Kids Count Report – Nebraska

  • Report: Nebraskans working hard, but falling behind — and kids are paying the price, By Erin Andersen, January 29, 2015, Lincoln Journal Star: “Nearly 41 percent of Nebraska kids — more than two out of every five — are growing up in a low-income family. The vast majority have parents working one, two or more jobs. A disproportionate number of these children are minorities. Those are among the findings of the 2014 Kids Count Report in Nebraska. The report, released Thursday, measures child well-being in economic stability, health, education, child welfare and juvenile justice. It’s intended to provide policymakers with strong data about Nebraska’s children and families…”
  • Number of low-income kids in Nebraska rose from 2005-2013, report says, By Betsie Freeman, January 29, 2015, Omaha World-Herald: “The number of Nebraska children growing up in low-income families rose almost 5 percentage points from 2005 to 2013, according to the yearly Kids Count report that will be released today. Last year, nearly 41 percent of the state’s youths came from low-income households, compared with 36.5 percent eight years earlier, according to statistics compiled by Voices for Children in Nebraska, the advocacy group for young people that produces the report. A low-income household is one in which wage-earners make below 200 percent of the federal poverty line…”

Low-Income Public School Students

The growing poverty problem in America’s schools, By Tami Luhby, January 29, 2015, CNN Money: “The majority of children in America’s public schools now are low-income. And that has major implications for the future of the nation’s workforce. The share of schoolkids who qualify for free or reduced lunches crossed the 50% threshold in 2013, according to a recent Southern Education Foundation report. That compares to fewer than 32% back in 1989. Students eligible for subsidized school lunches come from families who are in poverty or just above it. A child living with a single parent would qualify if the family’s income was less than $28,000. A family of four would receive free or reduced lunches if their income was less than $42,600…”

Income Gap – Florida

Income gap in Florida among highest in U.S., By Ledyard King, January 29, 2015, Florida Today: “Few states reflect the growing gap between the rich and not-so-rich as much as Florida, two studies released this week show. The wealthiest 1 percent of Floridians saw their incomes grow nearly 40 percent between 2009, when the Great Recession officially ended, and 2012, according to one analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. The analysis by the progressive Washington think tank showed that over the same period, other state residents saw their incomes decline an average 7.1 percent…”

Children Receiving SNAP Benefits

  • Almost twice as many kids helped by food stamps than before recession, By Olivia Winslow, January 28, 2015, Newsday: “The number of children receiving benefits from food stamps in 2014 is nearly twice as high as the number receiving such assistance before the start of the recession in 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday. The bureau found that 22 percent of all children under 18 — about 1 in 5 — received food stamps in 2014, or an estimated 16 million, compared with ‘roughly’ 9 million children — about 1 in 8 — in 2007, before the start of the 18-month recession that officially ended in June 2009…”
  • 1 in 5 American kids rely on food stamps, By Aimee Picchi, January 28, 2015, CBS News: “America is a global leader on a number of fronts, including having the largest economy in the world. But here is one area where the U.S., given its general affluence, would rather not distinguish itself: It has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the industrialized world. Even as the economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, 1 in 5 children are on food stamps, the U.S. Census said on Wednesday. Before the housing crash, 1 in 8 received federal food assistance…”
  • Census: 1 in 5 children on food stamps, Associated Press, January 28, 2015, Washington Post: “Sixteen million children were on food stamps as of last year, the highest number since the nation’s economy tumbled in 2008. Numbers released by the Census Bureau Wednesday as part of its annual look at children and families show that one in five children were on food stamp assistance in 2014. The survey was taken last spring…”

Child Welfare System

Report blasts child welfare system: How to better protect US kids?, By Cristina Maza, January 27, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “A new report released Tuesday finds that the United States government is falling woefully short in its attempts to keep the nation’s youngest residents safe. But despite the bleak picture, experts say that programs at the local level, combined with better data collection and tighter federal oversight, could reduce the number of cases of abuse and neglect. The 110-page report by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, titled ‘Shame on the U.S.,’ outlines the failure of all three branches of government to protect children and enforce federal child welfare laws at the state level…”

Welfare Reform – Ohio

John Kasich’s new coordinated welfare approach to start with teens, young adults, By Robert Higgs, January 20, 2015, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Gov. John Kasich will propose new approaches for Ohio’s welfare programs in the budget he unveils Monday, targeting teens and young adults as part of an effort to intervene at an early age to stop poverty. The changes would require individual counties, which administer the assistance programs across the state, to designate a lead entity that will be responsible for coordinating help — assistance programs and job training efforts — and matching them to clients…”

