Pages tagged "Child Rights"
“The only simple thing about this tax bill is that the bulk of its benefits flow to wealthy families and corporations at the expense of working families and children. Corporations will enjoy a steep decrease in their tax rate, which will plummet from 35 percent to 21 percent, permanently.
In 2027, nearly 83% of the tax breaks are projected to go to the top 1% of earners. On the other hand, hard-working families with children, especially those in poverty, will, at best, see modest—but temporary—tax breaks, with the poorest left out entirely. Sadly, in the name of a partisan victory and so-called simplification of our tax code, the President and his Congressional Majority have ushered through a tax overhaul in record time with no regard for legislative process or bipartisanship. The result heavily and shamefully favors the wealthiest.
At the same time that extraordinary measures were used to rush a deficit-ballooning tax bill to the President, an extremely successful and bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired. Ironically, this upside-down prioritization stems from claims that the $8 billion CHIP cost requires funding offsets. This explanation for inaction on CHIP is appalling given that the tax bill will cost more than 100 times that over the next five years.
In addition, this unfair, lopsided and insulting tax bill gambles with our children’s future by relying on unfounded expectations for economic growth. Congress’ own independent analysts estimate that this tax bill will increase the deficit by $1.45 trillion. Our young people can expect to shoulder this debt burden, experience shrinking social services and ultimately pay for the tax cuts with higher taxes.
Already, the tax bill’s supporters have indicated they will dismantle the social safety net to compensate for this explosion in the deficit. This endangers critical programs that serve families and children, such as Medicaid, temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), child nutrition programs, and housing assistance. Families cannot afford to lose these crucial supports, which are already receiving a declining share of the federal budget. As of 2017, less than 8 percent of total federal spending goes to children.
Supporters of the tax bill have chosen to reward corporations and the wealthiest over children. The First Focus Campaign for Children finds this behavior intolerable and unconscionable and will continue to fight to ensure these policymakers no longer view our children as an afterthought.”
Letter to Senate in Support of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2017
Learning to drive is a rite of passage to young adulthood for millions of youth. It brings new levels of independence and opportunities, enabling young people to take themselves to school, work, and extra-curricular activities. Studies have shown that kids with access to a car do better in school, get better jobs, have more college options, and have more successful careers.
Teens in foster care often face significant barriers to obtaining a driver’s license. Some of these barriers include difficulty securing the parental or guardian permission needed to enroll in driver’s education or to secure an insurance policy, as well as an inability to pay for the various fees associated with becoming a driver. Without a driver’s license, young people in foster care often miss out on age-appropriate opportunities that contribute to success in adulthood.
The Foster Youth Driving Act introduced by US Rep. Danny Davis (IL-7) provides prospective foster parents with training to help prepare a young person to drive. It also provides funds to assist with this process such as assistance with vehicle insurance costs, driver’s education class and testing fees, and fees related to obtaining a driver’s license. Reducing these barriers will increase the sense of normalcy for foster youth and empower them to seek opportunities of higher education and gainful employment.
Several states have also passed legislation related to reducing these barriers for foster youth. Florida’s ground breaking program Keys to Independence, which works to reduce the barriers for foster youth in gaining driving experience and getting a license, was granted permanency this year. Arizona passed a bill that allows foster youth to purchase car insurance. Most recently Kentucky and South Carolina passed similar legislation that extends authorization for who can sign off for a learner’s permit and driver’s license.
Obtaining a driver’s license can play a significant role in the life of an adolescent or young adult in foster care. SPARC, an initiative of First Focus, has launched a campaign called Going Places. The campaign is dedicated to improving state policies regarding foster youth and their access to driver's licenses, driver’s education, practice hours, access to cars, and insurance.
- To read the letter of support, click here.
- Learn more about the Going Places campaign.
The First Focus Campaign for Children sent a letter to Rep. Danny Davis (IL-7) in support of his introduction of the Foster Youth Driving Act (HR 2512).
This legislation provides prospective foster parents with training to help prepare a young person to drive.
It also provides funds to assist with such things as vehicle insurance costs, driver’s education classes, testing fees, and costs related to obtaining a license.
