In this week's edition, Washington receives $60 million in federal funding to improve its early learning system — one of nine states in the nation to receive this grant. In national news, uninsured kids shrunk by one million, and food stamps saved families from going hungrier and getting poorer during a historic recession.
Wash. 1 of 9 states to win US early learning cash | The Associated Press | 12-15-2011
Gov. Chris Gregoire ... sounded almost giddy on Friday relaying the news that Washington state has won $60 million from the federal government to expand its efforts to help children get better prepared for kindergarten. "It's just a grand day for our little learners and for the people of our state," the governor said.
Food Stamps: The Safety Net that Deserves Its Name | The Nation | January 2012
It may not look pretty, but while other social safety net programs, like public assistance (more commonly called welfare), public housing, Section 8 and even unemployment insurance, have been so thoroughly hobbled that they can no longer respond to the struggles of millions of Americans, the food stamp program has remained surprisingly sensitive to people’s needs. It is one of the defining reasons more Americans were not as immiserated by this recession as they were in eras past.
Uninsured child population shrinks by 1 million | American Medical News | 12-19-2011
The uninsured child population shrank by approximately 1 million between 2008 and 2010 to reach 5.9 million -- a 14% drop, according to a report released Nov. 29 by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families. Over the same period, the number of children in poverty increased from 13.2 million to reach 15.7 million, said the study ... "This report highlights a rare piece of good news at a challenging time for children," said Joan Alker, co-executive director of the Center for Children and Families. … Alker … said cuts to Medicaid and CHIP easily could lead to more uninsured children. "These gains are fragile and could quickly be reversed if state or federal support erodes."
Census shows nearly half of Americans are poor or low-income | The Associated Press | 12-15-2011
"Safety-net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public-policy professor who specializes in poverty. "The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal. If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years."
Obesity Rate Falls for New York Schoolchildren | The New York Times | 12-15-2011
The number of obese New York City schoolchildren fell by 5.5 percent over five years, federal and city officials said Thursday, offering a glimmer of optimism about one of the country’s intractable health scourges.The decline, documented by annual fitness exams given to most of the city’s kindergarten through eighth-grade students, was the biggest reported by any large city.