At the Voices for Children Awards Luncheon last week, Children’s Alliance recognized the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, the Washington Parent Ambassadors and Jiji Jally for their stellar advocacy for kids. In national news, an editorial calls for protections to food stamps in the Farm Bill, and a columnist reminds us that prior to the Affordable Care Act, 28 percent of young Americans were uninsured.
Two reports were released this past week related to hunger and obesity in children and youth during the summer months. At first glance, these issues seem contrary, but in fact the same group of kids, low-income and children and youth of color, are at the highest risk of experiencing summertime hunger and unhealthy weight gain.
Swinomish Awarded for Dental Care Advocacy | The Skagit Valley Herald | 06-14-2012
Anyone trying to make an appointment at the Swinomish Dental Office today would have to wait five to six weeks before landing time in the dental chair. Meanwhile, cavities or other oral health problems could become bigger and harder to treat. “We can take care of you, but not in a timely manner,” said Raymond Dailey, dental chief at the Swinomish and Upper Skagit tribes. “There’s more need than we can provide care for.” That’s why the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community made an award-winning effort to expand routine dental care in the state — and they say they will continue. The Swinomish were awarded a Voices for Children award in Seattle last week by the Children’s Alliance, which has been part of the statewide fight to extend dental care to more people.
This year’s “Voices for Children” advocacy award winners – awarded in June in Seattle by the statewide, nonpartisan child advocacy group the Children’s Alliance – highlight ordinary Washingtonians who have worked to make the lives of children better. Below are the three 2012 award winners.
Marshallese advocate Jiji Jally, who has stood-up more than once for the people of her Marshall Islands homeland, was lauded Thursday for her tireless efforts to protect State Food Assistance for her own community and for thousands of other immigrant families in Washington. The Children's Alliance presented Jally with the 2nd annual Brewster Denny Rising Star Advocate Award at its "Voices of Children" luncheon held at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Conference Center.
The USDA released its annual report Thursday on how much it costs to raise a child. The grand total for a child born in 2011 is $234,900 — $295, 560 if inflation is factored in — for all child-related expenses, from birth to age 17. That’s a 3.5 percent increase over last year…The USDA report also found a disparity in child health care expenses between single-parent families and two-parent families. It estimates that single-parent families with a pre-tax income of $59,410 will spend almost 10 percent less on health care for their children than their two-parent counterparts. On the other hand, it estimates single-parent families who earn more than this amount will spend almost 9 percent more than married parents.
The version of the farm bill that emerged from the Senate Agriculture Committee contains $4.5 billion in cuts to the food stamps program over 10 years. That amount is a small fraction of the nation’s spending on food stamps, currently nearly $80 billion a year, but would, nevertheless, be devastating for nearly half-a-million households that would have their benefits sliced by an average of $90 per month, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Such a cutback in food benefits for struggling families and children is unconscionable in a bill containing plenty of unnecessary giveaways for corporate farming interests.
When health care reform became law in March 2010, 28 percent of Americans aged 18-25 did not have health insurance. During the first quarter of this year, that rate had fallen to 23 percent. Obama's law allows people under age 26 to remain on their parents' insurance plans, which has provided health benefits to a population that historically has been less likely to have coverage. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision by the end of this month on whether Obama's health care reform law is constitutional. Justices could uphold the law, invalidate the individual mandate that most people must obtain health coverage or other provisions, or strike down the entire statute. Under the last scenario, young adults would lose the guarantee of coverage they now have through their parents' insurance.
Fewer low-income children participated in the nation’s summer nutrition programs in July 2011 than a year earlier, according to Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, an analysis by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Only one in seven of the low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2010-2011 school year received summer meals in July 2011. The continuing fallout of the recession has not only led to lost jobs and wages and more need for nutrition support for children, but also to major cuts in summer schools and youth programs.
The farm bill has been praised by many in the Senate as a common-sense solution to preserving the country's food security and encouraging market growth, but New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has already offered an amendment to the bill that would keep SNAP off the chopping block. "The farm bill is about the health of the agricultural industry; it's about the health of our families with nutritious food that is actually within reach of the children who need it," Gillibrand said on the floor Wednesday. The Congressional Budget Office anticipates that the $4.5 billion in cuts will, on average, mean families needing assistance will receive $90 less a month for groceries.