Reducing these barriers will increase the sense of normalcy for foster youth and empower them to seek opportunities of higher education and gainful employment.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2017
(Washington, D.C.) – In response to the release of the American Health Care Act by Republican leadership in the House of Representatives last evening, a bill that would repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and impose a per capita cap on the Medicaid program, First Focus Campaign for Children (FFCC) releases the following statement by President Bruce Lesley:
The American Health Care Act would, as currently written, be a major step backwards for our nation’s children. The uninsured rate for children reached a record low of 4.8 percent in 2015 and has dropped by 68 percent since passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program two decades ago. As a nation, we have made enormous progress in terms of ensuring our nation’s children have health insurance coverage. Now is not the time to reverse this progress; the American Health Care Act would seriously threaten the health and well-being of millions of children.
First and foremost, FFCC strongly opposes the provisions in the bill that impose a per capita cap upon the Medicaid program, which currently provides coverage to an estimated 35 million low-income children in this country. Per capita caps are nothing more than arbitrary limits imposed upon states by the federal government that, by definition, shortchange states for the costs associated with care for children with special health care needs, such as children with cancer, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and sickle cell anemia, or other higher-cost populations such as newborns and children in foster care. It is the care to these vulnerable groups of children that could be threatened and rationed by the federal imposition of a per capita cap on states.
In fact, since the entire purpose of a per capita cap is to cut federal support to Medicaid, states may be forced to either finance any shortfall themselves or implement various forms of rationing, such as making cuts in coverage, benefits, and payment rates to provides, shifting more costs to low-income families, or limiting access to care for children, pregnant women, adults, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. This could be an outright disaster for millions of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Although the American Health Care Act retains the provision in the ACA that allows children to stay on their parents’ health care to age 26, which we support, it phases out parallel language that allows children in foster care to retain their Medicaid coverage to age 26 through presumptive eligibility. Children aging out of foster care are some of our nation’s most vulnerable young adults with health care needs associated with their childhood trauma that threaten their well-being. Now is not the time to impose greater administrative burdens and delays on their health coverage, while also underfinancing the care of all children in–and who have aged out of–foster care through the Medicaid per capita cap.
These provisions also violate a campaign promise by President Donald Trump to not cut the Medicaid program and to ensure that no one would lose health coverage under the bill.
As for the changes made by repealing the tax subsidies in the ACA and replacing them with a different set of tax credits in the individual market, FFCC is concerned that such changes may leave children with special health care needs particularly vulnerable. Unfortunately, the legislation currently does not include a much-needed score by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) along with an analysis of how the bill might impact existing coverage.
Congress should commit to “do no harm” to the health insurance coverage upon which our nation’s children rely. Since this bill threatens to do real harm to Medicaid coverage that an estimated 35 million count on for their care, we urge Congress to return to the drawing board, schedule congressional hearings to discuss and receiving input on health care reform proposals, allow Members of Congress and the public ample time to read and study the legislation, and wait until the CBO does its job in providing a score and analysis of how the bill would impact coverage rates and our nation’s health care system. Children deserve better than to have adults in Congress threaten their health coverage.
As such, the following are child- and family-focused policy recommendations that the President can follow to create a future that our children need and deserve.
Our recommendations are broken into seven broad categories:
- ensuring a safe and healthy future;
- supporting families with children;
- ending food insecurity and promoting child nutrition;
- providing children with an early, solid foundation;
- helping every student succeed,
- focusing child abuse and neglect response efforts on child well- being; and
- promoting child and family values.
Within each category is a list of goals, and actions the new Administration can take to reach those goals, all of which will improve the lives of our children.
To truly make America great, we must invest in our nation’s future – our children. First Focus Campaign for Children looks forward to working together towards creating a future that all children – and our nation – deserve.
Download the 100 Days Recommendations here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FEBRUARY 8, 2017
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Amid sweeping changes by the incoming Trump Administration, First Focus Campaign for Children has issued its policy recommendations with a clear “do no harm” standard toward policies that impact America’s children during the first 100 days of the new presidency.
These child-focused recommendations come in light of President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech in which he acknowledged the universality of the rights of all children, saying: “And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.”
Top recommendations from First Focus policy experts include:
- Improving the health of children by funding the CHIP program, reducing asthma triggers, and protecting against lead poisoning;
- Applying a “do no harm” standard for any repeal-and-replace measures of the Affordable Care Act;
- Ending child poverty by strengthening family tax credits and setting a national Child Poverty Target;
- Ensuring immigration policies protect child safety and well-being by protecting DACA and providing increased support to unaccompanied minors;
- Reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childcare Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to ensure the best start in life for young children; and
- Focusing on child abuse and neglect response efforts to support children in foster care and end human trafficking.
