Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandfamilies 1: Grappling with the cost of addiction, By Ella Nilsen, July 1, 2017, Concord Monitor: “In Helene Lorden’s living room, a big, inviting armchair is parked in front of the television. But the 58-year-old grandmother of five rarely gets to sit down and put her feet up. Like thousands of other grandparents in the state, Lorden has custody of her five grandchildren – ages 10 to 18. She has been raising them for over a decade…”

Medicaid Cuts and State Programs

  • Republicans’ proposed Medicaid cuts would hit rural patients hard, By Bram Sable-Smith, June 22, 2017, National Public Radio: “For the hundreds of rural U.S. hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington, D.C., this summer could make survival a lot tougher. Since 2010, at least 79 rural hospitals have closed across the country, and nearly 700 more are at risk of closing. These hospitals serve a largely older, poorer and sicker population than most hospitals, making them particularly vulnerable to changes made to Medicaid funding…”
  • G.O.P. health plan is really a rollback of Medicaid, By Margot Sanger-Katz, June 20, 2017, New York Times: “Tucked inside the Republican bill to replace Obamacare is a plan to impose a radical diet on a 52-year-old program that insures nearly one in five Americans. The bill, of course, would modify changes to the health system brought by the Affordable Care Act. But it would also permanently restructure Medicaid, which covers tens of millions of poor or disabled Americans, including millions who are living in nursing homes with conditions like Alzheimer’s or the aftereffects of a stroke…”
  • Republicans’ Medicaid rollback collides with opioid epidemic, By Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar (AP), June 20, 2017, ABC News: “The Republican campaign to roll back Barack Obama’s health care law is colliding with America’s opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties…”
  • How states like Kansas punish the poor for being both too poor and not poor enough, By Max Ehrenfreund, June 19, 2017, Washington Post: “Obamacare was designed to make it easier for poor Americans to buy insurance. In many states, though, the law has left a hole where less needy households can receive benefits, while millions of Americans living in poverty cannot. They are, in effect, too poor to get help…”
  • In expanding Medicaid, Utah wants to make some enrollees work and cap their lifetime coverage, By Alex Stuckey, June 20, 2017, Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah health officials are proposing lifetime limits and work requirements for childless adults who would gain coverage under a Medicaid expansion plan, hoping the changes will help persuade the federal government to approve it…”
  • With Medicaid under the gun, new study highlights program’s successes in Cheshire County, By Ethan DeWitt, June 23, 2017, Keene Sentinel: “Amid fierce national clashes over the future of health care, and a new Republican bill unveiled Thursday, one federal program has proven a particular emotional flash point: Medicaid. Efforts to pare back the program, which provides coverage to low-income adults and children, have drawn alarm from Democrats and some Republican senators representing rural states…”

SNAP Eligibility – New Hampshire

Bill could drastically change eligibility for food stamps in N.H., By Ella Nilsen, February 21, 2017, Concord Monitor: “A new bill that would change the requirements to get food stamps in New Hampshire could have dramatic impact on the welfare program.  Depending on whom you ask, it’s either needed reform or a devastating move that could throw 17,000 people in the state off food assistance.  The bill, introduced by state Sen. Kevin Avard, a Republican from Nashua, would change the way the state’s Department of Health and Human Services evaluates families for the food stamp program, requiring them to use federal limits for food stamp eligibility.  The legislation also requires individuals receiving food stamps to pay their child support…”

Concord Monitor Series on Homelessness

Seeking shelter: A cold reality, By Jeremy Blackman and Megan Doyle, December 22, 2014, Concord Monitor: “Robert Glodgett staggered into First Congregational Church last night, tired, hungry, cold – a drifter with nowhere else to go. He slipped a ski cap off his head and dropped onto a couch, alcohol on his breath. A woman walked over. ‘Red!’ she said, opening her arms. This was a homecoming of sorts. Every December for the past five years, Glodgett, 52, has arrived at the Concord church, which doubles as an emergency shelter through March. Night after night, he spends eight warm hours on a makeshift bed, recharging before another grinding winter day. This season, however, will be his last in this shelter. After more than a decade of housing the city’s homeless during the coldest months, First Congregational Church and its sister parish, South Congregational Church, have opted to shutter their operations at the end of this winter. Their decision, finalized this fall, was the result of a growing concern that the city was becoming too dependent on the shelters, which were temporary from the start…”

