Linking research and advocacy to improve the well-being of Iowa kids
APRIL 11, 2013
CFPC's Charles Bruner presents to national Help Me Grow conference
CFPC executive Charles Bruner presented this week at the 4th Annual Help Me Growth National Forum in Provo, UT. Help Me Grow is a system for improving access to existing resources and services for at-risk children through age eight. The event brought together over 85 participants from 18 Help Me Grow state, including Iowa.
View Bruner's presentation on the Role of Public Sector Health Funding (particularly Medicaid).
View other work by Bruner on this topic:
- Medicaid/EPSDT Financing Questions for Child Health Services and CMS Responses
- Going Beyond Coverage to Improve Community Health (with Amy Fine)
- A Child Health Advocate’s Guide to Essential Health Benefits: Eight Questions to Raise
APRIL 9, 2013
CFPC: Healthy Iowa Plan 'extremely problematic'
CFPC issued an assessment of Gov. Terry Branstad's Healthy Iowa Plan, which has been introduced in the Legislature as House Study File 232. CFPC has serious concerns about the bill -- the governor's alternative to expanding Medicaid for low-income adults, an option part of health reform -- in four areas: coverage, feasibility of implementation, likelihood of federal approval and cost.
“The Governor’s desire to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation is laudable,” said CFPC executive director Charles Bruner, “but this proposal does not move Iowa in that direction. Lawmakers need to look at feasible methods of health promotion within Medicaid, and build upon the legislation passed by the Senate.”
View CFPC's full statement.
APRIL 9, 2013
CFPC presents on poverty policies that work
CFPC staffers Danielle Oswald-Thole and Anne Discher presented April 8 at the Poverty Summit sponsored by the Graduate Program in Public Policy at the University of Northern Iowa.
Their talk, "Addressing Poverty with Policies that Work," reviewed poverty trends in Iowa and highlighted three specific effective policies that are currently in the political spotlight: the earned income tax credit, Medicaid expansion and child care assistance.
View the presentation.
MARCH 5, 2013
Medicaid expansion in Iowa policy spotlight
How Iowa should cover low-income adults with health insurance has been a high-profile discussion at the Iowa Capitol this session. The Affordable Care Act gives states the option to expand Medicaid to adults earing up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, with the federal government picking up almost all the costs. Gov. Branstad is advocating for an alternate plan that would provide more limited benefits, with the state picking up a larger share of the costs.
Here are some resources on the history of the Medicaid program and thoughts on what a health benefits program for low-income adults should look like.
JANUARY 3, 2013
Early-childhood needs assessment reveals stresses among Iowa children
Many young Iowa children and their families are facing challenges in their day-to-day lives, according to the first part of a comprehensive early-childhood needs assessment conducted by CFPC on behalf of Early Childhood Iowa.
The report, “A Baseline on Iowa’s Young Children: Capturing the Demand for Early-Childhood Services” documents in over 40 maps and charts social and demographic trends affecting Iowa’s young-child population, including population growth, single parenting, poverty, parental education and workforce participation.
The next segments of the report will document the supply, capacity and quality of early-childhood services in Iowa and determine how well they are positioned to meet the current and projected future demand for quality services.
Early Childhood Iowa is a statewide alliance of stakeholders in early care, health and education systems that affect children ages prenatal to five years. Its purpose is to support the development and integration of an early care, health and education system for Iowa.
View the report.
DECEMBER 4, 2012
New Iowa Kids Count data shows mixed bag for Iowa families
Iowa’s families and children continued to experience tough economic times in 2011, according to “Iowa Kids Count 2011: Trends in the Well-Being of Iowa Children,” released today by CFPC.
But even as families continue to feel effects of the Great Recession, most health and education indicators actually showed continued improvement – an encouraging sign, and one that reflects intentional policy decisions, said Michael Crawford, CFPC senior associate, who authored the report. “It is extremely important that the state continues to support the critical health and education programs as families work to strengthen their economic standing.”
The share of people receiving food assistance (known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) almost tripled from 2000 to 2011 while the unemployment rate more than doubled. In addition, the child-poverty rate and the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches grew substantially. In that same period, the teen birth rate decreased, and the majority of the child mortality indicators improved. Educationally, grade-level testing proficiency and preschool enrollment are both up.
Iowa Kids Count 2011 provides state- and county-level health, education, welfare and economic data on 20 indicators of child and family well-being. It is supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which supports Kids Count activities in all 50 states.
View the full report
View individual tables
NOVEMBER 5, 2012
Child-focused electoral advocacy in full swing leading up to Election Day
CFPC, its advocacy arm Every Child Counts, and the Children's Policy Coalition have produced a myriad of resources on children and the 2012 elections. Here are some of them, perfect for perusing in advance of tomorrow's elections.
CFPC director Charles Bruner's op-ed in the Ames Tribune: America’s future (our kids) still largely missing in presidential campaign
Voter's Guides on child policy issues for Iowa U.S. House races:
2nd District: Archer and Loebsack
3rd District: Boswell and Latham
4th District: King and Vilsack
Responses to child-policy-related questions from 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley
Summary of presidential website content on child policy
Why do candidates' politions on children matter in the elections? Because today's children are our future workers and community leaders. Read the Des Moines Register's special project on the challenges facing Iowa's children. Can we do better by them?
OCTOBER 8, 2012
Itsaboutourkids.org is 'one-stop-shop' for child policy in the 2012 elections
The Children's Policy Coalition, a group of 32 Iowa organizations committed to raise child and family policy issues to the prominence they deserve, this morning unveiled the itsaboutourkids.org website, the one-stop-shop for information about child policy in the 2012 elections.
Visitors to the site will find analysis of child policies in state and national party platforms, information on voting in Iowa, links to candidate websites and advice on how to raise the profile of seven key policy areas -- from child health and safety to family economic success -- in electoral debate.
View the site.
OCTOBER 4, 2012
CFPC director Charles Bruner: Where are kids in election debate?
The Des Moines Register this morning ran CFPC director Charles Bruner's op-ed asking why children have received so little attention from candidates this election season.
It's probably, at least in part, because child policy doesn't lend itself to simple soundbites or easy solutions, said Bruner. And it's probably because people aren't asking, including in the first meeting between Romney and Obama. "Questions about children simply were not asked in this debate, nor has the media raised them as among the core set of issues that candidates need to address. Fortunately, there is time, during the next month, for this to occur."
Read the op-ed.
OCTOBER 2, 2012
New reports offer 'food for thought' for health advocates
CFPC has released two publications describing opportunities for child health advocates to weigh in on critical upcoming health activities in their states.
Next Steps on Essential Health Benefits Plans
States now are moving from the stage of selecting an Essential Health Benefits plan to further adding to or modifying that plan to ensure that it meets federal requirements. "Eight Questions Child Health Advocates Can Raise About Essential Health Benefits" suggests opportunities to emphasize comprehensive preventive and developmental health services for children within those plans.
It builds on Child Health Advocates’ Guide to Essential Health Benefits of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families by explicitly discussing the implication of developing an essential health benefit plan to meet the new federal requirement for child coverage based on evidence-informed practices contained in Bright Futures.
States also are deciding whether to expand their Medicaid coverage to adults under 138 percent of poverty, with the federal government covering the lion’s share of the costs. Although not primarily an issue involving children’s coverage, it has implications for the financing of the overall health system and, therefore, for children. bed bath and beyond coupons
“Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act: Implications for Individuals who will be Covered and for State Residents and Taxpayers” illustrates the types of individuals the expansion would cover, what services they already may be receiving directly or indirectly through state and community funding, and the overall implications for states of expanding Medicaid to this group.
Read the Medicaid Expansion brief.
Read the Essential Health Benefits guide.
AUGUST 8, 2012
ECC gets ready to 'Step Up for Kids'
The annual Step Up for Kids week is right around the corner. From September 17 through 21, representatives from CFPC's Every Child Counts advocacy initiative and Every Child Matters will lead interactive sessions across the state on the role of advocacy in elections and the legislative process, how to reach out to legislators and how to become a more complete and effective advocate on behalf of children. buy propecia
This year's events will be in Clinton, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Des Moines and Storm Lake.
Visit www.everychildcountsiowa.org for details.
View the flyer.
JUNE 28, 2012
Supreme Court ruling marks "a good day" for Iowa families
Child and Family Policy Center executive director Charles Bruner issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act:
“Today is a good day for Iowa families. When fully implemented, the ACA will assure health coverage for tens of millions of the uninsured, make insurance more affordable for those who already have it and boost consumer protections for Americans of all ages.
“But Iowa still has work to do to achieve these reform goals, which are ones Iowans truly want. Key will be affirming the expansion of Medicaid and assuring the state creates an exchange that meets the needs of health-care consumers.”
JUNE 27, 2012
New report offers guidance on engaging federal candidates on children's issues
In conjunction with Voices for America's Children and 22 state-based child advocacy organizations around the U.S., CFPC has released "Securing America's Future: Children and the 2012 Elections." The guide outlines areas where the federal government plays an important role in child well-being, from school readiness and child health and safety to family economic success. It offers ideas for engaging candidates and voters on these important child-policy issues and assuring the health and well-being of America's next generation. Drugs online.