In a statement First Focus Campaign for Children President and CEO Bruce Lesley said, “The recommendations we are putting forth are bold. We will not shy away from issues that impact every citizen – including the 16 million children that will be born in this country be born over the next four years. Those children deserve to be met with and be assured of a bright future.”
Read the entire list of child policy recommendations at CampaignForChildren.org.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions
First Focus Campaign for Children is a bipartisan nonprofit children’s advocacy organization that advocates directly to ensure that children and families are a priority in federal budget and policy decisions.
By Molly McCluskey
WASHINGTON — Candidate Donald Trump offered little insight into his prospective policies surrounding youth and families, and President-Elect Trump has not provided any more clarity. Many youth advocacy groups say their approach to the beginning of the new administration is a sort of cautious optimism.
Their top priorities for the first 100 days are strengthening tax credits for families, increasing access to affordable child care, making more housing more affordable, investing in mentoring and after-school programs, and ensuring that youth employment is included in plans to increase jobs nationwide.
By Bruce LesleyIn “Senators owe vulnerable kids real debate, floor votes” by John Kelly and Daniel Heimpel (Dec. 14), they correctly highlight the enormous problem that children face in the legislative process where bills involving children, such as the Family First Prevention Services Act (child welfare) and the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act (juvenile justice), fail to get votes in the Senate despite overwhelming bipartisan support. To their list, I would add the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act, which also failed to get approved by Congress.
For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 22, 2016
Contact: Meg Biallas, (202) 657-0664
Washington – A coalition of child advocates is calling on the incoming Trump Administration to create a national Child Poverty Target, setting the goal of cutting the U.S. child poverty rate by half within a decade.
A national Child Poverty Target is not unprecedented – the United Kingdom established a national target, which was supported by both the Conservative and Labour parties. Measured in U.S. terms, the UK’s Child Poverty Target and resulting policy changes successfully cut the UK’s absolute child poverty rate by 50 percent during the effort’s first decade.
Members of the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group recognize that establishing a national target in the U.S. would create an impetus to drive policies that reduce child poverty by supporting a family’s financial well-being and stability, such as:
- Strengthening tax credits for families, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
- Increasing access to affordable childcare and early learning programs, to better prepare all children for school and support parents’ ability to maintain stable employment.
- Offering earned family and medical leave and sick days to all workers, to create flexibility for parents to balance obligations at home and at work.
- Supporting home visiting programs that have been shown to support families and reduce maltreatment of children.
- Boosting access to affordable housing and addressing family homelessness by pairing housing assistance with services to help children and parents recover from the disruption of homelessness.
- Investing in communities to address concentrated poverty and boost positive outcomes for children later in life.
“We are asking President-elect Trump’s policy advisers to consider solutions that truly work for kids, families and communities,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “If we want to make America great, we must tackle child poverty and invest in our nation’s future – our children.”
“There are more than 4 million children under the age of 5 living in poverty in the United States. That’s one out of every five infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Investing in high-quality early childhood education is the most effective way to break the cycle of poverty and ensure equal opportunity for all American families,” said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network, or SCAN. “SCAN is committed to working with the Children’s Poverty Action Group to ensure that all children have access to the support they need, especially high-quality early childhood education, during these critical early years.”
"We know that poverty has a significant impact on child development and that it does increase the many stresses on our most vulnerable families including those in the child welfare population,” said John Sciamanna, Vice President of Public Policy, Child Welfare League of America. “Any strategy to move this country forward must address child poverty equal to our greatest challenges."
Members of the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group who have endorsed these recommendations include: First Focus Campaign for Children, Save the Children Action Network, National Center for Children in Poverty, National Black Child Development Institute, American Federation of Teachers, Child Welfare League of America, National Council of La Raza, and PICO National Network.
Click here to read the full letter of recommendations.
The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG USA) is a broad-based coalition of non-profit, child-focused organizations and individuals dedicated to cutting the child poverty rate in half within 10 years. For more information, follow CPAG on Twitter @CPAG_USA or visit www.childpovertyusa.org.