Pages tagged "Nutrition"
On June 19th, the First Focus Campaign for Children submitted a letter to Reps. Danny Davis, James, Langevin, Gwen Moore and Bobby Rush, for their support on the Foster and Homeless Youth Food Security Act of 2017 (HR 2236).
The bill will allow for specific exemptions explicitly for foster and homeless youth who are enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education. It will exempt them from the work requirement and other eligibility criteria as long as they are pursuing their education. This bill will ensure that foster youth won’t have to face the physical and mental burdens of hunger as they work to improve their lives.
This legislation would ban schools from stigmatizing children whose parents cannot afford to pay for their school lunches and require schools to direct communications about unpaid school lunch bills to the parent, rather than penalizing the child.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the newly marked-up Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003) recently moving through the House Education and the Workforce Committee on a strictly partisan vote, it is time to confront the ill-advised provisions that make Representative Todd Rokita’s (R-IN) bill deeply troubling in nature. The bill threatens to increase food insecurity for already needy children under the guise of an improved and more efficient system. In order to truly provide children with the proper meals and nutrition that are essential during their most formative years, we need to expand access to healthy meals throughout the year rather than create even more uncertainty for struggling families. Specifically, First Focus strongly opposes the bill’s provision that proposes block grants on child nutrition programs for up to three states, which would provide insufficient funds and abandon the science-based standards enacted under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
The bill is riddled with potentially damaging provisions, in which the beneficiaries of school meal programs would be hit the hardest. Sadly, those beneficiaries happen to be disadvantaged children. Some of the provisions in question include: cutting coverage for the community eligibility provision, increasing verification paperwork, lowering nutrition standards for school meals, and limiting the effectiveness Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. These misguided proposals would, in turn, lead to not only fewer children receiving the food they need, but would lower the quality of meals as well.
However, the most troubling aspect of H.R. 5003 is the three state school meal block grant demonstration that aims to replace the School Breakfast, National School Lunch, and Special Milk programs. Under a block grant, the funding for these programs would be capped at the amount that a state received in Fiscal Year 2016. The various current reimbursements that schools receive for providing free or reduced price meals are not included in the proposed block grants, thus limiting the incentive for schools to provide affordable meals.
Despite the bill’s attempts to disguise the block grant as something more revolutionary and flexible, school meal programs will simply be thrown into the mix along with a number of other social service programs, and their funding will inevitably shrink. Depleted funding is not acceptable for these programs considering that children’s healthy development hangs in the balance. Along with cuts in funding, states will also have the discretion to determine which children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and ignore any national nutrition standards. It is clear that these block grants would inevitably decrease the number of hungry children that receive the meals they need.
Ending child hunger should without a doubt be a bipartisan issue; however, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 relinquishes this notion. The repercussions of this bill, if passed, would be far more detrimental to this country than the marginal amounts of money that it saves the government. There is no price tag on a child’s health, therefore we cannot allow the passage of a bill that directly hinders the welfare of children and allows for them to miss out on vital meals.
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced legislation to ensure stable and increased federal funding for emergency food banks that distribute food to communities throughout the state.
Lujan Grisham drew attention to the need for the funding last month at a food distribution site at Pajarito Mesa.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Lujan Grisham voted for the 2014 Farm Bill that dedicated money for food purchases, along with $100 million a year for food banks to distribute food to communities. But the distribution money is usually whittled down to about $50 million a year, forcing organizations like the Roadrunner Food Bank to look for other sources of money.
Rep. Lujan Grisham’s Food Bank Assistance Act of 2016 (H.R. 4967) would ...
Washington – The House’s version of a bill that funds children’s food programs – both in and out of school – puts kids’ access to food programs at risk and weakens nutrition standards that help children thrive.
In a letter to House Education and the Workforce Committee Members last week, First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, strongly stated its opposition to the Improving Child Nutrition Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003) introduced by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind.
“Contrary to its title, the House’s nutrition bill detracts, rather than improves, child nutrition standards and access to healthy foods across the country,” said Bruce Lesley, Campaign for Children president. “It’s troubling that with 20 percent of American children living in poverty, lawmakers would try to make it harder for kids to access healthy, nutritious school meals.”
Several provisions included in the bill fall short of common-sense priorities needed to maintain strong nutrition standards and to expand access to healthy meals for students. Under the House’s bill:
- More than 7,000 schools serving 3.4 million students would no longer qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision
- More than 11,000 schools not using the Community Eligibility Provision would also lose eligibility
- Administrative changes to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food program place additional burdens on families and providers
- The qualifying threshold to students certified through federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would be significantly raised
- Scientists and public health officials would be shut out from nutrition standards review
- Fundraisers, family meal days, and a la carte items would be exempt from nutrition standards
“This bill is clearly bad for America’s children,” Lesley said. “Children cannot learn and thrive when it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to access healthy foods. Congress should focus on expanding access and nutrition standards rather than continue to put up barriers for kids. It’s not right.”
Children are increasingly vulnerable to economic challenges facing their families. It’s estimated that more than 15.3 million children live in food insecure households today. To read the Campaign for Children’s letter to Congress, click here.
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.
On April 22, 2016, the First Focus Campaign for Children sent a letter to members of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee strongly stating its opposition of the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016.
We believe healthy nutrition is an essential building block of a healthy childhood and that no child in America should ever go hungry. Students who have access to healthy and nutritious food perform better in school. Twenty percent of American children live in poverty and more than 15 million children live in food-insecure households. Child nutrition programs play an essential role in providing healthy meals to kids both in and out of school.
As introduced, the House Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003) would put access to many essential children's food programs at risk. The bill also weakens nutrition standards that help children thrive academically and developmentally. Specifically, the provisions to increase both verification requirements and community eligibility thresholds will undoubtedly result in children losing free and reduced price meals during the school day.
We must continue to improve access to healthy and nutritious foods for all kids, rather than create additional barriers for the families who need it most.