A Band-Aid Won't Cover 14 Million Cuts
The U.S. House of Representatives is still poised to end health coverage for 14 million poor children and children with disabilities. Last week thousands of you stepped up to protect those children and urged your representatives to vote against The State Flexibility Act (H.R. 1683/S. 868). This legislation would repeal vital federal Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) protections — “maintenance of effort” provisions that allow states to roll back eligibility and erect new barriers to prevent eligible children from enrolling. While the bill has not yet been voted on, we expect it to reach the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives soon.
Together, Medicaid and CHIP provide critical health services to 38 million children each year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if the maintenance of effort provisions are repealed, two-thirds of those who would lose coverage would be children, and by 2016, half the states would eliminate their CHIP programs entirely.
If you haven’t yet taken action, there’s still time. Join with CDF President Marian Wright Edelman, who sent a letter last week to all House members urging them to oppose the State Flexibility Act, and tell your representative to defeat the State Flexibility Act and protect the years of progress we’ve made in covering children.
Medicaid continues to be front and center on the chopping block as legislators debate how to reduce our nation’s debt. Help us protect this critical program and arm yourself with our fact sheet debunking the Medicaid myths. Go to our Children’s Budget Watch to learn about the assaults on children now pending before Congress.
Keeping a Close Watch on Education
We are keeping a close eye on Congress as they take up the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this summer. Congress has the opportunity to invest in America’s future and set American education on the path for equality and excellence for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund is committed to seeing key reforms enacted to reach our most vulnerable children. See CDF’s education priorities and follow all the latest activity on ESEA reauthorization in Washington through our new ESEA Watch Web page. Book mark the page and check back often for updates.
A Call to Action for Infants and Toddlers
Foster Care Awareness Month ends today with our call to action. Infant and toddlers are the age group most vulnerable to child abuse and neglect and the largest group of children entering foster care. Just as their brains are undergoing dramatic development, these young children experience maltreatment that can lead to permanent damage to the brain’s architecture and lifelong problems. When not attuned to young children's developmental needs, the child welfare system’s response can compound the damage. CDF, in collaboration with ZERO TO THREE, and other child welfare groups, recently released A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers, with recommendations for policies, programs and practices to better address the developmental needs of infants and toddlers who come to the attention of the child welfare system.
Last month, CDF-Minnesota released a report on the profound impact severe maternal depression has on the well-being of both mother and child. Maternal depression afflicts 10 to 20 percent of new mothers, especially low-income women and women of color, causing greater risks for birth complications, delayed development, emotional and behavioral problems in school, and chronic health problems in adulthood. The CDF-MN report has the latest research and is available for download.
Enriching Your Child Advocacy Ministry
People of faith who advocate for or serve children and families as volunteers and professionals will gather at CDF Haley Farm July 18-22, 2011, to join with some of our nation’s great preachers and teachers and to be inspired. The Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry’s preaching on justice, informative plenary sessions on urgent children’s concerns, and dynamic workshops equip participants to advocate and organize more effectively, meet children’s needs, and build the movement to create caring congregations and communities to nurture and protect all children. The Proctor Institute’s “Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: Answering God’s Call to Protect Children” will be an energizing and transformative week for participants. Learn more and register today »