Child Poverty and Health

Study shows poor children face higher rates of asthma and ADHD, By David Templeton, February 13, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Poverty takes a toll on human health and especially on children.   The American Academy of Pediatrics and Britain’s Child Poverty Action Group, among various groups and scientific studies, long have documented the higher risk of illness, chronic disease and disability among impoverished children, along with lower birth weights and an average life expectancy nearly a decade shorter than children from affluent families.  Now add asthma and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder to the long list of physical and mental maladies, along with attendant conditions known as ‘comorbidities.’   These are the key findings of a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC study published today in Pediatrics…”

Lead Poisoning in Children – Indiana

Indiana bill aims to increase lead testing for children in low-income families, By Ted Booker, February 9, 2017, South Bend Tribune: “Only a small fraction of Indiana’s children in low-income families are tested for lead poisoning, but a proposed state bill aims to change that.  Senate Bill 491 — co-authored by Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, and Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend — calls for doubling the number of Medicaid-eligible children tested statewide for the toxic metal, which can cause permanent damage to kids’ developing brains and organs…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

  • Kids Count report is a mixed bag for New Mexico, By Rick Nathanson, January 17, 2016, Albuquerque Journal: “The annual New Mexico Kids Count Data Book released Tuesday shows the most improvement in measures of children’s health, but little improvement in measures of family economic well-being.  The data book, a project of New Mexico Voices for Children, showed declines in the rate of babies with low birth weight, in children without health insurance, and in teens abusing alcohol and drugs. The teen birth rate has also declined, following a similar national trend…”
  • Despite upticks, N.M. still tough for kids, By Robert Nott, January 17, 2017, Santa Fe New Mexican: “Nearly all New Mexico children have health care insurance, and sharply fewer of the state’s teenagers are abusing drugs and alcohol, a new report says. Overall, however, New Mexico remains a tough place for kids…”

Poverty and Child Development

The toll poverty takes on children’s mental health, By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, January 10, 2017, CBS News: “Growing up in poverty exposes children to greater levels of stress, which can lead to psychological problems later in life, a new study suggests.  Researchers at Cornell University reported that kids who grow up poor are more likely to have reduced short-term spatial memory. The study also reported that such kids seem to be more prone to antisocial and aggressive behavior, such as bullying.  Poor children are also more likely than kids from middle-income homes to feel powerless, the study authors suggested…”

Kids Count Report – Florida

  • Kids Count report: Many area children living in poverty, By Liz Freeman, January 8, 2017, News-Press: “Children in Southwest Florida are falling behind compared to the health and well-being of children around the state, a report released today shows. More children in Collier and Lee counties live in poverty and rely on food stamps, are uninsured and overweight, and have gone through maltreatment dispositions compared to their counterparts statewide, according to a Florida Kids Count report…”
  • Report highlights racial disparities among Jacksonville’s children in poverty, By Tessa Duvall, January 9, 2017, Florida Times-Union: “A report that looks at children’s quality of life in Florida paints a bleak economic picture for Duval County’s black children.  Florida Kids Count, released Monday, shows that black children represent a much larger percentage of poor children than their white and Hispanic peers…”

Housing Conditions and Health

  • Philly study finds house calls could help asthma patients living in poverty, By Stacey Burling, January 3, 2017, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Tyra Bryant-Stephens, a doctor who is medical director of the Community Asthma Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, thinks doctors and researchers need to think more about an often unseen factor in patients’ asthma: their housing.  When doctors see poor patients in clinics, she said, they may not have time to ask about their living conditions.  Even if they did, patients might be too embarrassed to tell them…”
  • Seller-financed deals are putting poor people in lead-tainted homes, By Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein, December 26, 2016, New York Times: “A year after Tiffany Bennett moved into a two-story red brick house at 524 Loudon Avenue here, she received alarming news.  Two children, both younger than 6, for whom Ms. Bennett was guardian, were found to have dangerous levels of lead in their blood. Lead paint throughout the nearly 100-year-old home had poisoned them.  Who was responsible for the dangerous conditions in the home?  Baltimore health officials say it was an out-of-state investment company that entered into a rent-to-own lease with the unemployed Ms. Bennett to take the home in 2014 ‘as is’ — chipping, peeling lead paint and all.  Ms. Bennett, 46, and the children moved out, but they should never have been in the house at all. City officials had declared the house ‘unfit for human habitation’ in 2013…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • New Mexico seeks copays from Medicaid patients, By Morgan Lee (AP), October 26, 2016, News Tribune: “New Mexico is pursuing federal authority to charge medical co-payments and some other costs to patients enrolled in Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled, the state Human Services Department secretary told lawmakers on Wednesday.  Secretary Brent Earnest said ‘nominal’ co-payments and other charges would provide a small economic incentive to steer patients away from wasteful expenses, such as the use of emergency room services for routine care…”
  • Medicaid expansion credited for getting record number of kids insurance in Ohio, By Catherine Candisky, October 27, 2016, Columbus Dispatch: “More than 95 percent of Ohio children have health coverage as the uninsured rate fell to historic lows in the wake of Obamacare.  A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families credits Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act for the decline in uninsured children…”
  • In Maryland, diabetics cost Medicaid twice as much, study finds, By Andrea K. McDaniels and Meredith Cohn, October 27, 2016, Baltimore Sun: “People with diabetes cost the state’s Medicaid program twice as much as those without the chronic condition, a study commissioned by the society that represents Maryland’s doctors has found…”

