Kids Count Report – Kentucky

A quarter of Kentucky kids are living in poverty, survey shows, By Deborah Yetter, November 14, 2017, Louisville Courier Journal: “One-quarter of the state’s children are living below the federal poverty level, according to a report by Kentucky Youth Advocates. Twelve percent of Kentucky children live in extreme poverty, which is below 50 percent of the poverty level. And nearly half of Kentucky’s children live in homes considered low income, or 200 percent of the poverty level, the report found…”

SNAP Application Process -Pennsylvania

More than 350,000 Pa. seniors take advantage of streamlined food-stamp application, By Kate Giammarise, November 13, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “More than a year after the state rolled out a vastly simplified application process for some senior citizens applying for food assistance, more than 350,000 older Pennsylvanians have used the streamlined tool. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services introduced the easier application in June of last year, changing the form from a 24-page document that covered multiple assistance programs to a more manageable two-page application…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • LePage says he’ll block voter-approved Medicaid expansion unless legislators fund it, By Scott Thistle, November 8, 2017, Portland Press Herald: “Just hours after a Medicaid expansion was endorsed by nearly 60 percent of Maine voters, Gov. Paul LePage and his Republican allies vowed to delay, if not derail, the citizen-initiated law that would provide health care to as many as 70,000 low-income residents of the state…”
  • Election results invigorate Medicaid expansion hopes, By Abby Goodnough and Margot Sanger-Katz, November 8, 2017, New York Times: “The election results in Maine and Virginia have energized supporters of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in several holdout states. After months of battling Republican efforts to repeal the law, they now see political consensus shifting in their direction…”
  • Medicaid expansion takes a bite out of medical debt, By Alex Smith, November 10, 2017, National Public Radio: “As the administration and Republicans in Congress look to scale back Medicaid, many voters and state lawmakers across the country are moving to make it bigger. On Tuesday, Maine voters approved a ballot measure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Advocates are looking to follow suit with ballot measures in Utah, Missouri and Idaho in 2018…”

City Minimum Wages

  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce sues Minneapolis over $15 minimum wage, By Emma Nelson, November 10, 2017, Star Tribune: “The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is taking the city of Minneapolis to court over the $15 minimum wage, saying the ordinance conflicts with existing state law…”
  • San Diego has fined businesses $60,000 over minimum wage violations, By David Garrick, November 10, 2017, San Diego Union-Tribune: “Investigators enforcing San Diego’s minimum wage law have handled more than 500 complaints against 70 businesses and levied nearly $60,000 in fines since the law took effect last year. City officials say those numbers will increase as outreach efforts make more people aware that San Diego’s hourly minimum wage of $11.50 is higher than the state minimum of $10 for small businesses and $10.50 for large ones…”

Healthy Food Programs for SNAP Recipients

  • New program buoys purchases of fresh food with food stamps, By Rachel Alexander, November 9, 2017, Spokesman-Review: “Brandaleen Harper used to have trouble affording produce for herself and her son, Gabriel. Harper works part time in child care and said her food stamps often don’t stretch far enough to cover everything she’d like to buy. But a new program through the Spokane Regional Health District and the Washington State Department of Health is making it easier for people using food stamps to buy fruits and vegetables…”
  • Assembly approves giving Wisconsin food stamp users a discount on produce, healthy groceries, By Patrick Marley, November 7, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Some people who use food stamps would get a break on buying produce and other healthy groceries, under a bill the state Assembly overwhelmingly approved Tuesday…”

Academic Gaps in Early Childhood

Study: Academic gaps persist — but haven’t widened — between high- and low-income kindergartners, By Neal Morton, November 6, 2017, Seattle Times: “When education economist Emma García started researching the academic gaps that show up in kindergarten between low-income students and their high-income peers, she had reason to suspect the gaps had widened in recent years…”

Seattle Times Series on Homelessness

Project Homeless, homepage, Seattle Times: “The Seattle Times is launching Project Homeless, a community-funded initiative to explore the causes of homelessness, explain what the region is doing about the crisis and spotlight potential solutions. Today, we examine one of the obstacles to moving people into stable housing…”

Medicaid and Work Requirements

States will be allowed to impose Medicaid work requirements, top federal official says, By Paige Winfield Cunningham, November 7, 2016, Washington Post: “The government will give states broader leeway in running their Medicaid programs and allow them to impose work requirements on enrollees, a top federal health official said Tuesday in outlining how the Trump administration plans to put its mark on the insurance program for low-income Americans…”

Homelessness on the West Coast

Homelessness soars on West Coast as cities struggle to cope, Associated Press, November 6, 2017, CNBC: “In a park in the middle of a leafy, bohemian neighborhood where homes list for close to $1 million, a tractor’s massive claw scooped up the refuse of the homeless — mattresses, tents, wooden frames, a wicker chair, an outdoor propane heater. Workers in masks and steel-shanked boots plucked used needles and mounds of waste from the underbrush. Just a day before, this corner of Ravenna Park was an illegal home for the down and out, one of 400 such encampments that have popped up in Seattle’s parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. Now, as police and social workers approached, some of the dispossessed scurried away, vanishing into a metropolis that is struggling to cope with an enormous wave of homelessness. That struggle is not Seattle’s alone…”

