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When Child Care Costs As Much As College


PERCENTAGE OF 3RD GRADERS WHO ARE ON TRACK IN EACH DEVELOPMENTAL AREA BY INCOME AND RACE. Source. The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, November 4, 2013. 



The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, further reinforces the established fact that lifelong benefits accrue from investing in very young children. Relying on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, the Casey Report identifies stark disparities in cognitive development – finding only 19 percent of third-graders from families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level develop age-appropriate cognitive skills. Many of the report’s key findings and recommendations are discussed here.

The relevance of the report’s findings resonated across the country. 

Read this from Kentucky about the importance of parental support systems. This article from Tennessee expresses concern over the growing number of kids raised in low-income homes. Folks from Arkansas exhibit disappointment over the flat funding for pre-k. Child policy advocates living in Detroit worry too many kids come to school hungry. Massachusetts uses the Casey data to give itself a ‘pat on the back’ for investing in kids and noticeably improving their well-being. The L.A. Times cites the report’s recommendations – calling attention to the fact that federal spending on young children is lowest at the time when most brain development occurs.

Here’s a grim reality: one out of every seven people living in the U.S. receives SNAP benefits and the primary group serviced by SNAP are families with children under 18. Now, because of the lapse of the 2009 stimulus, a financially struggling family of four receiving the maximum amount of monthly benefits – $632 – collects $36 less. The USDA calculates this reduction is equal to about a week’s worth of meals for a nine-year-old child. See this for how SNAP effectively alleviates hunger. For a pediatrician’s perspective on how food insecurity can lead to life-long developmental delays in children, read this.

According to a recent op-ed in the New York Times, poverty in the U.S. has gone mainstream and half of all American children will at some time reside in a household that relies on food stamps. To understand why these cuts systematically undermine the efforts of families still trying to dig themselves out from under the Great Recession, read this. Still not convinced SNAP successfully combats poverty, read a strong defense of the program here and, then, focus on this supporting data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. CAP provides some food for thought on the program’s efficacy, here. A state-by-state analysis of the cuts in SNAP is provided by Pew

Salon reports last year childcare costs surged – becoming the single largest expense for families in 22 states and the District of Columbia. In more than half of the states in the U.S., the cost of childcare is greater than the cost of tuition and fees at a public college and the fees for two children in a childcare center exceed the annual median rent payments in every state.

The escalating income inequality in the U.S. has not gone unnoticed. According to leading economists and the OECD, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of working poor among developed nations. The inherent inequality of the U.S. public school system – a system largely funded by property taxes – is addressed here. The reasons kids living in poverty arrive at school cognitively behind their peers are explained here

As both policy and PR, the problems with the federal healthcare exchanges are real and need to be fixed. President Obama’s misstatements on the public’s ability to keep their existing insurance plans has hurt him in the polls and provided opponents of the ACA with strong ammunition. A canvassing of coverage on this issue reveals that many of the stories depicting people upset over losing their insurance plans are either more complicated than initially depicted, wildly overblown or intentionally misleading. To those seeking to exacerbate the situation purely for political gain, Ana Maire Cox says, “Stop the faux outrage.”

In search of candor and clarity?  Jonathan Chait explains why letting everyone keep his or her current insurance plan is a terrible idea and uncovers what’s really behind the rate-shock-victim-obsession. Jonathan Cohn identifies two key facts overlooked about coverage in this debate. In the midst of all this hoopla, a survey released by the Commonwealth Fund should calm some of the concerns held by people supporting the law. To extract the facts and nothing but the facts about cancelled insurance plans, watch this video conversation between Justin Wolfers from Brookings and Jonathan Gruber from MIT.



“…this is not the first place I would cut.” Isabel Sawhill commenting on America’s thin social safety net and why cutting SNAP benefits would not be her top priority.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of O.E.C.D. countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.” Andreas Schleicher of the O.E.C.D. commenting on the inherent inequality of the U.S. public education system.

