Children's Issues to Watch
Children's Issues to Watch
North Country Matters: Empire State Campaign for Child Care - Blue Carreker, the Upstate Organizer for the Citizen Action of New York, outlines the founding of a new organization in New York State called the Empire State Campaign for Child Care. This group, made up of over 100 state-wide organizations, is focusing on improving the quality and availability of child care in the state. Her discussion with North Country Matters host Donna Seymour looks at the current problems with availability, the high costs of child care in NY, and some strategies for moving the issue onto the front burner in the legislature next year. (Filmed Oct. 31, 2017)
North Country Matters: The Child Care Crisis in NY - Blue Carreker, the Upstate Organizer for the Citizen Action of New York & Public Policy and Education Fund of New York, talks with NCM host Donna Seymour about the crises in child care in New York State. Lack of quality, affordable childcare is a drag on our economy. They discuss the gap between the needs and the available services and what can be done to bridge those gaps. (April 21, 2017)
The PowHer the Vote 2017 campaign is focusing on Child Care and Early Education in preparation for Election Day, Nov. 7.
Updated: November 9, 2017
- Many Low-Income Families Struggle to Cover Child Care Costs, Study Finds - A new report finds that child care is out of reach for many low-income families in the United States. The report notes that funding for these programs has declined since 2001. Karen Schulman is NWLC's child care and early learning research director and the lead author of the report. She calls the findings discouraging.
- St. Lawrence County Head Start has openings for children and families to apply around the county - The program offers all-inclusive services at no cost to families for children ages 3-5 in two options, home-based and center-based. “We support learning through play and guided activities,” Head Start said in a prepared statement. “We build strong relationships as the foundation of early learning. Head Start promotes language and literacy development, early math and science concepts, and positive attitudes toward learning. Physical development is promoted both indoors and outdoors.”
- The Cost of Inaction on Universal Preschool - Despite research showing the benefits of preschool, American children have uneven access to quality affordable programs. In the 2015-16 school year only 32 percent of 4-year-olds across the United States attended state preschool programs.
As a result, the United States loses money that would otherwise be saved or earned throughout a child’s lifetime. Based on recent research that quantifies long-term economic outcomes in states that have high-quality preschool, a new Center for American Progress analysis concludes the United States would expect to see a net benefit of more than $83.3 billion for each one-year cohort of 4-year-olds. In other words, every year that policymakers delay a universal preschool investment, the United States loses billions of dollars that come from preschool’s economic benefits. When it comes to our children these are benefits that the United States can no longer afford to ignore.
- The Importance of Child Care Safety Protections - Child care safety protections have garnered bipartisan support. In 2014, Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and included additional safety protections for child care programs. States have also been making gradual progress toward improving child care standards. This issue brief discusses the importance of child care safety protections and explores how these protections can help ensure that parents are able to choose among child care providers who provide safe, high-quality child care. Deregulating the child care system would be a step in the wrong direction for families and providers alike, and millions of children’s lives would be put at risk as a result.
- States Running Out of Cash for Children's Health Insurance - Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired a month ago, and states are dipping into unspent money or asking for help from the Trump administration to maintain coverage until Congress reaches a deal to extend it. Some states, like Virginia and Utah, are considering sending notices out to enrollees saying they may lose coverage without action from Congress. Advocates worry the notices could cause confusion among the families of the 9 million children who receive insurance through the program, potentially leading to a decline in enrollment. It’s a catch-22 for the states. They don’t want consumers to panic unnecessarily, but they also want to ensure there’s time for enrollees to find new coverage, if it comes to that.
- Trump’s Plan for the Child Tax Credit Does Not Meet Working Families’ Needs - President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) have vowed to overhaul the nation’s tax system, introducing a plan on September 27, 2017, that will cut taxes for the wealthy at the expense of working families. The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has teamed up with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to advocate for an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) as part of that plan. Not surprisingly, the Trump tax plan is specific on tax cuts for higher earners but provides no details on the amount of increase to the CTC. But even a significant increase to the CTC would not be enough to offset the significant losses many working families would experience under Trump’s overall tax plan.
