State Children’s Health Insurance Program

The CHIP program is beloved. Why is its funding in danger?, By Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear, December 5, 2017, New York Times: “Laquita Gardner, a sales manager at a furniture rental store here, was happy to get a raise recently except for one problem. It lifted her income just enough to disqualify her and her two young sons from Medicaid, the free health insurance program for the poor. She was relieved to find another option was available for the boys: the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, that covers nearly nine million children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage…”

Maternal Mortality

New maternal mortality strategy relies on ‘medical homes’, By Michael Ollove, December 5, 2017, Stateline: “When Hannah White first showed up at the Mountain Area Health Education Center here three years ago, she was in trouble. She was 20 years old, a couple months into her first pregnancy and on the run from an abusive husband in Texas who already had broken her ribs in an attempt, she said, to kill her unborn child. She also has a form of hemophilia which prevents her body from producing platelet granules that stem bleeding. That disease had robbed her of her Malawian mother when Hannah was three months old, which ultimately led to her adoption by American missionaries…”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Series on Childhood Trauma

  • Impact of childhood trauma reaches rural Wisconsin, By John Schmid and Andrew Mollica, November 30, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Jodi Williams has just returned from the Marquette County jail, where she met an unemployed 27-year-old man who had been busted after jumping bail on charges of battery, property damage and disorderly conduct. He and his girlfriend used heroin until two years ago when their child was born. Instead of cleaning up, he switched to alcohol, which angered his girlfriend, who left with their child. Now, he’s dangerously depressed, locked up and dealing with his first sustained sobriety since he was 13.  ‘These people are in constant survival mode,’ Williams says of the distressed couple and so many others like them in the vast impoverished regions of the nation’s rural heartland. Williams is one of Marquette County’s few mental health and substance abuse case workers…”
  • Wisconsin childhood trauma data explodes myth of ‘not in my small town’, By John Schmid, December 4, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Traffic on Main St. is lazy as Kyle Pucek strolls past tidy homes with wide front porches. ‘I lost a lot of friends in the last couple years,’ Pucek, 41, says matter of factly. He counts 10.  A car rolls past and a woman waves at Pucek. The two shout greetings.  ‘That’s Kirsten,’ Pucek volunteers almost offhandedly, ‘an ex-heroin addict who’s also in recovery.’ Pucek grew up with her, and with her fiance, who died of a heroin overdose in 2009. Contacted later, Kirsten Moore added that her teenage son became attached to her late fiance’s brother — and then the brother died from a heroin overdose, too, less than two years later. Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Rock County falls into the highest tier of overdose deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits linked to opioids and heroin, as ranked by state health authorities…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

US Children in Foster Care

  • Number of American children in foster care increases for 4th consecutive year, By Richard Gonzales, November 30, 2017, National Public Radio: “A new government report says the number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents. The report, issued annually by the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services, shows that 437,500 children were in foster care by the end of fiscal year 2016. A year earlier the number was 427,400…”
  • More US kids in foster care; parental drug abuse a factor, By David Crary (AP), November 30, 2017, ABC News: “The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, with substance abuse by parents a major factor, according to new federal data released on Thursday. The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services counted 437,500 children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 2016, up from about 427,400 a year earlier…”

Child Support and Income Withholding

Gig economy gives child support scofflaws a place to hide, By Jen Fifield, December 1, 2017, Stateline: “The rise of the gig economy and a broad shift to contract work is making it easier for people to evade paying child support, causing headaches for parents and for state officials charged with tracking down the money. About 70 percent of child support payments are collected by withholding income from paychecks. It’s possible to capture the wages of an Uber driver, Airbnb renter or a contractor — but only if state officials know that a person owing child support is earning wages that can be garnished, and only if the employer cooperates…”