Family Structure and Parenting

Single parent or poverty? Study looks at which affects good parenting most, By Stephanie Hanes, January 28, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “Income level, rather than family structure, has the greatest impact on whether parents read to their children, eat dinner together, or engage in any number of positive parenting practices, according to a new report put out today by the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families. For years, studies have suggested that single parents lag behind married couples when it comes to providing children the sort of enrichment activities that child development experts say have long-term impact on kids’ emotional and cognitive health, such as monitoring media access and facilitating participation in extracurricular activities. But it turns out that those differences all but disappear when income disparities are taken away, according to today’s report…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

  • Gov. Pence gets federal OK for Medicaid alternative, By Shari Rudavsky and Maureen Groppe, January 27, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “After months of wrangling between Gov. Mike Pence and the Obama administration, Indiana won approval to expand its own brand of Medicaid that injects personal responsibility into the healthcare program for the poor. About 350,000 low-income Hoosiers who lack insurance could benefit from the program, whose approved expansion was announced Tuesday, the day enrollment began. Coverage could start as early as Feb. 1. Pence said the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, a revamped version of a program started by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, goes beyond standard Medicaid expansion by requiring that participants contribute to the cost of their care…”
  • Indiana will allow entry to Medicaid for a price, By Abby Goodnough, January 27, 2015, New York Times: “After a lengthy back-and-forth, the Obama administration has agreed to let Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a Republican, expand Medicaid on his own terms, including some that have not been allowed before under federal rules. The plan will extend coverage to an additional 350,000 Indiana residents with incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $16,100 for a single person and $27,310 for a family of three — starting next month. As in the 27 other states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will cover the entire cost through this year and at least 90 percent in future years. But Mr. Pence, like several Republican governors before him, insisted on adding a conservative twist to the expansion, mostly by requiring beneficiaries to pay something toward their coverage…”

State Unemployment Rates in 2014

Jobless-rate moves in 2014: Colorado best, Louisiana worst, By Christopher S. Rugaber (AP), January 27, 2015, ABC News: “Colorado’s unemployment rate fell by a third. Louisiana’s jumped nearly a quarter. Across the country, changes in unemployment rates varied from state to state in 2014, but collectively the numbers pointed to a year of substantial improvement: Jobless rates fell in 46 states, and everyone except Mississippi added jobs. Even Louisiana’s gain masked some good news: The state added a healthy number of jobs — just not enough to keep up with population growth…”

Medicaid Expansion – Kentucky

Kentucky examines Medicaid expansion’s effects, By Chris Kenning and Laura Ungar, January 26, 2015, Louisville Courier-Journal: “One year after Kentucky enacted expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, the health care program for the poor and disabled has grown to serve nearly 1.2 million residents — a quarter of Kentucky’s population. Now, consultants are finalizing a report examining the expansion’s impact on the state’s health care system — and its bottom line — in a review that advocates say will carry important implications and is being watched by other states still considering an expansion. The study, set for release by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in the coming weeks, will explore how the change has affected areas such as provider reimbursements and uncompensated care; whether it’s beginning to create more jobs or tax revenue; and its future enrollment outlook…”

State Welfare Programs – Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Michigan

  • Participation in ‘workfare’ fell sharply in Mass., study finds, By Megan Woolhouse, January 22, 2015, Boston Globe: “Massachusetts has the nation’s lowest participation of welfare recipients working to receive their benefits, undermining one of the key reforms that was intended to move people from public assistance to self-sufficiency, according to a study to be released Thursday by a conservative Beacon Hill think tank. Only 7.3 percent of people receiving welfare benefits in the state held jobs in fiscal 2011, the most recent year for which data were available, according to the Pioneer Institute. That’s roughly one-fourth the national average of about 30 percent…”
  • Walker budget to bar drug users from food stamps, Medicaid, By Jason Stein, January 22, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “With federal approval in doubt, Gov. Scott Walker is moving ahead with his campaign pledge to ensure that drug users aren’t getting public health care, food stamp or jobless benefits. As Walker explores a 2016 presidential bid, the proposal being included in the governor’s Feb. 3 budget bill will help him sell himself to GOP primary voters as a leader committed to overhauling the core programs of government. For the first time Thursday, Walker committed to drug testing recipients of BadgerCare Plus health coverage and also pledged free treatment and job training for those testing positive for drugs…”
  • Snyder’s welfare plan needs ‘mother of all waivers’, By Chad Livengood, January 22, 2015, Detroit News: “Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday the federal government may need to grant Michigan ‘the mother of all waivers’ for his administration to redesign some 145 different social services programs. Snyder’s ambitious ‘river of opportunity’ agenda that he unveiled Tuesday in his State of the State address may involve a complex untangling of a federally financed state bureaucracy for the governor to make government programs more ‘people centric’ instead of program-driven…”

