Kids Count Report – Illinois

  • How are our kids doing? Study says one in five live in poverty, By Jennifer A. Bowen, February 10, 2012, Belleville News-Democrat: “One in five children in Illinois live in poverty, according to Illinois Kids Count 2012 data released Thursday by the organization Voices for Illinois Children. The organization released its 2012 data Thursday morning at various locations throughout the state, including East St. Louis, and the report shows an economy that is still struggling with poverty and a high joblessness rate. One in five children in Illinois live in poverty, and the racial-ethnic disparities in family income have widened. African-American and Latino families have the highest child poverty rates, according to the Illinois Kids Count 2012 report. The report is researched and prepared by Voices for Illinois Children and Kids Count…”
  • Bad economy hurts kids, too, charity says, By Deidre Cox Baker, February 10, 2012, Quad-City Times: “State and federal budget cuts that cause a harsh impact on children threaten the future for everyone, several advocates agreed at Thursday’s release of the 2012 Illinois Kids Count findings. ‘Being born poor was not a barrier for success in the past, but that’s not true in today’s economy,’ said Sue Swisher, the executive director of the Child Abuse Council in the Quad-Cities. She spoke at a news conference called to announce the annual report tallied by Voices for Illinois Children, the Illinois Kids Count organization…”
  • Report: Illinois children are caught in ‘budget crossfire’ as recession undermines gains, By Karen Hawkins (AP), February 9, 2012, Chicago Tribune: “Illinois children are caught in a ‘budget crossfire,’ hit hard by state budget cuts and a recession that left one in five of them living in poverty and 33,000 students homeless in 2010, a children’s advocacy organization said in a report released Thursday. The Illinois Kids Count 2012 report says the state’s budget crisis is undermining gains made for young people, with cuts to investments in early childhood education and after-school programs…”
  • High poverty rates, child care issues persist in Tri-County, By Pam Adams, February 9, 2012, Peoria Journal Star: “Orders of protection issued in the Tri-County Area are at record levels and, in most cases, the victims of domestic violence are pregnant or have young children, according to Martha Herm, director of the Center for Prevention of Abuse. The Children’s Home is seeing ‘astronomical increases’ in the number of Tri-County Area children on Medicaid hospitalized for psychiatric problems, according to the agency’s president and CEO, Clete Winkelman. And a small day care on Peoria’s south side that doesn’t accept government funding is, nevertheless, feeling the crunch of state government cutbacks…”

Jobless Benefit Claims

  • First-time unemployment claims sink to early-recession levels, By Don Lee, February 10, 2012, Los Angeles Times: “In another sign that the job market is gaining momentum, the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits fell further last week – down to levels last seen in the early months of the recession. The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time jobless claims dropped by 15,000 to 358,000 last week, although week-to-week changes can be volatile. The average for the last four weeks, a more reliable measure, dropped to 366,000 – the lowest four-week average since April 2008…”
  • Unemployment, economic picture revised, more positive, By Richard Wolf, February 9, 2012, USA Today: “A persistent drumbeat of unexpectedly positive job-market developments is leading to revised economic forecasts from Wall Street to the White House. A drop in the number of Americans seeking jobless benefits to 2008 levels, reported Thursday, was just the latest evidence of a private-sector employment revival. It followed a three-month decline in the unemployment rate from 8.9% to 8.3%…”

Achievement Gap

Education gap grows between rich and poor, studies say, By Sabrina Tavernise, February 9, 2012, New York Times: “Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects. It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race. Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • N.J. to disperse $40M in federal Medicaid funding to hospitals, clinics investing in electronic records, By Susan K. Livio, February 9, 2012, Star-Ledger: “The state this week is distributing $40 million in federal Medicaid funds to reward 30 hospitals and 40 physician practices that have been enterprising enough to invest in an electronic medical record system designed to improve care and catch mistakes, state health and human services officials announced today…”
  • Health care providers say Medicaid managed care riddled with problems, By Beth Musgrave and Valarie Honeycutt Spears, February 9, 2012, Lexington Herald-Leader: “The baby was coming, no matter what a managed care company had to say. But when a woman in labor went to one of Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s eight Kentucky hospitals before Christmas, the hospital was told by one of three managed care companies that now run Medicaid in much of Kentucky that it must get preauthorization to deliver the baby in order to get paid. Fourteen days after the woman and baby went home, the hospital still was waiting for approval to deliver the baby, said Joe Grossman, vice president and chief financial officer of Appalachian Regional Healthcare. Grossman was one of several people to testify Wednesday before a Senate panel about problems with private companies that are now managing Medicaid care in Kentucky…”
  • Quinn to Obama: Illinois pressing ahead on Medicaid reforms, By Ray Long and Alissa Groeninger, February 10, 2012, Chicago Tribune: “As President Barack Obama presses forward with his signature health care law, his fellow Illinois Democrats running state government have waited more than a year to win federal approval for a new plan to fight fraud in the health program for 2.7 million of the state’s poorest residents. Facing increasing Republican pressure to put reforms in place, Quinn’s team told the Obama administration this week that Illinois will wait no longer. Later this month, the state’s Healthcare and Family Services Department will start matching addresses of people enrolled in Medicaid against Illinois secretary of state driving records to ensure that care for the poor is going to people who actually live in Illinois. The Quinn administration also is putting together a plan to check income eligibility and plans to roll it out soon, officials said…”