October 2017 US Unemployment Rate

  • U.S. jobs growth reaches 261,000 as economy rebounds from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, By Danielle Paquette, November 3, 2017, Washington Post: “The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October as the country rebounded from hurricanes Harvey and Irma as expected, and the jobless rate ticked down to 4.1 percent — the lowest level since 2000. The pace of hiring in October showed that the economy was recovering from the storms, Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found. But year-over-year wage growth sank to 2.4 percent…”
  • U.S. adds 261,000 jobs in October, and a revision restores job creation streak, By Bill Chappell, November 3, 2017, National Public Radio: “The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell by a small notch, from 4.2 percent to 4.1 percent. While job creation showed a rebound from hurricane season, the October result didn’t meet analysts’ expectations that the report would easily top 300,000 jobs…”

State Medicaid Programs – Iowa, Maine

  • Medicaid cuts to roughly 40,000 Iowans approved by the feds, By Clark Kauffman, October 31, 2017, Des Moines Register: “Over the protests of hospitals and medical providers, Iowa has received federal approval to reduce coverage for new Medicaid beneficiaries. An estimated 40,000 Iowans are expected to be affected by the change, which will reduce their coverage for medical care delivered in the days and weeks before they are officially declared eligible for Medicaid…”
  • Maine voters to decide if state will expand Medicaid, By Casey Leins, November 1, 2017, US News & World Report: “On Nov. 7, Maine voters will be the first in the nation to determine the fate of Medicaid expansion in their state. The issue has been a contentious one in Maine since the 2012 Supreme Court ruling granting states the power to decide whether to expand the program to more low-income Americans. Republican Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed the legislature’s five attempts to expand Medicaid, arguing that it is a measure of ‘pure welfare’ that would significantly impact taxpayers, according to The New York Times…”

Legal Counsel for Eviction

How free legal help can prevent evictions, By Teresa Wiltz, October 27, 2017, Stateline: “In much of the country, more and more renters are devoting larger and larger portions of their income to rent. For low-income families, this can push them further into poverty and put them at risk for being evicted — and becoming homeless. Evictions destabilize families, forcing them into poorer neighborhoods with higher crime rates. And evictions cost cities money: After a family is evicted, a city can end up losing thousands of dollars in property taxes and unpaid utility bills, and may have to bear increased costs from homeless shelters and hospitals…”

High-Poverty Schools

  • Rich school districts will benefit more than poor ones from Washington’s budget, new analysis suggests, By Neal Morton, October 31, 2017, Seattle Times: “In the days after the Washington Legislature approved a new state budget in June, school-finance experts began reading the fine print. They soon started warning that while lawmakers may have increased state spending on schools, some richer districts would get a bigger boost than many poorer ones…”
  • Report: Virginia’s high-poverty schools don’t have same opportunities for students, By Justin Mattingly, October 30, 2017, Richmond Times-Dispatch: “There are ‘striking deficiencies’ in educational opportunities for students in high-poverty Virginia schools, a new report has found. Students in high-poverty schools, or schools where at least 75 percent receive free and reduced-price lunch, have less access to core subjects like math and science, lower levels of state and local funding for instructors, who are less experienced in these schools, according to a report from The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a research organization based in Richmond that focuses on economics and policy…”

Public Universities and Low-Income Student Enrollment

Top public universities are shutting out poor students, report says, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, October 26, 2017, Washington Post: “Graduating from a selective college can help low-income students climb the economic ladder, but many of the nation’s top public universities are turning their backs on the group. Since the late 1990s, almost two-thirds of selective public universities have reduced the share of students they enroll who come from families earning less than $37,000 a year, according to a report released Thursday by New America. Policy analysts at the think tank found that a near-identical share of these schools have increased the percentage of students they enroll who come from families earning at least $110,000…”

Lead Poisoning in Children

  • Two-thirds of Medicaid-covered children not getting required tests for lead poisoning in Wisconsin, By David Wahlberg, October 26, 2017, Wisconsin State Journal: “Less than a third of Wisconsin children on Medicaid were tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2 last year, despite a federal requirement that all such children get the testing, a new state report says. Children on Medicaid are three times as likely to have lead poisoning than other children, so many children who could face developmental problems from lead exposure are not being identified, a Madison pediatrician said…”
  • State gets OK to spend $15M to aid lead-poisoned children on Medicaid, By Lauren Cross, October 26, 2017, Northwest Indiana Times: “State health officials have been given the green light to spend up to $15 million over the next five years to bolster lead hazard testing and removal efforts in East Chicago, South Bend and other cities where low-income children are at risk for exposure. Much of the focus in East Chicago this past year has been on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation and cleanup of toxic soil left by past industry in the Calumet neighborhoods…”

