Child Welfare in the 21st Century

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Posts Tagged ‘health care’

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


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Changing the conversation about what is important.

Posted by lboyd544 on April 24, 2013

To quote a good friend and true champion of children, Bruce Lesley, CEO of First Focus, “In America, a child’s ability should determine his or her future, not the circumstances of his or her birth.”

Democrats and Republicans surely agree with that statement. However,  our responsibilities as citizens, leaders, advocates, family members, voters, and stewards of our democracy and our earth  begin with that statement. Sadly, policy makers too often respond to this truism as permission to ignore investing in vulnerable children and families.

We know that access to early childhood teaching, to books and other learning experiences,  and to healthy nutrition and medical care are essential for brain development and lifelong potential. Yet the consequences of sequester have cut Headstart programs for vulnerable youth. Poor families are under attack in accessing SNAP (food stamps) in a variety of federal and state proposals from cuts to the SNAP program funding across the country to new work requirements for parents to be eligible for food stamps to the unresponsiveness of state workers to calls and applications from local citizens.

We know that children access necessary medical care more readily when their parents also have access to medical care. Yet too many states are refusing to expand Medicaid in spite of federal assurances that 100% of expansion costs will be covered for the first three years.  (Why not at least try expansion to see if it works/is affordable? States with questions and concerns can drop out of the expansion at any time!)  At the Congressional level, elected officials are doing their best to stop implementation of the Affordable Care Act without reasonable alternatives for the very popular aspects of ACA that families overwhelmingly welcome:  ending of preexisting conditions, equalization of insurance rates for women and men, extension of young people being able to remain on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26…

We know that children need caring and healthy adults in order to have physical and emotional stability. Yet the gap between rich and poor widens daily while the ‘middle class’ evaporates. Congress argues tax policy that protects the “have’s” and gives little leadership to equalizing economic and tax reform for the majority of our nation’s working class. As parents struggle with joblessness and underemployment, depression and domestic violence are on the rise. Child abuse and neglect rates are increasing. Families are fractured emotionally, geographically, and legally.

Sixty percent of children nationally who are subject of maltreatment reports in any given year receive no mental health services . 

What happens to the dreams, the ambitions, and the potential of children whose lives are too chaotic for their abilities to survive the circumstances of their birth? What are the dreams of a child living in poverty or living in a home of violence?  Are those dreams career? Philanthropy? Home ownership? College?  …hardly.

This nation can continue to be a nation of opportunity. But will it/we – for the immigrant family, the family in poverty, the child or adult suffering from mental or physical illness, the veteran with PTSD?

We must implore our federally and state elected officials to act on these matters crucial to families and children: quality affordable and accessible health care,  opportunities for mental health care, jobs that offer a salary which can support a stable home and shelter, access to educational opportunities from early Headstart to college, and an adequately paid workforce of educators and law enforcement officers to keep all our communities growing and safe.

I’ve had enough of the chest-pounding and fist-pumping of politicians who think only of their next election and cutting spending. It is only with input from citizens that we can inform them of what truly matters in our communities and for their constituents. Tell them what is important to you. Eventually, I do believe we can get their attention; but it will take a citizen army of voices.

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Oklahomans: call Gov. Fallin. Other state: check this out.

Posted by lboyd544 on November 19, 2012

Oklahoma Gov. Fallin’s office is soliciting calls from citizens for/against OK creating its own health care exchange AND expansion of Medicaid.

I support both.Oklahoma filed a federal lawsuit (the ONLY state to do so on this matter), which argues that subsidies can only flow through state-based exchanges, not a federally run fallback. If that argument succeeds in the courts, only a few states will have functional exchanges and the law’s coverage expansion will be eviscerated.

This makes it extra-important for OK to have its own exchange in case the lawsuit prevails.

As you have read from earlier posts on this site, OK stands to benefit from Medicaid expansion as well. Not only do we cover more citizens, but the feds pick up 100% of the cost for 3 yrs. The fed contribution then declines until 2020 when it levels permanently at 90%. However, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority estimates that even our 10% contribution equals a ‘zero sum’ when compared to costs for emergency room use now and other costs we pay today. Above that ‘zero cost’, we increase health care industry jobs.

Please consider calling Gov. Fallin today at 405-521-2342.

We must let her know how we feel. She will be making decisions largely on public input on these.

For those of you in other states, the Oklahoma scenario may be quite similar. Please investigate your Governor’s stance on both Exchanges and Medicaid expansion.

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Expanding Medicaid for Parents Helps Children

Posted by lboyd544 on September 15, 2012

Expanding Medicaid to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for working (full-time or part-time) and for unemployed parents is good for kids!
  • 1- Expansion has the potential to cut the rate of uninsured kids by 40%.  Most of that reduction comes from covering their parents and enrolling eligible kids at the same time.
  • 2- Children are more likely to receive preventive care and other health care services that they need to be healthy and stay healthy if their parents also receive health care.
  • 3- Parents’ health can affect children’s health and well-being, such as their ability to get to school ready to learn.
Regardless of party, age, geography, ethnicity and any other demographic, we all believe that America’s kids should be able to enter school – and stay in school – healthy and ready to learn. The future leadership of our country depends on a healthy populace for business and finance success, for human services and education, for transportation and manufacturing, for law and politics, and for all sectors of our economy and our society.
Expanding Medicaid is good business and good community sense!

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Behaviors demonstrate our values….in emergencies and for long-term.

Posted by lboyd544 on August 6, 2012

We are all grateful to the professional and the volunteer firefighters in Oklahoma for their heroism and sacrifice these past few days putting our fire fires throughout the state. Similarly, we give thanks for no serious injuries to anyone and that damage has not been worse. In typical Oklahoma-standard style, communities have rallied behind those who have lost so many personal homes and treasures. We have provided well for firefighters and for those in shelters trying to make sense of ‘next steps’.

This is who WE are in Oklahoma. When their is a need, we respond…compassionately and effectively. These are our values.

There is one on-going tragedy that we must not forget: Oklahoma is the 5th highest state for citizens with food insecurity worries. This hunger hits young and old alike.

For children especially, 24% of Oklahoma’s kids are hungry. Just as many live in families where someone is working, but whose incomes remain below the poverty level. Most of these same families have no health insurance…and when they finally are severely ill enough to seek help, they head to emergency rooms where you and I pick up the tab through our own insurance premiums and costs.

Surely our Oklahoma values include food, shelter, and access to health care for all Oklahomans, just as we expect Oklahomans to work, pay taxes, and contribute to the common good through their actions.

Let us not forget this challenge/emergency either as we breathe in a sigh of relieve today that one crisis (fires) might be under control.  We have work to do and similarly need courage, heroism, and sacrifice by Oklahoma leaders and citizens…just as we received from the firefighters.

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