Kids Count Report – Rhode Island

One in five children in R.I. living in poverty, Kids Count report says, By Richard Salit, January 22, 2015, Providence Journal: “A new report finds that more than one in every five children in Rhode Island was living in poverty in 2013, a rate that is little improved since the end of the recession and is worse than the rest of New England. The report, put out by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, says 21.5 percent of children younger than 18 live below the federal poverty level. That’s 44,923 of the state’s 208,700 children, according to the report…”

Immigrants and Health Insurance Coverage – California

Calif. has novel view of health care for undocumented immigrants, By Anna Gorman, January 17, 2015, USA Today: “Angel Torres hasn’t been to the doctor since coming to the United States illegally more than two decades ago. But now, his vision is getting blurry and he frequently feels tired. Torres, 51, worries he might have diabetes like his brothers. ‘Time is passing,’ he said in Spanish. ‘I need to get checked out.’ Torres is in luck. He lives in California, which has a dramatically different approach to health care for undocumented immigrants than most other states…”

Medicaid Reimbursement

  • Paid more, doctors saw more Medicaid patients, Penn study finds, By Don Sapatkin, January 21, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “For two years, the Obama administration dramatically raised Medicaid reimbursements for primary-care physicians in the hope that they would see more poor patients. The idea was that states would jump in to continue at least part of the payments. Few did, and the experiment ended Dec. 31, before researchers could report evidence of an impact. Now they have…”
  • Doctors took on more Medicaid patients when Obamacare boosted their pay, By Tim Darragh, January 22, 2015, “Doctors were much more willing to take on poor and low-income patients when the federal government temporarily boosted Medicaid payments, according to the study published Wednesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests the two-year increase in Medicaid reimbursements as scheduled in the Affordable Care Act helped bring health care to more of the poor and low-income people who are enrolled in the program. But the findings leave some concern the access to care problems those enrollees had before the program began will resume again, since New Jersey is among 35 states that let it expire on Dec. 31…”

Medicaid and Managed-Care – Iowa

Iowa to hire private firms to help run Medicaid, By Tony Leys, January 20, 2015, Des Moines Register: “Gov. Terry Branstad plans to hire a private managed-care company or companies to help run the state’s Medicaid program, legislators and administration officials said Tuesday. Details are scarce on how the plan would work, but Branstad projects it would save $51.3 million from January through June 2016, its first six months. Managed-care arrangements generally involve private companies that oversee large health care programs and that share savings they obtain by making care more efficient. Iowa already has two such contracts for some services under Medicaid. The new arrangement apparently would involve a broad array of services, legislators said…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

Child report: a few improvements in NM, By Rick Nathanson, January 20, 2015, Albuquerque Journal: “It’s not all bad news, but still pretty bad. The 2014 Kids Count data book for New Mexico and produced by New Mexico Voices for Children, says the state saw improvement in just five of the 16 indicators of child well-being. Worse, child poverty—a main factor in poor outcomes— increased from 28 percent in 2012 to 31 percent in 2013, even as it decreased in most of the rest of the nation…”

Oregonian Series on Homelessness in Oregon

Our Homeless Crisis: A close look at homelessness in Oregon starts this weekend, By Anna Griffin, January 16, 2014, The Oregonian: “This weekend, we’ll publish the first story in a project that started last spring with a question, one readers ask anytime The Oregonian/ writes about poverty, panhandling or illegal camps: Is homelessness worse in Portland, or does it just feel that way? To find out, reporter Anna Griffin interviewed national experts, elected officials, nonprofit organizers, advocates for the poor, social workers, police officers, doctors, volunteers and dozens of men and women who are either homeless now or recently got indoors…”

Low-Income Public School Students

Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty, By Lyndsey Layton, January 16, 2015, Washington Post: “For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation. The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible under the federal program for free and reduced-price lunches in the 2012-2013 school year. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers…”

Extreme Poverty – Rochester, NY

Report: Rochester tops ‘extreme poverty’ list, By David Riley, January 9, 2015, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: “This is not the kind of national list that Rochester-area residents hope to top. Rochester now has more people living at less than half the federal poverty level than any other similarly-sized city in the U.S., says a report released Thursday by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and its ACT Rochester initiative. For a family of four, that means getting by on less than $11,925 a year — conditions that the report described as ‘extreme poverty.’ Another unfortunate distinction: Rochester is now the only city of its size where slightly more than half of children live in poverty, according to the report…”