Weekly Round-Up: Child Care Cuts, Drug Tests and More...
Mar 02, 2012
Select CLASP blog posts and other highlights
Startling new data from HHS show the number of families receiving child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) will fall next year to its lowest level since 1998, and more than 200,000 children could lose access to quality child care. This information comes on the heels of a number of reports highlighting increasing child poverty. CLASP's director of child care and early education, Hannah Matthews, writes that unless there's an increase in child care funding, working poor families with young children will be hard hit. In addition, CLASP's Child Care and Early Education team also writes about a new report highlighting a project aimed at expanding family child care settings under Early Head Start. According to recent data, only 2 percent of children served by Early Head Start are currently in family child care.
CLASP senior policy analyst Elizabeth Lower-Basch joined C-SPAN's Washington Journal Friday to discuss recent state proposals to drug test applicants of public benefits such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or food stamps (formally called SNAP). So far, 23 states have proposed mandating drug tests, proposals Lower-Basch calls "a distraction from people's needs" and part of a growing trend to blame poor people for being poor.
Speaking of distractions and erroneous information, an article in the Wall Street Journal that was decidedly anti-paid sick days laws focused on inflated employer concerns about high costs. While it's great that paid sick days policies are getting attention, the article missed the mark. CLASP policy analyst, Andrea Lindemann, takes a look at the research and real employer experience to demonstrate paid sick days are good for business and employees.
Something else making the headlines recently has been health care reform, although most attention has been paid to policies around contraceptive coverage. CLASP pointed out in a blog post that, among its many positives, the health care reform law presents a major opportunity to modernize benefit systems and how programs determine eligibility for benefits.
- CLASP's Shifting Gears initiative released its winter 2012 newsletter. Read this special edition to find new research and reports from experts on adult education, postsecondary education, developmental education and workforce development.
- GAO released HHS and Education Are Taking Steps to Improve Workforce Data and Enhance Worker Quality. While well-trained and educated child care workers are important to the success of children and early learning programs, data collected in the Census' 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) show that nearly half of all child care workers and 20 percent of preschool teachers have a high school degree or less.
- The middle class landscape is changing quickly in America. Why? According to Mitchell Hartman in his piece, The middle class? Not what it used to be, higher education is the key dividing line between the upper middle class and those struggling to stay middle class. The segment is part of Marketplace's new Wealth & Poverty desk.
- The SNAP Vaccine: Boosting Children's Health, a report by Children's HealthWatch, reveals the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for tackling a major child health hazard - food insecurity.
- The University of Michigan's National Poverty Center released a new brief exploring extreme poverty in the 15 years between when welfare reform happened in 1996 and 2011, and the role in-kind benefits have played.