SNAP Enrollment – Florida, New Hampshire

  • Despite more jobs, number of food stamp recipients keeps rising, By Donna Gehrke-White, August 19, 2013, Sun Sentinel: “Despite a dramatic increase in workers finding jobs in the past year, the number of people on food stamps in Broward and Palm Beach counties continues to rise to historic levels. Even though the unemployment rate in Palm Beach County has dropped from 9.6 percent to 7.7 since last July, the number of food stamps recipients has jumped to 194,120, an increase of 6.3 percent, according to the latest data from the state…”
  • Food stamp caseload begins to fall in N.H., but agencies say many still need help, By Ben Leubsdorf, August 22, 2013, Concord Monitor: “The number of New Hampshire families relying on food stamps peaked in January and has been declining for six straight months, in large part because a newly reintroduced federal rule is limiting some low-income adults to three months of assistance…”

Medicaid Computer Systems – North Carolina, New Hampshire

  • N.C.’s new Medicaid payment system a ‘nightmare,’ some providers say, By Lynn Bonner, July 21, 2013, Charlotte Observer: “State officials say the new Medicaid bill-paying system is working better than expected. But for the company trying to get kids wheelchairs, the dentist who hasn’t been paid in a month and the providers who wait days to get their calls for help returned, the system is a near disaster. The state Department of Health and Human Services warned providers to expect a few bumps after the new Medicaid billing system came online July 1. For many, the bumpy weeks have been worse than they imagined, and they have not been told when the frustration will end…”
  • New Medicaid computer system doesn’t end errors, By Nancy West, July 20, 2013, New Hampshire Union Leader: “Four months after the controversial $90 million Medicaid computer system finally began operating, some providers say they aren’t getting paid properly, while another said her office was being paid 10 times the expected amount on some claims. The Medicaid Management Information System has been frequently delayed since being contracted in 2005 to a firm now owned by Xerox. It is causing ongoing frustration, with no end in sight, according to Bruce Burns, Concord Hospital’s chief financial officer…”

2012 Kids Count Report – Northeastern States

  • Kids Count study ranks Maine high for healthy kids and good communities, finds state lacking in education, By Susan McMillan, July 26, 2012, Morning Sentinel: “Maine does well in providing for its children’s health and family and community environments, but they fare less well in education and economic well-being. Maine ranked 13th among the states in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count report assessing children’s well-being. The three top states were New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont; among the New England states, only Rhode Island ranked lower than Maine…”
  • Survey: N.H. tops list for well-being of children, Associated Press, July 26, 2012, Seacoastonline: “New Hampshire continues to be the top state in a national survey of children’s well-being, according to a report released Wednesday. The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book showed that the state improved in child education and health care, based mostly on 2010 data. Massachusetts was the second best state, followed by Vermont. Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi were ranked the bottom three states, respectively…”
  • State is 3rd in Kids Count child well-being survey, By Molly Walsh, July 27, 2012, Burlington Free Press: “Life is looking up for Shayla Messier since she found her way to the green hilltop where the Family Center of Washington County sits. The 23-year-old single mom from Barre says her 2­year-old son Cole is thriving in the center’s child care program and she’s benefited from parenting classes that offer tips on everything from budgeting to stress man­agement. She’s earning a certificate in early childhood development and hopes to find a permanent job at a pre­school soon. Messier wants to get off public assistance and said the Family Center’s programs brought her to the following realization: ‘I didn’t have to be that single mom on Reach Up.’ Gov. Peter Shumlin and other state leaders gathered at the Family Center Wednesday to praise Vermont pro­grams for at-risk families and to announce the results of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 KIDS COUNT survey. It shows that Vermont ranks third-best in the nation for child well-being…”
  • Report: Pennsylvania ranks 14th in overall child well-being, By Angie Mason, July 25, 2012, York Daily Record: “Pennsylvania ranks relatively well among other states in a report on child well-being, but some advocates say the challenge will be making sure it stays that way. The 2012 Kids Count Data Book, released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks states on overall child well-being, using 16 indicators in four categories – education, health, economic well-being, and family and community. Pennsylvania is ranked 14th overall. The state ranks eighth in the areas of education and health. The report shows more Pennsylvania kids are attending preschool, achieving reading proficiency in fourth grade and math proficiency in eighth grade, and fewer without health insurance. But the state ranks lower in other categories – 17th in economic well-being, and 23rd in family and community. The percentage of kids in poverty has increased, as well as the percentage of kids whose parents don’t have secure employment. Single-parent families have increased, too, according to the report…”
  • New York ranks 29th in nationwide analysis of children’s well-being, By Jennifer Thompson, July 25, 2012, Syracuse Post-Standard: “More children in New York state have health insurance and the teen pregnancy rate has dropped, but more children in the state are living in poverty and in single-parent families, according to a report released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. New York state ranks 29th in the nation in the foundation’s 2012 Kids Count report, which measures children’s well-being in the areas of health, economic security, education and family/community…”

State Budget Cuts and Disability

  • NH joins Idaho in new welfare limits for disabled, By Norma Love (AP), February 19, 2012, Idaho Statesman: “Legally blind since she was 9, Chrissy Fairbanks just got word she’s losing the $363 state welfare check she got each month from New Hampshire because she gets federal assistance due to her disability. The 31-year-old Keene resident says her girls, ages 11 and 12, are taking the news well that their clothes will come from the clearance rack and there will be no more trips to the ice skating rink. ‘I already sat down with the girls and told them we were going to have a budget cut. The grabbing something to eat when we go out walking isn’t going to happen,’ she said. Of the 5,600 New Hampshire families that receive state welfare assistance, Fairbanks is among 1,136 families who will lose that aid because the state is counting Supplemental Security Income for residents too disabled to work in calculating their welfare grant. Another 420 people will receive reduced welfare benefits as a result, said state Family Assistance Director Terry Smith…”
  • Lawmakers urged to revoke 20 percent pay cut on personal care assistants, By Elizabeth Dunbar, February 17, 2012, Minnesota Public Radio: ” Some personal care assistants in Minnesota are urging lawmakers to revoke a new law that cuts their pay by 20 percent. More than 17,000 Minnesotans with disabilities rely on personal care assistants to help them with everyday tasks like eating and getting dressed. In about a third of the cases, family members are paid to provide this care to their adult relatives. To help balance the state’s budget last year, the Legislature reduced personal care assistant wages paid to family members. A judge has temporarily blocked the cut. But personal care assistants say lawmakers still need to find a permanent fix…”

State Medicaid Programs – New Hampshire, Florida, Kentucky

  • Medicaid overhaul leaves questions, By Benjamin Yelle, February 13, 2012, Keene Sentinel: “A plan to change the way Medicaid services are delivered in New Hampshire has service providers and family members searching for answers – and time is running out. Gov. John H. Lynch and the N.H. Executive Council are scheduled to act in March on contracts for so-called ‘managed care’ of Medicaid clients. Medicaid is a federal program that provides medical and social services to low-income Americans. It has two components: acute care, which is similar to health insurance, and covers things like doctor’s visits, and long-term or chronic care, which covers permanent developmental disabilities, acquired brain injuries and other serious or recurring ailments. In the Monadnock Region about 1,000 people receive such services. The state Legislature voted in 2011 to send Medicaid services out to bid to private, for-profit companies to take over administration from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services…”
  • Feds deny part of Fla. Medicaid proposal, By Kelli Kennedy (AP), February 11, 2012, Miami Herald: “Republican lawmakers’ quest to expand a Medicaid privatization program statewide was dealt a blow this week after federal health officials said the state could not impose $10 monthly premiums on Medicaid beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also denied the state’s proposal to charge $100 co-pays for any non-emergency ER visits, according to a letter sent Thursday. Federal health officials said the fees violated several statutes designed to protect nearly 3 million of state’s most vulnerable…”
  • Medicaid managed care companies defend their efforts in Kentucky, By John Cheves, February 13, 2012, Lexington Herald-Leader: “Three companies hired last year to manage most of the state’s Medicaid program on Monday defended their efforts thus far and said they’re working to resolve problems. Lawmakers on the Program Review and Investigations Committee quizzed executives with Coventry Cares, Kentucky Spirit and WellCare of Kentucky, which manage Medicaid outside of the Louisville area under a cost-cutting plan implemented in November by Gov. Steve Beshear…”

2011 Kids Count Data Book – Northeastern States

Kids Count Report – New Hampshire

  • Survey: 19 percent more NH children got food stamps between 2008 and 2009, By Michael Brindley, August 5, 2011, Nashua Telegraph: “The number of New Hampshire children whose families receive food stamps increased by 19 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to a study released today gauging the health of the state’s children. The annual New Hampshire Kids Count Data Survey, released by the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire, uses 33 data points to measure the well-being of children in the state. Among the findings in this year’s report is that an average of 16.8 percent of children aged 0 to 17, or one out of every six minors, participated in the food stamp program in 2008 and 2009. During that period, overall participation increased by 19 percent, according to the study. This was attributed to factors such as rising unemployment during the recession and the rising cost of food…”
  • Report tracks childhood hunger in NH, By Cara Hogan, August 5, 2011, Eagle Tribune: “A group of six children come into the Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry a few times a week to eat a meal. ‘I don’t know where the parents are, if they’re working or what,’ Christine Fudala, director of Sonshine Soup Kitchen said. ‘The kids are about middle-school age and they’re always thankful and respectful. School’s out so the food might not be there for them at home.’ They are some of the many children whose families are struggling to feed them and house them. The number of children in New Hampshire on food stamps increased by 19 percent from 2008 to 2009 and homeless students increased 21 percent in the same time period, according to the New Hampshire Kids Count Data Book released this week. The study tracks the well-being of New Hampshire’s children, according to Ellen Fineberg, executive director of the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire…”

State Minimum Wage – New Hampshire

N.H. fights over minimum wage, By Michael McCord, June 20, 2011, SeacoastOnline: “Gov. John Lynch’s recent veto of a House bill to repeal the state’s minimum wage law created a unique ideological role reversal. Republican House Speaker William O’Brien defended the bill by saying the state should follow federal minimum wage guidelines and the four-term Democratic governor took a state’s rights stand, saying the state should keep its options open…”

State Minimum Wage – New Hampshire

Lynch vetoes bill eliminating state minimum wage law, By Garry Rayno, June 9, 2011, Union Leader: “Gov. John Lynch Thursday vetoed a bill doing away with the state’s minimum wage law which instead tied it to the federal law. In his veto message, Lynch said by repealing the state law, New Hampshire would be ‘effectively ceding state control and authority to the federal government.’ House Bill 133 passed both the House and Senate by more than enough votes to override the governor’s veto. Lynch said the bill would make New Hampshire one of only a handful of states completely deferring to the federal government and not establishing their own minimum wage…”

High School Dropout Age – New Hampshire, Massachusetts

State may study how N.H. cut dropouts, By James Vaznis, April 18, 2011, Boston Globe: “As Massachusetts considers raising its dropout age to 18, a similar measure enacted in New Hampshire has cut that state’s dropout rate nearly in half in its first year. The Granite State’s dropout rate has tumbled to just under 1 percent for the last school year, from 1.7 percent the previous year, when 16- and 17-year-olds could quit school without earning a diploma. ‘What we’ve done is set a goal for all students to graduate and it really has been embraced at the local level,’ said New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, who wants the dropout rate at zero by the 2012-13 school year. ‘Every school principal, teacher, and other educator is focused on how to keep students in school and find programs for them that keeps them motivated.’ Massachusetts officials say they want to find out more about New Hampshire’s strategy as they try to reduce the Bay State’s dropout rate, which has held steady at 2.9 percent for the past two years. Some cities, such as Holyoke, Lawrence, and Springfield, have rates three times higher than the state average…”

Long-Term Unemployment and Jobless Benefits – Kansas, New Hampshire

  • Call center waits prove frustrating, By Phil Anderson, October 10, 2010, Topeka Capital-Journal: “Please don’t mention the word ‘filibuster’ to Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Jim Garner. He really doesn’t want to hear it. Not after a summer in which a filibuster that started in early June by U.S. Senate Republicans contributed to almost two months of delays in processing extensions to unemployment claims that Garner said resulted in thousands of frustrated Kansans having to wait weeks for benefits or information regarding their eligibility. The previous unemployment extension expired June 2, he said. Many thought passage of a new extension would be a mere formality, but the Senate filibuster action changed that. Garner said the Kansas Department of Labor had to stop taking applications because the federal extended benefit program ‘wasn’t legally in existence…'”
  • N.H. long-term jobless take a hit: Feds shift burden to local welfare rolls, By John Nolen, October 11, 2010, Foster’s Daily Democrat: “Some unfortunate Granite Staters who lost their jobs when the recession began to impact New Hampshire in January 2009, have been unable to find work since then. Their woes eased slightly this summer when Congress voted to extend unemployment benefits to 99 weeks for this might have carried them through to November. It was a false dawn, though. Like just a handful of states, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate has averaged below six percent in recent months, and so the latest federal benefit extension lifeline has excluded the long-term unemployed in New Hampshire. The calculations that go into the 99-week unemployment payments are complex, and in the process a few states with lower unemployment rates may be filtered out of some of the federal programs…”

Food Stamp Program Enrollment – Maine, New Hampshire

Food stamp recipients hit new high: 1 in 5 in Maine, 1 in 10 in New Hampshire, By Jason Claffey, September 5, 2010, Laconia Citizen: “For the first time, the number of Americans on food stamps has exceeded 40 million. The government in August reported 40.8 million people were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the administrative name for food stamps. The figure increased nearly 20 percent from a year ago. In Maine, nearly one in five people are on food stamps. In New Hampshire, about one in 10 are. Both states experienced double-digit percentage hikes in the number of food stamp recipients in August compared to the same time last year. The record numbers show more people than ever are receiving the help they need, but on the other hand, it shows the effect of a high unemployment rate that has budged little in the wake of the recession…”

Farmers Markets and WIC – New Hampshire

Farmers markets help WIC recipients, By Jillian Jorgensen, July 26, 2010, Eagle-Tribune: “Farmers markets aren’t just a nice place to spend a summer afternoon shopping – they can also provide some extra fruits and vegetables to people who receive federal assistance. “I think it is a really important thing that will help decrease the obesity problem in this country, to make fresh fruits and vegetables available,” said Lisa Bujno, chief of the New Hampshire Population Health and Community Services Bureau. “It’s a really important part of a balanced diet.” The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides coupons to those receiving assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – more commonly known as WIC – and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program…”

State Budgets and Social Services

  • Cuts would dramatically shrink Nevada safety net, By David McGrath Schwartz, February 9, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “During Gov. Jim Gibbons’ State of the State speech Monday, he told Nevadans to prepare for a smaller state government. Although the list of what he wants to jettison is not finalized, and some of these cuts need legislative approval, lawmakers privately have signaled that many will go through. The cuts would run from the dramatic – allowing more mentally ill to become homeless – to the mundane – eliminating vacant positions…”
  • Hawaii DHS restructuring may cut 200 jobs, close 50 offices, By Mary Vorsino, February 9, 2010, Honolulu Advertiser: “More than 200 state workers who process applications for government assistance programs could lose their jobs, their union said, and at least 50 eligibility offices statewide could close under a cost-cutting proposal that advocates are worried will make it harder for the poor to access key social services. The state Department of Human Services said the planned reorganization is aimed at improving efficiency and lowering costs, but also stressed that the changes are still in the planning stages and no decisions have yet been made…”
  • Cuts outlined to shore up social services, By Shira Schoenberg, February 6, 2010, Concord Monitor: “The Department of Health and Human Services laid out dozens of proposed cuts yesterday, in an attempt to fill an anticipated $43 million hole in its budget for this fiscal year. Hospitals will bear a large portion of the cuts, but the impact will be felt everywhere, from child care centers to nursing homes. Most of the shortfall is due to the economy, which has driven more individuals to seek state services…”

Funding for Section 8 Housing Subsidies

Section 8 shortfall leaves thousands waiting, By Dan Gorenstein, August 23, 2009, National Public Radio: “Federal funding for Section 8, the nation’s largest rental assistance program, could dry up for some housing authorities before year’s end. The shortfall is forcing some low-income families to pay higher rents – and putting others in jeopardy of losing their vouchers altogether. As for the hundreds of thousands currently on multiyear waiting lists nationwide, the wait is now even longer. In New Hampshire, the Housing Finance Authority cut aid, forcing people to pay more in rent. Executive Director Dean Christon doesn’t like to squeeze people who make on average less than $15,000 a year, but he says that’s better than the alternative…”