Extension of Jobless Benefits

A plea to Congress on jobless benefits, By Erik Eckholm, December 7, 2009, New York Times: “State labor officials and worker advocates on Monday appealed for quick Congressional action to extend emergency unemployment benefits and to renew health insurance subsidies for the long-term jobless. Prolonged unemployment insurance, passed this year in the stimulus act, expires this month, and officials estimate that more than one million workers will see benefits end in January if Congress does not act. The health subsidies, under which the federal government pays 65 percent of insurance costs under Cobra for up to nine months, have already expired and are not available to the newly unemployed, who will have to pay family premiums averaging $1,100 if they want to keep their existing health plans…”

Funding for Legal Aid

  • Need is up, but funding plummets for legal aid, By Mary Pat Flaherty, December 7, 2009, Washington Post: “For accountant Jose Burgos, who was laid off in October, the free legal advice he’s received in Montgomery County could make the difference in whether his family keeps its Silver Spring condominium. For the legal staff, Burgos, 41, is one more complicated bankruptcy consultation in a year of many — and that is where the stress hits. At the very time that more newly poor people need help with the likes of mortgages, rent disputes and battles over wages, clinics across the country that help with noncriminal cases are enduring sharp funding drops…”
  • Report: Insufficient funding for legal aid, By Scott Daugherty, December 7, 2009, The Capital: “The weak economy is cutting into a vital source of funding for legal aid in Maryland, leaving many area residents without any help to navigate the courts in civil matters, according to a state panel. A report released last month by the Maryland Access to Justice Commission found the Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts program, which historically provided about half of the state’s funding for legal aid, is generating about 70 percent less revenue than it did two years ago. The program, which diverts interest from many attorney-held bank accounts, is expected to pull in about $2 million this fiscal year, down from $6.7 million two years ago…”

Child Welfare System – Colorado

  • Colorado again fails federal test on child protection, By Electa Draper, December 5, 2009, Denver Post: “Colorado’s child-welfare system again fell short of federal standards for protecting the safety and well-being of the state’s kids, according to a comprehensive federal review released Friday. Despite extensive public and political focus on human services following a series of preventable children’s deaths, Colorado’s overall performance, assessed between Oct. 1, 2007, and March 20, 2009, was no better than its substandard showing after the first such review was completed in 2002. ‘There is no measurable improvement. It’s a sobering result,’ said Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services. Colorado’s child-welfare system, one of 11 in the nation where services are delivered by individual counties instead of the state, demonstrated a lack of consistency and problems with accessibility of services and accountability, said the new report by the federal Department of Health and Human Services…”
  • Child welfare in Colorado found lacking, Associated Press, December 5, 2009, New York Times: “Colorado’s child welfare system is not in compliance with federal regulations on child safety and well-being, according to a review released Friday by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The review found that Colorado did not meet standards for abuse in home care and placement stability. The state is also not in compliance with standards measuring child safety and well-being…”