In White Center near West Seattle, a food bank shares how deep cuts to food stamps will worsen their struggle to feed hungry families. In other state news, a new report finds that child care for young children now costs more than college tuition, and policy analysts say that expanding Medicaid in Washington would lower state health care costs overall. In national news, families of color need food stamps amid hard times, and one congresswoman declares it’s time to invest more in kids for the future of our nation.
On July 1, Washington State cut benefits in half to all legal immigrants signed up for FAP, the state’s food assistance program for those who don’t qualify for the federal version (SNAP), according to the Department of Social and Health Services. For White Center, a community with a significant immigrant population - many struggling in these tough economic times – those cuts lead directly to greater dependence on the White Center Food Bank, according to Ann Kendall, the program’s spokesperson.
In Washington state, child care is not cheap and often costs more than college. The average cost of full-time care for an infant at a center is $10,920 a year in Washington, according to a report from Child Care Aware of America. In comparison, annual in-state tuition at a four-year public college runs, on average, $9,484. ... “Ironically, a child’s success in college depends heavily upon the quality of his or her early childhood experiences. And yet, rarely are new parents prepared for the shocking impact that the price of quality child care has on their pocketbooks,” Elizabeth Bonbright, executive director of Child Care Aware of Washington, wrote in an email.
By sharply reducing the number of people without health insurance, the Medicaid expansion will ease cost pressures on states from uncompensated hospital care, mental health care, and other health care services.
Health districts get funds for visits with young families | The Kitsap Sun | 07-17-2012
Public-health nurses soon will be visiting 25 families with babies so that the little ones will be healthier when they grow up. The Kitsap Public Health District has received $87,500 to start its Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program. The goals of the nurses' visits with families with pregnant mothers or new babies include healthier pregnancies and improved child health and development.
The high court … will take up the case on “an expedited basis” suggesting it could be heard and decided by the time the next regular session of the Legislature convenes in January. But possibly not before voters go to the polls in November, with a new initiative that asks them to extend [the] supermajority for another two years.
We need to do more to ensure that women of color can provide basic needs to their children. According to economists, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—formerly known as food stamps — is one of the most supportive programs for families and communities during economic downturns. Low-income mothers of color can rely on this program as a crucial line of support to extend their income. This past year nutrition assistance helped reduce the number of children living in extreme poverty by half. Despite the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s benefits, the House of Representatives recently cut an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have provided $16.5 billion in funding to the program. Low-income mothers of color are at an increased risk of being food insecure and unable to provide food for their families with these cuts.
Outdated, biased, and discriminatory laws, policies, and practices are preventing same-sex parents from securing the same legal recognition to their children that would otherwise be afforded to them if they were different-sex parents.
Investing in our children having enough to eat must be a priority. Such investment is essential if we want our nation’s children to be healthy and ready to learn now and ready to earn later. Studies show that when children don’t get enough healthy food (known as “food insecurity”) they are at higher risk of hospitalizations and developmental problems as infants and toddlers, and behavior problems and poor health as school-age children. These effects are costly not only in children’s suffering but also to struggling national and state budgets.
Investing in our children is investing in the future | The Hill’s Congress Blog | 07-16-2012
There is far more this Congress can do for our nation’s children — but first we have to make sure we are not sacrificing the future of an entire generation in order to pay for a tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.