- Cuomo sign Simotas’ bill to provide life-saving baby boxes to new parents - The baby boxes, which are designed for infants 6 months old or younger, will be distributed in areas of the state with the highest infant mortality rates. Each box has a firm mattress with a fitted sheet which are two key elements for safe sleep. Parents will be given educational information on the dangers of co-sleeping and the risks posed by blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and loose bedding. Many parents of newborns have no idea that these seemingly innocent items in a crib can put a sleeping baby at risk.
LI>Trump Prioritizes Tax Cut for Multimillionaires over Child Care for Working Families - The White House recently released a tax reform proposal that would repeal the estate tax, among other provisions. Repealing the estate tax would result in $240 billion in tax cuts for millionaires over the next 10 years. These cuts will only reach the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans. The $240 billion in tax breaks for the wealthy could help the families of 4.2 million young children under age 5 pay for an entire year of child care. The table in this column demonstrates how many children could receive child care assistance in each state in 2021 if President Trump and his congressional allies choose child care assistance over tax breaks for the wealthy. In NYS, it would mean 248,000 children!
- Report Seeks Help for Low-Income Student Parents - A new report from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution calls for a new grant program to address unmet needs of low-income student parents. The report -- "Helping Women to Succeed in Higher Education: Supporting Student Parents With Child Care" -- finds that in 2011, there were more than five million students who had dependents of their own and that 3.4 million students are estimated to be mothers, of which two million are single parents.
- School District Leaders Say Early Education Needed, But Underfunded - More than three-quarters of American public school superintendents say that early-childhood care and education means "a great deal" to a child's future success—but that they work in states that are investing too little in it.
- NY starts new tax free savings accounts for the disa - The State Comptroller has announced that New York joins 28 other states in offering a program that will help people disabled children save money for their future. The program is modeled on the college savings program, which is also operated by the Comptroller’s office. It allows an account to be set up in the name of any New Yorker diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26. Friends and relatives can contribute up to $14,000 a year for a total of $100,000 and the money can be used tax free to help pay for the disabled person’s education, housing, transportation and other expenses.
- Special session idea No. 3: Children’s health insurance funding - State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker wrote to the Trump administration on Wednesday to warn that if Congress does not renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the coming weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo “will have no choice but to call” lawmakers back to Albany for a special session.
- Child-Care Rating System Effective in Nudging Centers, Parents to High Quality - Nearly all states—with a substantial financial boost in recent years from the U.S. Department of Education—have created or are working to build rating systems for their child-care programs. The theory is that parents will seek out higher-rated providers and that the evaluation system gives an incentive to child-care centers to improve themselves. And a new working paper released by the National Bureau for Economic Research suggests that in North Carolina, both are happening. The study also showed that lower-rated programs dropped in enrollment, which suggests that parents preferred programs that met a higher standard.
- Congress fails to extend bill providing health care for 9M kids - Nine million kids are on the verge of being uninsured after Congress failed to extend a Clinton-era bill that helps children in middle-class families obtain affordable health care. Congress missed the deadline to review the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) on Saturday, putting several states in jeopardy of losing money when the program expires. CHIP cost the federal government $13.6 billion in 2016. The program’s benefits vary in each state, but it offers routine checkups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescriptions and other services.
- Republican Congress will allow funding to lapse on children's health, safety-net health programs - Funding for CHIP, which provides health insurance for nearly 9 million children nationwide, expires this Saturday. The Senate Finance committee has worked for months on a bill to reauthorize it for the next five years, but the work was pushed to the back burner as Republicans chose instead to spend weeks taking one last unsuccessful run at repealing Obamacare. Most states won't be able to continue programs into 2018 without the new reauthorization. Community health centers are in the same boat, set to lose 70 percent of their funding by October 1. That could lead to the closure of 2,800 facilities nationwide and the loss of 50,000 jobs, and health care for 25 million Americans.