Gazette Series on Iowa Foster Care System

  • Iowa’s foster care system pushes to reunite children with their birthparents, By Molly Duffy and Michaela Ramm, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “Breanne French had been caring for the baby boy, whose bloodcurdling screaming fits finally had started to dissipate, for nine months when the Iowa Department of Human Services gave him back to his birth mother. The 11-month-old child had spent most of his life in one of two places: with Breanne, a licensed foster parent, and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids. His birth mother was in a rehabilitation facility for heroin use when she went into labor, and for the first two months of his life, doctors and nurses were weaning him off the drug…”
  • Unknowns of temporarily caring for children in foster care means Iowa’s foster parents feel ‘every emotion’, By Molly Duffy, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “When children like Nicolas are removed from their birth families, the Iowa Department of Human Services often places them with adults who are, to the children, little more than strangers. But by the time a child is given to licensed foster parents, state agents have spent months digging into their pasts…”
  • Iowa’s social workers see growing foster care caseloads, By Michaela Ramm, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “As a social worker and a foster parent, Emily Steeples sees foster care’s shortcomings up close. Steeples is a foster and adoptive family connections specialist for Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, which provides support for families across most of the state. She and her spouse, Krista Kronstein, 36, also have been foster parents since 2015…”
  • Most children in Iowa’s foster care system reunite with their birthparents, some never find their way back, By Molly Duffy, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “After the state moved Nicolas back into the care of his birth mother, Breanne French tried to accept he wasn’t hers to keep. After nine months of taking care of the baby boy as a foster care placement, his birth mother was in recovery from drug addiction and passing drug tests. Although the Iowa Department of Human Services had returned Nicolas to her, social workers still were involved with the birth mother and her baby, but they were making progress together…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • Millions of kids may lose health insurance over missed deadline by Congress, By Elizabeth Chuck, November 17, 2017, NBC News: “The diagnosis was dire: Roland Williams, a St. Louis boy with a megawatt smile and a penchant for painting, had an extremely rare form of lung cancer, oncologists told his mother in May 2016. ‘They didn’t think he would make it to see his 10th birthday,’ Myra Gregory said. ‘But thankfully the insurance was covering everything at that time, so we were happy to make it to see number 10 and 11.’  Roland is covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federal health insurance program that provides inexpensive coverage to nearly 9 million children in low-income families…”
  • Nevada wants $11.3M for Children’s Health Insurance Program, By Jessie Bekker, November 20, 2017, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Nevada has requested an extra $11.3 million in federal funding to continue the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program while Congress decides if it will renew funding for the decades-old program…”
  • Minnesota dipping into own funds to keep kids’ health program running, By Michael Ollove, November 22, 2017, Stateline: “The state of Minnesota has run out of federal funds for its Children’s Health Insurance Program this month, requiring the state to contribute more of its own resources to keep the health plan in operation. It appears to be the first state to run out of federal funds for the program since Congress failed to meet a September deadline to reauthorize the program…”
  • End of Children’s Health Insurance Program looming in Colorado, Virginia, By Michael Ollove, November 21, 2017, Stateline: “Colorado and Virginia are preparing to send out letters to low-income families who get health services through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, notifying them that the program will end in those states in two months unless it is reauthorized by Congress before then…”

Child Poverty – Dallas, TX

One in five Dallas-area children lives in poverty, report finds, By Corbett Smith, November 14, 2017, Dallas Morning News: “One in five children in North Texas lives in poverty, with more than 260,000 kids in the area considered food insecure, according to a biennial study released Tuesday from Children’s Health and the University of Texas at Dallas…”

Child Welfare System – Arizona

Arizona’s foster care boards don’t look like their communities. Here’s why that matters, By Maria Polletta, November 12, 2017, Arizona Republic: “Experts have long recognized inequalities in America’s child-welfare system: When kids share identical circumstances except for race, black and Native American children enter foster care more often, spend more time in the system and wait longer to be adopted. In an attempt to ensure fair treatment for kids taken from their parents, Arizona lawmakers decades ago mandated that Foster Care Review Boards — which help decide the fates of children in foster care — mirror the races, ethnicities and income levels of the communities they serve.  They don’t…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

Maternal Mortality

The quiet crisis among African Americans: Pregnancy and childbirth are killing women at inexplicable rates, By Ann M. Simmons, October 26, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “Three weeks after Cassaundra Lynn Perkins gave birth to premature twins, she returned to the hospital, feeling unwell. She phoned her mother from her hospital bed at 3:30 in the morning. ‘I’m just not feeling good,’ she said. Surely it was just another bout of the mysterious illness her daughter had been suffering from for most of her pregnancy, Cheryl Givens-Perkins thought as she rushed over to San Antonio’s North Central Baptist Hospital…”

Adverse Childhood Experiences

  • Massachusetts scores well on childhood trauma, but nearly 40 percent of children are still affected, By Dan Glaun, October 19, 2017, “When children experience stressful or traumatic events, the effects can be long lasting and severe.  Suicide attempts, alcohol and drug abuse, high risk sexual behaviors and criminal convictions are all more common among people who grew up with what researchers call ‘adverse childhood experiences,’ according to multiple studies. And according to a new analysis by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 38.8 percent of Massachusetts children have had at least one ACE — well below the national average of 46 percent…”
  • More than 40 percent of Maryland children experience traumatic events, By Meredith Cohn, October 19, 2017, Baltimore Sun: “More than four out of 10 children in Maryland have experienced a traumatic event such as the death or incarceration of a parent, or a drug addiction or mental health problem of a family member, according to a new analysis of national data. Nationally, the so-called adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were even more widespread with 46 percent of children reporting at least one, according to the analysis by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Child & Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative done in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation…”

Foster Care Payments to Relatives – Kentucky

State working out how to pay relatives who provide foster care under recent court decision, By Deborah Yetter, October 17, 2017, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Kentucky’s top human services official said Tuesday that the state will comply with a court order to pay relatives who provide free foster care the same as they do licensed foster families. But Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the cabinet is still analyzing how to apply the court decision. ‘Our legal team is studying it,’ she said in a brief interview. The court decision comes as a growing number of relatives, many of them grandparents, are caring for children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect and say the extra costs have caused them to burn through retirement savings and raise the children in poverty…”

Welfare Reform – Ohio

20 years after welfare reform, are Ohio’s poor any better off?, By Catherine Candisky, October 15, 2017, Columbus Dispatch: “It’s been seven years since Laura Staten hit rock bottom, but talking about it still makes her cry. With her 1 1/2-year-old son, their belongings stuffed into two trash bags, and less than $100 in her pocket, Staten fled an abusive marriage, unsure how to build a new life but determined to do it. ‘I had nothing,’ said the 33-year-old preschool teacher from Bremen, her voice quivering. With new restrictions on welfare, she learned that help from the government would be limited…”