Incarceration and Recidivism – Montana

Montana agencies, volunteers work to reintegrate citizens after incarceration, By David Erickson, October 30, 2017, The Missoulian: “Montana’s prison population has grown faster than the national average, and last year 15,000 people in the state were either behind bars or under criminal justice supervision. The state spent $182 million on corrections in fiscal year 2014, and jails and prisons suffer from overcrowding while taxpayers foot the bill…”

Kids Count “Race for Results” Report

  • Children of immigrants experience more poverty, academic failure, report finds, By Michael Alison Chandler, October 24, 2017, Washington Post: “Children of immigrants, who make up 28 percent of all children in Maryland and nearly a quarter of those in Virginia and the District, are more likely to live in chronic poverty and less likely to perform at grade level in school, according to a report being released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report highlights disparities in opportunities for children of immigrants. It also highlights the harder-to-measure impacts of persistent stress on children affected by government policies that result in the profiling, deportation and detention of immigrants…”
  • New report finds racial disparities persist for Louisiana kids, By Wilborn P. Nobles III, October 24, 2017, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Louisiana is among the toughest places in America for children to grow up, especially if you are black, poor or a child of immigrants, according to a study released Tuesday (Oct. 24). One bright spot? Louisiana has a relatively high rate of kids enrolled in an early children education when compared with other states…”
  • Study: Michigan last in well-being of black children, By Karen Bouffard, October 24, 2017, Detroit News: “African-American children in Michigan fare worse on key indicators of well-being than in any other state in the nation, according to a national study released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation…”
  • Report: Oregon schools fall short for children of color, immigrant children, By Natalie Pate, October 25, 2017, Statesman Journal: “Oregon’s children of color and children living in immigrant families are struggling to find the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, according to a report released Tuesday. These children are more likely to live in low-income households, less likely to have access to proper health services and are graduating at lower rates than their white counterparts living in U.S.-born families…”

Relatives Caring for Foster Children

  • Grandparents raising grandkids grapple with retirement and college costs at the same time, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, October 22, 2017, Washington Post: “Each month, 72-year-old Sandra Bursch withdraws $4,200 from her retirement savings to cover her bills. A chunk of it goes toward paying college bills — for her grandson Gage. She anticipates doing the same for Gage’s younger brother, Mason, when he graduates from high school in another year. Every stitch of their clothing, all of their meals and day-to-day expenses have been her responsibility since 2003, when drug use by her daughter and son-in-law prompted the police to remove the children from their home…”
  • ‘It’s like a tsunami’: Opioid epidemic pushes kids into foster care, By Sandra Tan, October 22, 2017, Buffalo News: “The opioid epidemic is not just killing hundreds of local residents  – it’s leaving hundreds of Erie County children without a home or at risk of being removed from one. They are orphaned children and they are the children of drug-addicted parents no longer able to care for them. Erie County Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin has presided at thousands of child abuse and neglect cases since 2011. She can’t recall any cases related to opioid drug abuse four years ago, and only a handful three years ago…”

Public Utilities

  • Same lake, unequal rates, By Ted Gregory, Cecilia Reyes, Patrick M. O’Connell and Angela Caputo, October 25, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “Lake Michigan water rates have been surging throughout the Chicago region in recent years, squeezing low-income residents and leaving them with little, if any, recourse, a Tribune analysis shows. In this tangled network that delivers water to the vast majority of the region’s residents, the Tribune found an upside-down world, one where people in the poorest communities pay more for a basic life necessity than those in the wealthiest. And the financial pain falls disproportionately on majority-African-American communities, where residents’ median water bill is 20 percent higher for the same amount of water than residents pay in predominantly white communities, the Tribune’s examination revealed…”
  • No Social Security Number? No lights, By Teresa Wiltz, October 17, 2017, Stateline: “In the city of LaGrange, Georgia, an immigrant from Mexico lives with his young family. He’s been living there for 10 years. He’s a homeowner. He doesn’t have a green card, so he doesn’t have a Social Security number. Without the Social Security number, the homeowner can’t get utility services in his name, even though he has a Mexican passport and an individual taxpayer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. (To protect him, his lawyer does not want to disclose his immigration status.) The city, which is the sole provider of utilities, requires that anyone opening an account have two things: a Social Security number and a government-issued photo ID…”

Bail System – California

California’s bail system is ‘unsafe and unfair,’ study finds, By Eric Westervelt, October 25, 2017, National Public Radio: “The national effort to get states to move away from a bail system based on money — something detractors call unjust and antiquated — got a big boost this week: A yearlong study backed by California’s chief justice recommended money bail be abolished and replaced with a system that includes robust safety assessments and expanded pretrial services. Calling the state’s commercial bail system ‘unsafe and unfair,’ a working group created by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye argues that the state’s bail system bases a defendant’s liberty too much on his or her finances, rather than an assessment of whether the defendant is a flight or safety risk…”