More than 700,000 New Uninsured Children in 2006
According to startling new data released earlier this week by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of uninsured children from birth through age 18 rose for the second year in a row. In the last year alone, another 707,000 children have been added to bring the total to more than 9.4 million uninsured children in America. This increase is more than double the jump from 2004 to 2005.
This alarming jump demonstrates that our children need a strong national safety net so that every child has access to the health coverage needed to survive and thrive. It is shameful that despite overwhelming public support and passage of bipartisan bills in both houses of Congress that would provide health coverage to millions more uninsured children, the President appears to be doing everything in his power to prevent children from getting the critical health coverage they need. Not only has President Bush threatened to veto these bills, more recently, the Bush administration issued harsh new rules for those trying to enroll in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — rules that will substantially increase the number of uninsured children.
Help your Members of Congress stand up to the President as children's health legislation comes up for a final vote in September — contact them today and let them know that every child matters and comprehensive health insurance for all children is important to you.
Children Still Neglected Two Years After Katrina
August 29th was the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and CDF President Marian Wright Edelman had this to say about the continued neglect and abandonment of Katrina's children:
It is a national scandal that many children are still plagued by the trauma of their horrific experiences of survival in the aftermath of the storm. Tens of thousands of children suffer from disorientation and isolation. Children living in the most flood-damaged areas of New Orleans still have severely limited access to health and mental health care, and the schools they attend are understaffed and poorly equipped. The story of New Orleans is illustrative of the broad unmet needs throughout much of the region.
Depressed, even suicidal, parents and children are still packed like sardines into cramped, flimsy, often unsafe trailers in camps next to nowhere. The education infrastructure is far from being repaired, with many school-age children still not back in school. While the government fails to fulfill its promises, untold numbers of children are falling farther and farther behind.
In March, the Children's Defense Fund issued Katrina's Children: Still Waiting, an update of the 2006 report Katrina's Children: A Call to Conscience and Action, and provided this update:
- About 100,000 children still do not live where they did when the hurricane struck.
- Only 55 public schools in New Orleans were open as of December 2006, 43 percent of the pre-Katrina number.
- Before the hurricane, there were 3,200 physicians in Orleans Parish and surrounding parishes; CDF's report found only about 1,200 physicians there now.
Help support CDF's efforts to provide a strong, effective voice for all the children of America — including Katrina's children.
Celebrate Young Adults Who Succeed Against Adversity
Meet Sergio Rodriguez, a Beat the Odds® award recipient from CDF-California (second from left). While Sergio attended high school, his mother suffered from a rare illness, forcing Sergio's father to tend to his wife after work. Sergio managed to excel in school while caring for the household and his siblings.
Today, Sergio is a sophomore at Santa Clara University studying engineering and remains involved with CDF-CA as a summer intern and is an active participant in CDF-CA's Young Adult Leadership Training (YALT)SM program. (That's him at the YALTSM quarterly meeting earlier this summer.) He plans on founding the third CDF Student Health OUTreachSM program in California, which involves recruiting and certifying volunteers to enroll children for health insurance. Sergio truly inspires us all.
Learn more about the Beat the Odds program at childrensdefense.org/beattheodds.
Support Legislation to Help Children Being Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives
Currently, there are more than 530,000 children in the foster care system. About one-fourth of these children are living with grandparents or other relative caregivers. Research shows that children raised in foster care with relatives fare well. When compared with children in foster care with non-relatives, children in relative foster care are: just as safe or safer, less likely to have multiple placements, more likely to stay connected with siblings, and less likely to change schools. Yet, these caregivers often take on the care of the children unexpectedly and face multiple challenges. The Kinship Caregiver Support Act (S. 661/H.R. 2188) provides access to important supportive services for relatives caring for children in foster care and those helping to keep children out of foster care.
Help celebrate Grandparents Day (September 9th) by supporting GrandFamilies (families where grandparents, great-grandparents, other relatives, or close family friends are raising a child) and the Kinship Caregiver Support Act the week of September 10. Mark your calendars....we'll be updating you soon with actions you can take that week.