US Teen Birth Rate

Teen birth rate in the U.S. hits record low for 7th consecutive year, By Karen Kaplan, September 28, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “The birth rate for U.S. teenagers hit an all-time low in 2015, the seventh straight year a new record has been set.  Overall, there were 22.3 births for every 1,000 young women between 15 and 19, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represents an 8% drop in just one year…”

Poverty and Brain Development

How poverty affects the brain, By Erika Hayasaki, August 25, 2016, Newsweek: “The video tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan who at 15 survived being shot in the head by the Taliban while riding a bus in 2012. ‘I want to get my education, and I want to become a doctor,’ she says, adding that the Taliban throw acid on some people’s faces and kill others, but ‘they cannot stop me.’  A 15-year-old boy watching the clip on a laptop inside the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute seems unmoved by Yousafzai’s story—his face is blank, his shoulders slumped. An interviewer asks how it makes him feel…”

States and Lead Abatement

Decades after ban, lead paint lingers, By Teresa Wiltz, July 27, 2106, Stateline: “In the wake of the Flint water crisis, states are rushing to test for high levels of lead in drinking water. But many are failing to come to grips with a more insidious problem: lingering lead paint in homes and schools.  Paint, rather than drinking water, remains the main source of lead poisoning of young children in the U.S. But even though there are myriad federal and state laws designed to eradicate lead paint, enforcement is lackluster, hampered by a lack of money and the misperception that the problem has been solved. Many state laws don’t conform to federal recommendations, and federal funding for lead abatement has been slashed from $176 million in 2003 to $110 million in 2014…”

Newark Kids Count Report

Newark kids are healthier but still living in poverty, new study finds, By Alex Napoliello, August 3, 2016, Star-Ledger: “While most families in the state’s largest city continue to live in poverty, progress is being made when it comes to the well-being of the city’s children, according to a new report released Monday.  That’s the takeaway from the 2016 Newark Kids Count report. The annual report tracks trends in the well-being of children in Newark, from child poverty and education to juvenile arrests and childcare in the city…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage – Arizona

Arizona becomes the last state to provide health insurance to low-income children, By Lenny Bernstein, July 25, 2016, Washington Post: “Arizona is rejoining a children’s health insurance program for low and middle-income families, becoming the last state in the union to provide coverage for health care, dental care, speech therapy and other services to families who don’t qualify for Medicaid…”

Medicaid Coverage for Infants and Toddlers

Red tape leaves some low-income toddlers without health insurance, By Michelle Andrews, July 12, 2016, National Public Radio: “Many babies born to mothers who are covered by Medicaid are automatically eligible for that health insurance coverage during their first year of life. In a handful of states, the same is true for babies born to women covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Yet, this approach is routinely undermined by another federal policy that requires babies’ eligibility for these programs to be re-evaluated on their first birthday. Although they’re likely still eligible for coverage, many of these toddlers don’t get it because of a tangle of red tape…”

Poverty and Brain Development

Evidence grows of poverty’s toll on young brains, By Abigail Becker, July 6, 2916, USA Today: “Five-year-old Naja Tunney’s home is filled with books. Sometimes she will pull them from a bookshelf to read during meals. At bedtime, Naja reads to her 2-year-old sister, Hannah. ‘We have books anywhere you sit in the living room,’ said their mother, Cheryl Tunney, who curls up with her girls on an oversized green chair to read stories.  Naja and Hannah are beneficiaries of Reach Out and Read, an early intervention literacy program that collaborates with medical care providers to provide free books when families come in for check-ups…”

