although federal Medicaid funding to states is open-ended (i.e. a state entitlement), it is limited by a states’ ability to raise its matching share. Oklahoma has taken advantage of federal provisions that place assessments on hospitals and other health care providers that are then used to match (and draw down additional) federal dollars. In fact, this effort was led by the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Without the Medicaid Expansion, hospitals and other providers may be unwilling or unable to pay these assessments, resulting in the loss of federal funds and a negative impact state revenues.
  4. (One of my biggest concerns as a taxpayer!)The Medicaid Expansion will keep residents’ federal taxes flowing into our State. Almost every state resident pays federal taxes, and federal dollars will fund the Medicaid Expansion. Taxpayers residing in states that do not implement the Expansion will be paying out dollars to states that do expand, states like CA, CT, CO, DC, MN, MO, NJ, WA, which have already obtained approval for Medicaid Expansions.

Please talk to your legislators about this cost savings measure. This is more than ‘politics’ or Obamacare. This is about real money, real savings, ….real people!

More next week….

Posted in Data and Statistics, Human Services | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

As The World Turns…..

Posted by lboyd544 on June 9, 2011

Indeed, the budget conversations in DC do seem like a soap opera. AND the world is watching.

If we do not finalize a new debt ceiling by Aug. 2nd, the faith and credit of the US government will be in default for the first time ever. As it is, several major international financial standards have reduced or threatened to reduce the US credit standing now due to our lack of resolution and clear commitment to our budget and debt situation.

These are indeed very tough decisions. Surely there are many details and considerations that must be understood both in the immediate future and in the long-term.

I do not profess to have the answers. However, I do know that if the budget that has passed the House, which would force WIC- the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – to turn away 200,000 to 350,000 eligible low-income women and young children next year (-2,300 to -4,000 women and children impacted in Oklahoma alone), is allowed to become law, then the values of the Congress are not the values of most Americans.

Similarly, the House budget plan converts SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps) into a “block grant” program and cuts SNAP funding by $127 billion in the 2012‐2021 period. This would eliminate millions of Americans from the program at a time when they have been forced to seek help – many for the first time – due to the problems in our economy. Again, if this is allowed to happen, the values of this Congress are not the values of most Americans.

A blatant omission of Congress’s duties has been to omit consideration of revenue enhancements (i.e. raising revenue, restricting tax breaks, etc.). These discussions must be, but have not been, a part of any balanced discussion about the US budget and economy.

One does not need to know all the answers to understand that hungry Americans cannot be the productive workforce we need. Desperate people often behave badly and dangerously in their homes and communities when driven to despair. Babies cannot grow their brains and bodies for future health and productivity if adequate nutrition is withheld. Children cannot become the leaders we need for the future when hunger prevents them from learning, imagining, and creating the skills our country will need.

The US budget IS a moral document as much as a fiscal plan and guide. Cutting WIC and SNAP are immoral when no alternative is offered to feed America.

Posted in Child Welfare | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let’s not be short-sighted

Posted by lboyd544 on March 12, 2011

For several years we have been appropriately forewarned about the need to control the US federal debt. The current Administration provided important relief through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Some would say the Administration simply postponed the inevitable. Regardless, it is disingenuous to feign too much surprise that all states, except North Dakota and Alaska, face major budget challenges at this time.

The majority of Americans support that we get our fiscal house in order and cease from strangling future generations with this burden of debt. How we go about doing that is another matter of debate and great consternation to those of us who consider ourselves child and family advocates.

Current proposals to cut funding for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children supplemental food and health services program for low income families), Community Block Grants, Head Start, youth job training programs, community health centers, substance abuse treatment, and IDEA (funds for special education services) also threaten  those very future generations we propose to protect. If we deny our children – yes, they are our children – a sound foundation of health, education, housing, and individual opportunity, how do we expect them to have the skills to lead effectively, make decisions wisely and compassionately, and confront future challenges to society and government with determination when it becomes their turns at the reigns of this great country?

Why is production of more or new military weapons, including those recommended for elimination by Pentagon officials, so sacrosanct?  

Indeed, the America of tomorrow will need many of today’s youth as engineers, scientists, and members of our military ranks. We will also need doctors, teachers, nurses, and entrepreneurs.

The question is will they have those opportunities when we know today that developing young brains, encouraging healthy bodies, and providing stable  living environments are the keys to competent, secure and productive tomorrow?

Posted in Child Welfare | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Unto the least of these……

Posted by lboyd544 on February 9, 2011

I, too, worry about the national debt and the legacy our grandchildren will face if we do not reverse our fiscal course. Yet, I cannot be comfortable with the proposed cuts announced yesterday from the House GOP: WIC cut of $378M, Community Services Block Grants $405M, Maternal and Child Health Block Grants $210M, Community Health Centers $1.3B.
I’m sure others have their own cuts that bring intense heartburn.
It is a tough, tough situation. WWJD?

Posted in Child Welfare | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »