Kids in the News, June 21, 2011

In this week’s edition, summer meals help fill the nutrition gap for kids out of school, Mary Ann Murphy, founding member of the Children’s Alliance, is honored for her tireless leadership combatting child abuse, and local advocacy to protect federal food stamps is on the rise. In national news, U.S. Sen. Rockefeller heralds Medicaid as the choice public coverage option for kids, and congressional decisions perpetuating child poverty contrast with successful efforts to halve child poverty in the U.K.

Summer meals help bridge nutrition gap | The Spokesman-Review | 06-17-2011
“There is a tremendous amount of need for students out there,” said Jody Walker, Spokane Public Schools administrator of the Summer Food Service Program…While some area districts say their summer program participation has grown only slightly in recent years, Spokane Public Schools – the poorest of the area’s largest districts – has seen a 15 percent increase in the past two years. The district has also increased the number of sites by 10 percent.
Children’s advocate helped create climate of prevention | The Spokesman-Review | 06-11-2011
As Mary Ann Murphy retires at the end of this month after 23years as the founding director of Partners with Families and Children: Spokane, she leaves a legacy as a champion of children. Under her leadership, the program earned a national reputation as an integrated service-delivery model combining health, child welfare, chemical dependency and mental health treatment. “We do difficult work well and will stick with the children we serve through thick and thin,” Murphy says. “However, the core challenges we face are the twin evils of poverty and racism."
Hunger Relief Allies to Congress: “Don’t starve SNAP!" | County & State - Lake Stevens Journal | 06-20-2011
More than 2,500 organizations across the country are petitioning Congress to reject plans that cut or dismantle the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps). Their letter, sent to every member of Congress and the White House, includes 54 groups in Washington state. It says converting SNAP to a block grant program would be devastating to millions who depend on it to eat and feed their families....In Washington state, more than one million people are SNAP recipients, up 12 percent from a year ago. According to Ellen Vollinger, legal director at Food Research and Action Center, nearly 80 percent of recipients are households with children; the rest are mostly seniors and people with disabilities.
School lunch prices will rise this fall for some | The Bellingham Herald | 06-13-2011
A host of child and nutrition advocacy groups say that any higher prices during a time of economic uncertainty will lead fewer students to eat healthy lunches and more to rely on less-nutritious meals from home or the value menu at fast-food restaurants. The children of parents who earn slightly more than the income cutoff for free and reduced-price lunches would be most vulnerable to leaving the lunch program altogether, said Ed Cooney, the executive director of the Congressional Hunger Center, a nonprofit nutrition advocacy group. "Those are people sucking wind, getting by. They've got two or three kids in school. Now they've got to pay more for each meal? What will they do? They may drop out," Cooney said.
WA budget boosts early learning; money provided for full-day kindergarten and more | Birth to Thrive Online | 06-16-2011
The new preschool and kindergarten assessment money should help Washington compete in another high profile contest for federal funds, the Education Department’s new $500 million Race to the Top,which will support high-quality investments in early learning. While the department hasn’t announced guidelines for them competition, authorizing legislation highlighted the importance of increasing the number disadvantaged infants, toddlers and preschoolers in high quality programs, according to Laura Bornfreund, a policy analyst at New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative. Washington’s budget accomplished this goal during a period when other states cut spending on pre-kindergarten.
 
Revenue forecast shows new approach needed to bolster state economy | Schmudget blog (Washington State Budget & Policy Center) | 06-16-2011
Today, our state Economic and Revenue Forecasting Council(ERFC) announced that the softening national economy is projected to lower tax revenues that support our state’s core economic infrastructure by $183 million in the coming 2011-13
biennium.Washingtonians must chart a new economic course. By generating new revenues we can rebuild the health, education, and other community structures that are proven to fuel robust and sustainable economic growth and to expand long-term prosperity.
 
INTERVIEW: Rockefeller Says He Will Fight ‘To The End’ Against Medicaid Cuts | 06-17-2011
"A 10-year-old boy is out playing on his bicycle on a street and he gets hit by a car. He's in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Is Medicare going to take care of him? No. Is private insurance going to take care of him? No. Medicaid is the ultimate American safety net. Medicaid will take care of him."
Let Them Eat Horses? | First Focus News | 06-20-2011
In the U.S. House of Representatives agriculture appropriations debate last week, Members of Congress stood up to propose a series of deeper and deeper cuts to the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) supplemental nutrition program, ostensibly in the name of deficit reduction....A few months ago, we chronicled the U.K.’s successful campaign to effectively halve child poverty (as measured in absolute terms) in ten years following the announcement of a national child poverty reduction target. In recent years, though, the U.K. has been hit just as hard as the U.S. by the global economic crisis and subsequent recession, and as a result, their budget – as is ours – is now under serious pressure. Yet, it terms of maintaining budgetary priorities, the two countries are quite different.
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