Housing and Health

Zika could hit people in poverty hardest, By Liz Szabo, June 30, 2016, USA Today: “There’s no mystery about how the mosquitoes got into Shawanda Holmes’ former home. They flew through a gaping hole in the wall. One of the wooden boards on the side of the house is partly missing, covered only by a loose, blue plastic tarp that flows down the outside wall and crumples in a heap on the grass. Rainwater pools in its folds, providing an ideal site for mosquitoes to breed. Trash fills the backyard. Holmes’ home had no air conditioning, and she was afraid to plug in a fan, for fear that water had leaked into the electrical outlet. Mosquitoes repeatedly bit her children, ages 4, 6 and 14. ‘The mosquitoes were tearing us up, no matter what I did,’ said Holmes, 32, who lives in New Orleans’ Center City neighborhood.  If Zika spreads in the United States, Americans who live in substandard housing and neglected neighborhoods could face the greatest danger, particularly along the Gulf Coast – where steamy summers, high poverty rates and a dizzying array of mosquitoes could allow the virus to take hold, said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine…”

2016 Kids Count Data Book

  • The best and worst states to be a kid in America, June 21, 2016, USA Today: “Minnesota is the best state to be a kid, according to a new study of children’s overall well-being. The worst overall states? Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, and Alabama, according to rankings in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 ‘Kids Count Data Book…'”
  • NM again ranks 49th in child well-being, 50th in education, By Damien Willis, Las Cruces Sun-News: “For the third consecutive year, New Mexico ranks 49th overall for child well-being, according to the 2016 Kids Count Data Book, released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Mississippi is the only state that fared worse…”
  • California No. 36 in child well-being: Where the state falls short, By Sharon Noguchi, June 20, 2016, San Jose Mercury News: “With more investments in health, the well-being of California’s children continued its three-year improvement, new data shows. At the same time, measurements in four broad categories of children’s welfare place the Golden State in the bottom third of the nation — 36th out of the 50 states, in an annual survey released Tuesday by the child-advocacy groups the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now…”
  • Louisiana children continue to struggle, report says, By Danielle Dreilinger, June 20, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Life has gotten worse for Louisiana’s children since 2008, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual Kids Count report, released Tuesday (June 21), compared health, education, community and economic well-being benchmarks from recent years to the start of the recession…”
  • More kids living in poverty in Ohio, report says, By Catherine Candisky, June 21, 2016, Columbus Dispatch: “More Ohio children are living in poverty, yet despite their struggles, many are making choices that could lead to brighter futures. A report on the well-being of children found more Ohio teens are graduating high school, fewer are getting pregnant and fewer are using drugs and alcohol. More have health insurance, and fewer are dying before their 18th birthdays…”

Lead Poisoning in Children

In some Zip codes, 1 in 7 children suffer from dangerously high blood lead levels, By Brady Dennis, June 15, 2016, Washington Post: “In one city after another, the tests showed startling numbers of children with unsafe blood lead levels: Poughkeepsie and Syracuse and Buffalo. Erie and Reading. Cleveland and Cincinnati.  In those cities and others around the country, 14 percent of kids — and in some cases more — have troubling amounts of the toxic metal in their blood, according to new research published Wednesday. The findings underscore how despite long-running public health efforts to reduce lead exposure, many U.S. children still live in environments where they’re likely to encounter a substance that can lead to lasting behavioral, mental and physical problems…”

Infant Mortality – Milwaukee, WI

As racial gap widens, infant mortality rate goal virtually beyond reach, By Crocker Stephenson, June 14, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “African-American babies are dying in Milwaukee at a rate that is more than three times that of white babies, according to data released Tuesday by the Milwaukee Health Department. Approaching historic levels, it is the worst racial disparity in infant deaths that the city has seen in more than a decade.  And while the average infant mortality rate for both black and white babies decreased during the three-year period ending in 2015, it now appears all but impossible that the city will reach the goal it set in 2011 of reducing the black infant mortality rate 15% by 2017…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

More low-income kids now have health coverage, By Michelle Andrews, May 13, 2016, National Public Radio: “Bolstered by the federal health care law, the number of lower-income kids getting health coverage continues to rise.  During 2014, the first full year of the law’s implementation, 91 percent of children who were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program were enrolled, according to a study by researchers at the Urban Institute. In 2013, that figure was 88.7 percent and only 81.7 percent in 2008. Medicaid and CHIP are both federal-state health coverage programs for lower-income residents, but CHIP provides coverage for kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid…”

Children’s Health Insurance Program – Arizona

Arizona House revives KidsCare; fate in Senate unclear, By Mary Jo Pitzl, May 6, 2016, Arizona Republic: “Chastened and angry over their failure to reinstate KidsCare, Republican lawmakers in the Arizona House got Democrats to join them Thursday in a successful bid to revive the children’s health-insurance program.  But the program’s fate in the state Senate, where President Andy Biggs has been a staunch opponent, is unclear. The Senate went home for the day while the House debate continued.  Skeptics questioned whether the maneuvers were a face-saving bid by Republicans who don’t want to face constituents angry over the Legislature’s decision earlier this week to reject KidsCare, retaining Arizona’s status as the only state without such a program…”