In Focus: Cultural Competency

Aug 1, 2017  |  PERMALINK »

DACA Also Works for Children of DACAmented Parents

By Rebecca Ullrich

Angelica Villalobos is like many American moms. She loves her family and their two dogs. She volunteers at her daughters’ school. She works hard to make her community a better place.

But Angelica’s wellbeing, and that of her children, is under threat. Angelica is a Dreamer, meaning she immigrated to the United States as a child. Currently, she has temporary protection against immigration enforcement through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Established in 2012 under President Obama, DACA provisionally removes the possibility of deportation and makes work authorization available to approximately 800,000 immigrant youth and young adults.

DACAmented individuals report that the program enabled them to obtain government identification, open a bank account or credit card, and secure a job with better pay. Those enrolled in postsecondary education—many of whom are also working—said DACA enabled them to access opportunities they otherwise couldn’t.

Despite its success, DACA is in danger. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, on behalf of Texas and 10 additional states, has petitioned the Administration to end the DACA program by September 5, 2017. If the federal government does not comply, Paxton has threatened to bring the program to court.

If DACA is rescinded, hundreds of thousands of youth and young adults will lose their status in the next several years, putting them at risk for deportation. This threat is concerning because President Trump’s administration has provided contradictory information about DACA’s future since taking office.

DACA’s benefits, and the likely impact of rescinding it, extend far beyond recipients. In a survey, 61 percent of recipients reported that increased wages and better jobs allowed them to help their families financially. DACA recipients are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and even parents like Angelica. The precise number of DACAmented parents is unknown, but previous surveys indicate that 20 – 25 percent of respondents over age 18 were parents to U.S. citizen children.

It’s too early to examine DACA’s intergenerational effects. But decades of developmental research suggests that the doors opened for recipients could also improve opportunities for future generations. Children markedly benefit from having parents with higher levels of education and better-quality jobs. Better-educated parents have more resources to support their children’s development, which benefits children’s health, academic achievement, educational attainment, and employment in the long run. When parents are facing less stress and are better able to make ends meet, they have more time and energy to devote to their children.

Since 2012, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers have stepped forward in good faith with information about their status in hopes of safety, security, and opportunity. If the Administration breaks this faith by ending DACA, the harm to families will be immense. Living in constant fear of parental deportation is toxic to children’s development. Children who have the traumatic experience of being separated from their parents suffer health, behavioral, and academic challenges and experience greater economic hardships. Ultimately, the effects of ending DACA won’t stop at immigrant families’ doorsteps. The economic and social implications will be felt across the United States.

Last week, members of Congress introduced the Dream Act, which would provide a path forward for Dreamers. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has discussed the importance of supporting Dreamers’ success in the United States. But DACA must be preserved until Congress passes a bill that would provide Angelica, and thousands like her, a pathway to citizenship. The futures of DACA recipients—and their children—depend on it.

Jul 17, 2017  |  PERMALINK »

Top 5 Reasons Health Insurance Matters for Infants and Toddlers and Their Families

By Anitha Mohan

Health care is crucial to infants and toddlers’ physical, cognitive, and emotional development. For low-income families, affordable health insurance provides young children and their parents with important services that would otherwise be too expensive, such as routine check-ups, prescription drugs, medical procedures, and specialized care. 

Here are five reasons why infants and toddlers, as well as their families, need access to affordable health insurance: 

  1. Health insurance for pregnant women and very young infants leads to healthier babies. During the first months of life, access to health insurance leads to significantly better health outcomes. This includes lower infant mortality rates and fewer instances of low birth weight. Routine screenings and check-ups can also help families identify and treat serious health issues before they worsen.
  2. Health insurance prevents and provides treatment for illness and injury. Children with insurance are more healthy because they receive treatment for illness and injury as well as crucial preventive care that preempts serious conditions.
  3. Health coverage for low-income infants and toddlers has lifelong benefits. Children with insurance experience higher educational attainment and other positive long-term outcomes. Health coverage strongly promotes high school and college completion, leading to employment and economic success.
  4. Children thrive when their parents and caregivers have access to health care. When child care providers are emotionally and physically healthy, they’re able to create warm, nurturing environments that promote children’s development.
  5. Health insurance contributes to families’ financial stability. Parents who have access to health services experience less financial strain, allowing them to focus on their parent-child relationships.

To learn more, read CLASP’s and ZERO TO THREE’s brief Health Insurance: A Critical Support for Infants, Toddlers, and their Families.

Jul 13, 2017  |  PERMALINK »

Don’t Take Away Health Insurance from Infants, Toddlers, and Parents

A new brief from CLASP and ZERO TO THREE highlights the importance of health insurance to infants, toddlers, and their families as well as historic gains in coverage made under the Affordable Care Act.

Health care is foundational to children’s healthy development and wellbeing. Infants and toddlers need medical care to support their physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Parents’ health is also critical to children’s wellbeing, as parents need to be healthy in order to support their children as they learn and grow. More effective parenting is possible when parents get treatment for physical and mental health needs. Unfortunately, Congress is considering proposals that would significantly reduce health coverage and change the structure of Medicaid. This would have devastating consequences for infants, toddlers, and their families.

According to the brief, Health Insurance: A Critical Support for Infants, Toddlers, and their Families, children with insurance are generally healthier and more likely to receive preventive care as well as necessary treatment when sick or injured. Children also benefit when parents have access to health care to ensure their own physical and emotional wellbeing.

As Congress threatens to reduce access to health insurance and restructure Medicaid, it’s more important than ever to preserve historic gains in coverage. If enacted, Republican proposals would severely undermine parents’ wellbeing and children’s health, school readiness, and future success. The consequences of this would be dire and far-reaching.

To learn more about the important role of health insurance for infants, toddlers, and their families, read Health Insurance: A Critical Support for Infants, Toddlers, and their Families. This is part of CLASP’s and ZERO TO THREE’s joint project which focuses on the essential policies needed to support infants, toddlers, and their families.

site by Trilogy Interactive