View the guide.
View the brochure, "Seven questions voters should ask--and candidates should answer--about America's future."
APRIL 10, 2012
Iowa child-care providers report major losses from accepting state subsidies
Iowa child-care providers who participate in the state's child-care assistance program are increasingly making difficult choices to compensate for state reimbursement rates far below current market rates. That's the finding of a recent survey of providers by Every Child Counts, CFPC's advocacy initiative.
To balance their books, Iowa providers report limiting the number of children on CCA, dropping the program altogether, or cutting back on the investments needed to assure quality care.
Families with incomes up to 145 percent of poverty are eligible for assistance while working or attending school. Those with incomes above 100 percent of poverty pay part of the cost of care, based on a sliding scale.
A provision of a Iowa Senate Health and Human Services bill would narrow the gap by boosting child-care assistance reimbursement rates paid to licensed or registered providers by 4 percent. Its future in the Iowa House remains unclear.
Read the reimbursement rate fact sheet.
Read CFPC's five-year plan for improving child care in Iowa.
FEBRUARY 23, 2012
More Iowa children living in high-poverty communities
The number of Iowa children living in high-poverty areas more than doubled over the last decade—a much faster pace than in the U.S. as a whole. Iowa saw a 145 percent increase, compared with a 25 percent increase nationwide, according to a new KIDS COUNT® Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“The increase in the number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Iowa is alarming," said Michael Crawford, director of CFPC’s Iowa Kids Count initiative. The 27,000 children living in those communities represent 4 percent of the Iowa child population.
The report, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey (ACS), found that, nationally, 7.9 million children—11 percent—are growing up in areas where at least 30 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level, about $22,000 per year for a family of four. These are places that often lack access to resources critical to healthy growth and development, including quality education, medical care and safe outdoor spaces.
“Kids in these high-poverty areas are at risk for health and developmental challenges in almost every aspect of their lives, from education to their chances for economic success as adults,” said Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and data at the Casey Foundation. “Transforming disadvantaged communities into better places to raise children is vital to ensuring the next generation and their families realize their potential.”
There are things we can do to reverse this trend in Iowa, said Crawford. “We need the help of the business community in placing businesses in these neighborhoods, which would not only improve their stability, but also provide more employment opportunities. In addition, we need to increase access to affordable housing.”
Read the report.
FEBRUARY 8, 2012
Raise the EITC, Bruner tells state lawmakers
Iowa’s treatment of low-income working families with children is the most unfair part of the state tax code, CFPC executive director Charles Bruner testified last week at the Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Bruner called on lawmakers to raise Iowa’s earned income tax credit (EITC) from 7 percent of the federal EITC to 20 percent. Such an increase would help low-income workers across Iowa, who often struggle to meet their families’ basic needs.
Many of these families—families with incomes so low they owe no federal income tax—nonetheless owe state income tax. In fact, Iowa is one of only a handful of states that impose income taxes on working families with incomes below the poverty level, Bruner said.
He gave an example of a married Iowa couple with two kids. The federal government does not begin taxing this family until its paychecks exceed $45,400. But Iowa begins taxing this family when its paychecks reach $19,100—well below the poverty line.
By comparison, a retired Iowa couple with Social Security and pension income owes no state income tax until their income reaches $60,000.
Increasing the EITC would reduce such disparities in tax treatment and offer a noticeable break for families trying to get ahead—a boost they are in turn able to spend in their local community.
View Bruner’s EITC presentation.
Read the Iowa Human Needs Advocates’ EITC position paper.
Read Rehka Basu’s Des Moines Register column on how the EITC helps one Iowa family.
FEBRUARY 7, 2012
Advocates back plan for improving child care in Iowa
Iowa can substantially improve its child-care system by focusing on affordability, availability and quality. That's according to a five-year improvement plan released last week by the Child and Family Policy Center. Buy sildenafil
"Child care is fundamental to the well-being of Iowa's children and to the stability of our workforce," said Sheila Hansen, director of Every Child Counts, the advocacy initiative of CFPC.
Hansen testified last week before the joint Health and Human Services budget subcommittee that the major focus of improvements is three-fold: boosting the eligibility level for child-care assistance, raising the rates paid to child-care providers under the child-care assistance program and strengthening quality initiatives, including expanded health and safety monitoring and a boost to the state's Quality Ratings System.
The five-year plan reflects the input of focus groups of child-care providers and parents across Iowa and a planning committee of representatives from nonprofit organizations involved with child care. To buy Flagyl link here! In addition to CFPC, the plan was endorsed by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, Iowa Head Start Association, Iowa Community Action Association, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, Iowa Policy Project, Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc., United Ways of Iowa and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.
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