 “These insights provide an opportunity to think about new ways we might try to reduce the academic achievement gap and health disparities and not just do the same old things.” Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University on how the inner working of a child’s brain can help rectify emotional and cognitive disparities brought on by toxic stress.  

I was happy with my old plan, but I didn’t get to keep it.” Jennifer Thieme who was informed that, because of the new health care law, her policy will no longer be offered. 

“It’s going to be difficult, as it already has been. I don’t understand why there’s all this government funding, all these programs, and why feeding down-and-out people is not as important as it should be.” Tabitha, a mother of a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old staying at a Culver City, Calif., shelter responding to the cuts in SNAP. 

"If education is a poor child's best shot at rising up the ladder of prosperity, why do public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off?” Eduardo Porter in the New York Times writing about the disparities in quality that exist in U.S. public education favoring the rich over the poor. 



SAFETY NET AFFECT ON POVERTY 2012. Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of data from the March 2013 U.S. Census Current Population Survey, published by CBPP, November 6, 2013. 



EDUCATION v. PRISON COSTS. Source: U.S. Census Data and Vera Institute of Justice, published in CNN Money, November 2013. 



REPORT. The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success

Can America’s Kids Succeed? Critical Investments Should Target the First Eight Years of Life, Report Finds 

Children from poor families lag in cognitive development and other areas, report says

Early Longitudinal Study

Seeking ways to boost the futures of children who live in poverty

New KIDS COUNT Report finds Critical Investments Should Target the First Eight Years of Life 

TN catches children's developmental issues early, national report shows 

Early childhood development key to kids' success 

Study: 1 in 3 kids has skills to thrive as adults 

Seeking ways to boost the futures of children who live in poverty  

It's a Family Affair: Leading the Way in Mental Health Screening for Moms and Kids 



Cutting SNAP Benefits Not a Snap Decision 

As Cuts to Food Stamps Take Effect, More Trims to Benefits Are Expected 

Today's SNAP reduction is equivalent to a week's meals for a 9-year-old 


What pediatricians have learned about SNAP 

OP ED. Poverty in America Is Mainstream. Mark R. Rank  

Food stamp cuts will hurt families still trying to recover from recession, advocates say

OP ED. In Defense of Food Stamps. William A. Galston 

EDITORIAL. The grim economics of food stampsLA Times. 

SNAP and Unemployment Insurance Kept Millions Out of Poverty Last Year, Census Supplemental Poverty Measure Shows 

Food for Thought: New Poverty Data Underscore Effectiveness of Nutrition Assistance as Congress Considers Cuts to Food Aid 

Pew Resources on Food Stamp Changes 



Childcare is more expensive than college in a majority of states 

REPORT. Parents and the High Cost of Childcare. 2013 Report.

Child care costs more than college in much of U.S.

Child Care For One Infant Costs More Than Food For A Family Of Four: Report 



Podesta Starting a Think Tank on Inequality 

Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2013 

When It Comes to Inequality, the U.S. Is Above Average 

In Public Education, Edge Still Goes to Rich 

When Most U.S. School Kids Are Poor 



Obamacare is a mess, and liberals need to fix it 

Obama’s pledge that ‘no one will take away’ your health plan 

NBC/WSJ poll: Obama approval sinks to new low 

Obama Lied When He Said Obamacare Would Let You Keep Your Plan, Your Doctor, and Lower Premiums by $2,500 a Year 

The Real Reason That The Cancer Patient Writing In Today’s Wall Street Journal Lost Her Insurance 

The Media Labeled Her an Obamacare Victim. Here's What She Really Thinks 

Another Obamacare horror story debunked 

Why Letting Everyone Keep Their Health-Care Plan Is a Terrible Idea

What’s Behind the Rate-Shock-Victim Obsession 

Another Obamacare horror story debunked 

SURVEY. Americans' Experiences in the Health Insurance Marketplaces: Results from the First Month. The Commonwealth Fund.

VIDEO. Winners and Losers from Obamacare  

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