Pages tagged "Housing & Homelessness"
Nearly half of infants and toddlers in the U.S. are living in low-income families. This means that over 5 million young children are living in families that have a hard time covering the cost of their family’s basic needs, including diapers for their young children. The Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2017 (H.R. 1143) will give states flexibility in developing and implementing their program.
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.
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.
By Michael Erb
PARKERSBURG — While nationally many states are seeing an increase in the number of homeless students, locally those numbers have dropped or remained steady in recent years.
The First Focus Campaign for Children, a national advocacy program, said this week new statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show the number of homeless children and youth enrolled in public schools has increased, even since the end of the recession.
By David Desroches
Homelessness among children and youth in Connecticut has increased by over 11 percent since 2012, according to new data by the U.S. Department of Education. And this is happening while adult homelessness is falling.
State officials and advocates have touted their work to reduce homelessness among adults. But a new report shows that homelessness among youth is actually increasing.
"Families who are experiencing severe poverty really haven't benefited from the economic recovery," said Barbara Duffield, executive director of a nonprofit called SchoolHouse Connections, which focuses on reducing youth homelessness.
By Arlene Martinez
At 10 months to the day, Jeremiah Dockery is on the go. He's crawling fast, pulling himself up, grabbing fish crackers with his thumb and forefinger and clanking two plastic cups together.
In short, Dockery is perfectly on target — even a little advanced — for his age. He's also, at this particular moment, heading straight for the dusty fireplace full of soot and ashes.
His mom Leilani Dockery tapped him playfully on the back and started singing his name as she gently guided him toward a plastic tub filled with baby-safe items.
By Diane Smith
In Texas, 113,063 students experienced homelessness in the 2014-15 school year, and homelessness is on the rise among public schools in 35 states including Texas.
According to the report...
For Immediate Release: December 13, 2016
Washington – The number of homeless children and youth enrolled in public schools in the United States has increased, even since the end of the recession, according to U.S. Department of Education (ED) data released today.
Public schools reported 1,263,323 children and youth, preK-12, who were identified as experiencing homelessness, and enrolled in school at some point in the 2014—2015 school year. This is a 3.5% increase over three years, and a 12% increase over four years, and a 34% increase since the recession ended in the summer of 2009.
Twenty-one states experienced an increase in homeless student population of more than 10 percent, including: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
The report, “Federal Data Summary School Years 2012-13 to 2014-15: Education for Homeless Children and Youth” further found that:
- Thirty-five states reported an increase in their homeless student populations between 2012 and 2014. Twenty-one states experienced growth of 10% or more, while only five states experienced a reduction of 10% or more.
- Homelessness among unaccompanied homeless youth (youth experiencing homelessness on their own, apart from their families) saw the most marked increase, increasing by 21% over three years, to reach 95,032 students.
- The grade with the largest number of students experiencing homelessness was kindergarten. Forty-seven percent of all students identified as homeless and enrolled in school were elementary-age or younger.
- Federal per-pupil spending on students experiencing homelessness declined by $17.78 since the end of the recession and by $6.07 between fiscal years 2012 and 2015. Overall federal funding to support students experiencing homelessness remained at roughly the same level between fiscal years 2012 and 2015.
- States provided an average per pupil rate of $50.08 in federal funding to school districts for the additional supports needed by homeless students.
The majority of students experiencing homelessness do not live in shelters. 76% were staying with other people temporarily, due to lack of alternatives, upon initial identification by schools. Another 7% were staying in motels when they were identified. These living situations are precarious, crowded, unstable, and often unsafe, leading to high rates of mobility. The use of hotels and motels grew, seeing an increase in use of nearly 19% over three years. The ED data do not include homeless infants and toddlers, young children who are not enrolled in public preschool programs, and homeless children and youth who were not identified by school officials or enrolled in school
In addition to the new data above, research has shown that homelessness impacts children in a multitude of ways:
- Attendance and graduation rates dip. Homeless students transfer schools often, are more likely to miss school, and 87 percent more likely than their peers to leave school before graduation.
- Academic success is compromised. Academic achievement in elementary school is slowed during periods of homelessness and housing instability. The achievement gaps between homeless and low-income elementary students tend to persist, and may even worsen, over time.
- Young children suffer greatly. A 2015 study found that the younger and longer a child experiences homelessness, the greater the cumulative toll of negative health outcomes, which can have lifelong effects on the child, the family, and the community.
- Homeless youth are inherently vulnerable and more exposed to other dangers. Unaccompanied homeless youth are more likely to fall victim to sexual exploitation, including trafficking.
Earlier this year, a ground-breaking report from Civic Enterprises, Hidden in Plain Sight, details the struggles of homeless students in the U.S. and provides insight into how educators, policymakers and community organizations can help more students cope with homelessness, graduate from high school, and have a better shot at adult success. This includes recommendations for implementation of new educational protections for homeless children and youth–the result of amendments to federal law made by the Every Student Succeeds Act that went into effect on October 1, 2016. These amendments place greater emphasis on appropriate staffing and training, pre-school age children, and supports to assist students to graduate from high school and transition to college.
In response to the Department of Education data, leading advocates for homeless children and youth released the following statements:
“The rise in youth homelessness means more students are being exposed to sex trafficking, abuse, hunger, and denial of their basic needs,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “When our children and youth live with the kind of instability that comes with homelessness, they are too tired and hungry to concentrate, and fall further behind in school. We urge the new Administration and the new Congress to re-evaluate the direction of federal homelessness policy, and to adopt a comprehensive two-generational approach to address homelessness.”
“The data released today confirm what schools and communities see every day–too many children and youth struggling to survive without a home,” said Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection. “The new provisions for homeless students in the Every Student Succeeds Act need to be fully funded and implemented so that every homeless student is given the support they need to succeed. Intervening early, including access to early care and education, is a key to better life outcomes and preventing future homelessness.”
The data released by the U.S. Department of Education are available on the website of the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE). NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information provider in the area of homeless education.
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. For more information, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.
SchoolHouse Connection is a new national organization promoting success for children and youth experiencing homelessness, from birth through higher education. SchoolHouse Connection engages in strategic advocacy and provides technical assistance in partnership with early care and education professionals (including school district homeless liaisons and state homeless education coordinators), young people, service providers, advocates, and local communities. For more information, visit www.schoolhouseconnection.org