Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

  • A new generation of caregivers takes control of kids, By Carol Morello, September 10, 2010, Washington Post: “The number of children being raised by their grandparents has risen sharply since the start of the recession in 2007, according to a new Pew Research Center study that found one in 10 children in the U.S. now lives with a grandparent. The trend was most noticeable among whites, Pew said in its analysis of census data. Those whites who were primary caregivers for their grandchildren rose 9 percent from 2007 to 2008, compared with a 2 percent increase among black grandparents and no change among Hispanics. In all, 2.9 million children are being raised mainly by at least one grandparent, or 4 percent of all children. For most of the decade, the number of children having a grandparent as their primary caretaker rose slowly and steadily, Pew noted. But as the economy soured, the rise was sudden and steep. Three quarters of the 8 percent total increase since 2000 in the number of grandparents raising their children’s kids occurred in the year following the official start of the recession in December 2007…”
  • New report: more grandparents raising grandkids, By David Crary (AP), September 9, 2010, Boston Globe: “The number of U.S. children being raised by their grandparents rose sharply as the recession began, according to a new analysis of census data. The reasons, while somber, were not all economic. These grandparents often give themselves high marks as caregivers, but many face distinctive stresses as they confront unanticipated financial burdens and culture shock that come with the responsibilities of child-raising. In all, roughly 7 million U.S. children live in households that include at least one grandparent, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the most recent Census Bureau data, from 2008. Of that number, 2.9 million were being raised primarily by their grandparents — up 16 percent from 2000, with a 6 percent surge just from 2007 to 2008…”

Maine Poverty Report

Poverty hits rural Maine the hardest, By Eric Russell, September 9, 2010, Bangor Daily News: “Maine’s poverty rate in 2008 was slightly below the national average, but the state’s rural counties are at a much higher level, according to a study released Thursday. The report, which was researched and prepared by the Maine Community Action Association and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center of the University of Maine, highlights the widespread impact of the current economic recession, said MCAA president Tim King. ‘The report doesn’t go into the causes of poverty and it doesn’t answer questions about what needs to be done,’ he said Thursday. ‘That’s up to state policymakers.’ One of those policymakers, Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, said the poverty report affirms what most Mainers already know. ‘The [recession] has made an already immense need greater,’ she said. ‘But this begins to lay a roadmap and help triage the things that [the Legislature] needs to address.’ The poverty report arrived the same day the Maine Heritage Policy Center held a press conference and issued a study saying Maine is the most welfare-dependent state in the nation. The center says enrollment has grown by 70 percent since 2003, while its poverty level has remained stable…”

Medicaid and Education Funding – Kentucky

  • Federal aid leaves Kentucky Medicaid short, provides extra for schools, By Tom Loftus, September 9, 2010, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Congress’ recent effort to help the states financially will provide $135 million in unanticipated aid to Kentucky schools – but still leaves a $470 million hole in the Medicaid budget. In making that announcement at a news conference Thursday, Gov. Steve Beshear blamed the Medicaid shortfall on the General Assembly. He said legislators ‘assumed we would get millions more and balanced their budget on that assumption. … I called it ‘a hope and a prayer’ when they came up with it. It leaves us in a real crunch.’ For their part, legislative leaders accused the administration of stonewalling committees that were seeking ways to contain Medicaid’s burgeoning cost. The amounts for Medicaid and the schools are roughly the same as the projections made at the time Congress passed the Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act in August. The shortfall in Medicaid, a $5.2 billion program that provides health care for 800,000 poor and disabled Kentuckians, results from an inaccurate estimate of anticipated federal assistance in the 2010-12 budget approved by the General Assembly in May…”
  • Beshear: State faces $470 million shortfall in Medicaid budget, By Jack Brammer, September 10, 2010, Lexington Herald-Leader: “A looming $470 million shortfall in the state Medicaid budget could have ‘a catastrophic impact’ on Kentuckians, Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday as he announced the state will not get as much federal funding for the program as expected. Beshear had better news in reporting that Kentucky will receive nearly $135 million in federal money to support teachers, but that money can’t be used to help the cash-strapped Medicaid program that provides health insurance for the needy. Beshear said at a Capitol news conference that the state budget approved this year by the General Assembly assumed the federal government would provide an additional $238 million for Medicaid. Congress did provide additional money to help the states last month, but Kentucky will receive $137 million – only about 58 percent of what was expected, he said.That leaves a $111 million hole, Beshear said. Since funding for Medicaid is matched by the federal government on a roughly 4-to-1 basis, the gap represents a $470 million total program shortfall, the Democratic governor said. About 800,000 poor and disabled Kentuckians depend on the $6 billion program for health insurance…”

Cuts to Public Defenders Offices

Budget woes hit defense lawyers for the indigent, By Monica Davey, September 9, 2010, New York Times: “Some public defenders in Missouri say the stressed state budget is interfering with their ability to provide poor defendants with their constitutional right to a lawyer. They say they are so overworked and underfinanced that they have begun trying to reject new cases assigned to them late in the month, when, they say, their workloads are already beyond capacity. Concerns about a deteriorating, overwhelmed public defender system in this country have been around for decades, but they have ballooned recently as state budgets shrink and more defendants qualify for free legal counsel…”