- New study looks at children's exposure to gun violence< - Are children who see movie characters use guns more likely to use them? One study from Ohio State University says it seems to increase the chances. The trigger of the play gun had a sensor on it to track how often it was pulled.The kids who saw the guns in the movie pulled 2.8 times, while kids who had seen the edited version with no guns pulled the trigger .01 times. Cook says monitoring kid’s media is one of the most important steps to lessening interests in guns. 32% of children in the study who found the gun reported it to the researchers.
- One-third of Native American and African American children are (still) in poverty - There was a modest decline in the child poverty rate in 2016—from 19.7 percent to 18.0 percent—according to new data from the Census Bureau. This is welcome news, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In a new Economic Snapshot, EPI’s Janelle Jones points out that the big-picture numbers mask stark and persistent differences in poverty rates by race. With poverty rates of 33.8 percent and 30.8 percent, respectively, Native American children and African American children are roughly three times more likely to be in poverty than white children (at 10.8 percent). The poverty rate for Hispanic children is also relatively high, at 26.6 percent.
- UK: One in Four Girls Is Depressed at Age 14 - New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14. The lead author, Dr Praveetha Patalay from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: "In recent years, there has been a growing policy focus on children's mental health. However, there has been a lack of nationally representative estimates of mental health problems for this generation. "In other research, we've highlighted the increasing mental health difficulties faced by girls today compared to previous generations and this study further highlights the worryingly high rates of depression."
- Premature births cost health plans $6 billion annually - Approximately 1 in 10 infants in the U.S. are born prematurely -- at less than 37 weeks' gestation -- which affects survival and quality of life. While many infants are healthy despite not being full term, a small percentage of premature infants who survive require extraordinary and expensive medical care that can extend beyond infancy. The researchers found that employer-sponsored plans included in the study spent about $2 billion on care of infants born in 2013. Of that total, just over one-third was spent on 8 percent of the infants born prematurely.
- GOP will spend less than 2 minutes debating a bill to decide health care for 40 million kids - The latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare would be the most brutal cut to child health care in modern politics. Medicaid provides health care to 30 million children, and half of all births are covered by the program. Cuts this deep would force states to kick millions of kids and new mothers off their coverage. Furthermore, Medicaid also funds occupational and speech therapy for millions of special needs students in public schools all across the country. These programs would be cut in droves if Medicaid funding falls, further hurting the most vulnerable.
- Colleges Are Adding Luxe Perks To Lure Students. But Daycare? Too Expensive - There are more than 4.8 million undergraduate parents on campuses nationwide — that's one in four undergraduates today. While some of those students are young married couples starting families on the early side, or older adults heading back to school post-kids, many of these young college parents are female, single, and totally lacking the child care resources necessary to actually complete four years of higher education. Student parents rack up more student debt than most (25% more for a bachelor's degree, on average), and drop out at higher rates than their child-free peers (only 27% of single student parents finish a bachelor's degree within 6 years, versus about 56% of their child-free peers). For this group in particular, the cycle of enrolling and dropping out can compound an already vicious cycle of poverty, both for moms and eventually for their kids, too (research shows kids of parents without a degree don’t fare as well as the those of college grads).
- Suicide rate among teen girls reaches 40-year high - In 2015, five girls out of every 100,000 between the ages of 15 and 19 committed suicide in the United States. The rate is double what it was in 2007, and the highest in 40 years for that age group, according to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. But the rising rate among females is troubling, suicide-prevention advocates said, and signals a need for parents and educators to address the stigma of suicidal thoughts and behavior.
- When it comes to sex, dating, and drinking, 18 is the new 15 for American teens - According to a huge new study, adolescents in the 2010s were less likely date, drink alcohol, go out without their parents, and have sex than teens in every generation since the 1970s. Fewer of them have paying jobs or drive. The trends were widespread, appearing across gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, region of the country, and whether the teens were in urban or rural locations, suggesting “a broad cultural shift.”
- Advocates seek more funding for childhood cancer research - Advocates for childhood cancer say there is a significant gap in funding for this population. Only 4 percent of the cancer research dollars spent nationally is dedicated to pediatric cancer. But a bipartisan measure recently signed into law does give the FDA the authority to study whether adult cancer drugs are safe and effective for children. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
- U.S. Trails Other Industrialized Nations When It Comes to Preschool, Study Finds - The United States lags behind other industrialized nations when it comes to enrolling children in preschool, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD's annual "Education at a Glance" report finds that in 2015 just 43 percent of 3-year-olds in the U.S. were enrolled in preschool. The average enrollment for other countries in the OECD was 73 percent. Denmark, France, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom had the highest rates of enrollment for 3-year-olds. Each exceeded 96 percent. The U.S. did a little better in enrolling 4-year-olds in preschool with 66 percent taking advantage of early-childhood education in 2015. But that still trailed the OECD average of 87 percent.
- 2 Million Parents Forced to Make Career Sacrifices Due to Problems with Child Care - The exorbitant cost of child care has become a significant burden for parents who need it to support their families. Millions of parents must make an impossible choice between paying more than they can afford for child care; settling for cheaper, lower-quality care; and leaving the workforce altogether. Parents who decide to leave the workforce to become full-time caregivers stand to lose much more than just their salaries, earning less in benefits and retirement savings over the long run. New data from the National Survey of Children’s Health further shed light on this issue. CAP analysis of this data reveals that in 2016 alone, nearly 2 million parents of children age 5 and younger had to quit a job, not take a job, or greatly change their job because of problems with child care. As a national discussion around the cost, quality, accessibility, and supply of child care continues, policymakers must consider the direct impacts that lack of child care has on parents’ ability to work.
- Deal Struck to Extend Financing for Children’s Health Program - The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the top Democrat on the panel announced on Tuesday night that they had reached agreement on a plan to prevent the imminent exhaustion of federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Nearly nine million children receive health insurance through the program, on which the federal government has been spending about $14 billion a year. The program is for children in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage.
- Home Visiting Programs Are Vital for Maternal and Infant Health - Decades of research prove that home visiting can promote healthy child development and academic success, improve health outcomes, and support families’ economic security in both the short and long terms. This issue brief explores how home visiting programs—specifically, evidence-based programs funded by the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program—address three key maternal risk factors that directly influence maternal and child health and disproportionately affect mothers who participate in home visiting: postpartum depression, domestic violence, and tobacco use.
- Children's Trauma Lasts Long After Disasters, Studies Show - While floodwaters may recede in a matter of days or weeks, students in communities hit by natural disaster often face disruptions for months or years, including missed school, living in a shelter or a home under repair, and experiencing family financial and emotional stress. One large-scale analysis of studies of children after natural and manmade disasters found they often reported symptoms of trauma—such as intrusive memories and feelings of detachment—that adults did not observe. "PTS [post-traumatic stress] may manifest largely without parents' awareness," found the study by researchers at Boston and Temple universities. "Observable symptoms of PTS may occur only in situations outside of the home, e.g., at school."
- A Blueprint for Child Care Reform - The United States can do better for the millions of families struggling with the high cost of child care. Prioritizing child care puts families first and helps children succeed in school and life. It’s an investment in our education system and our future workforce and is one the country cannot afford to ignore. This report outlines a progressive vision for child care reform that guarantees financial assistance on a sliding-scale basis for middle- and low-income families with children ages 12 or younger and children with disabilities up to age 18.
- Mapping America’s Child Care Deserts - In this report, the authors describe child care deserts as areas with little or no access to quality child care. Child care is an essential part of employment infrastructure; as with roads and bridges, parents require child care to get to work. By investing in child care infrastructure as much as it does in bridges and roads, the federal government can support economic growth and family economic security.
- Few Children Follow Preschool Obesity-Prevention Guidelines, Study Finds - Preschoolers don't eat enough healthy foods or get enough exercise, according to a new study by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Less than 1 percent met the physical activity guidelines, while only 17 percent consumed at least five servings of fruit and vegetables. Half of the students refrained from drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, while 81 percent had less than two hours of screen time.
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