CLASP Work Supports Newsletter - August 2013

September 03, 2013

 
Work Supports Newsletter
August 2013
 
 

In this Issue:

CLASP Welcomes Olivia Golden As Executive Director

CLASP Publications

CLASP In Focus Blog Postings

 
 

CLASP Welcomes Olivia Golden As Executive Director

Olivia Golden joined CLASP as executive director in August 2013. An expert in child and family programs at the federal, state, and local levels, Olivia brings a wealth of knowledge and a track record of delivering results for low-income children and families in the nonprofit sector and at all levels of government. During her eight years in senior executive roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Olivia was a key player in implementing welfare reform and expanding and improving Head Start, creating Early Head Start, and tripling the level of funding for child care. Most recently, prior to joining CLASP, Olivia was a fellow at the Urban Institute (UI) where she was a thought leader on such topics as the importance of a two-generation approach to addressing poverty and supporting vulnerable children and families; the education needs of young children of immigrants; the promise of home visiting programs to identify and respond to maternal depression; and how streamlining public benefit programs can better support low-income families. Olivia brings to CLASP the leadership role in a major multi-state initiative, Work Support Strategies, which provides six states with the opportunity to design, test, and implement reforms to improve low-income working families' access to health reform, nutrition assistance, and child care subsidies.

It's Time to Do Better for Our Babies: CLASP Releases Study of Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies

AUGUST 29, 2013

By Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews

CLASP releases a new report, Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies, that presents data from a recent state survey of child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies.  It provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care-one that shows significant room for improvement.

Key findings include:

  • In most states, child-to-provider ratios and group sizes exceed national expert recommendations. Further, a hand­ful of states do not regulate group size at all.
  • While more than half of states (30) reported having specific infant-toddler training for providers, most state require­ments for the number of hours of training are minimal, and the content of training curricula related to infants and toddlers is limited.
  • Twenty-one states report licensing standards that require a consistent primary caregiver for infants and toddlers. A few additional states encourage continuity of care through other means, including regulations, policies, or waivers.
  • Most state standard subsidy reimbursement rates for infants in center-based care fail to meet federally recommended levels.
  • Twenty-two states report offering rate differentials or higher payment rates for infant-toddler care. Higher payment rates for infant-toddler care can offset higher costs and support quality enhancements.
  • Forty-one states report subsidy policies that pay child care providers for days when a child is absent, a policy particularly important for infants and toddlers who have more frequent illnesses and require more frequent doctor visits than older children.
  • Fourteen states reported using direct contracts with child care providers in their subsidy system to increase the supply or improve the quality of subsidized infant-toddler care.

Read more >>

Read the report here >>

More Undergraduate Students Receive Financial Aid But Still Fall Short of Meeting College Costs

AUGUST 29, 2013

By Katherine Saunders and Marcie Foster

Both the percentage of undergraduate students receiving financial aid and the average annual amount of aid has increased since the end of the Great Recession, according to new data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey (NPSAS) released by the National Center for Education Statistics.Yet, while more undergraduates are receiving student aid, the average college student still suffers from significant unmet need—the "gap" between college costs and what students can afford to pay on their own or with grant aid. 

Read more >>

Sequester II: The Fall's Scariest Sequel...Coming to a Community Near You??

AUGUST 27, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

During the last days of 2012, the political news was dominated by stories of the "fiscal cliff" and "sequestration." At the last minute, Congress and the President came to a deal that extended most of the Bush-era tax cuts and other provisions that would otherwise have expired on January 1, 2013. Taxes were allowed to rise for some of the wealthiest households, and payroll taxes returned to their usual levels.  Congress temporarily postponed the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts of sequestration - but they began to take effect on March 1. These cuts have disproportionately affected the poor and vulnerable - children in Head Start, homeless families hoping for a housing subsidy, Native American students at Tribal schools. While the effects on middle-class families have been less visible, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that these cuts will slow U.S. Gross Domestic Product growth by 0.7 percentage points and cost 900,000 jobs.

Read more >>

Tips for Promoting Health Insurance Coverage Through Children's Public Benefits Programs

AUGUST 26, 2013

By Emily Firgens

Health insurance coverage is critical to ensuring all children and families have access to health care, which is indisputably tied to healthy child development and better outcomes. As millions of Americans prepare to access health insurance in 2014 through the Affordable Care Act, states and communities are gearing up to connect families to coverage, including through some states' Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchanges. Understanding and navigating one's way to coverage can be a confusing and complicated process for families. Programs like Head Start and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are logical places to help connect and inform families about their health insurance options.

Read more >>

TANF Child Care in 2012: How Low Can it Go?

AUGUST 20, 2013

By Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews

Federal TANF funds used for child care, including direct spending and transfers to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, have reached the lowest level since 1998.The decline in TANF spending is only the latest in a series of assaults on child care funding.

Read more >>

Support for Low-Income Families Falls Again

AUGUST 19, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

Spending data released by the Administration for Children and Families shows that state spending of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related state maintenance of effort (MOE) funds declined again in federal fiscal year 2012.  States reported spending or transferring to related programs a total of $31.36 billion, down nearly $2 billion from fiscal year 2011. As a result, spending declined in nearly every category on which TANF and MOE funds may be used.

Read more >>

SNAP Benefits to Drop in November: Congress Considers Further Cuts

AUGUST 16, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan

This November, every household receiving SNAP benefits will see their benefits decline when a provision of the 2009 Recovery Act expires. The average benefit per person per meal for a SNAP recipient will decrease from a paltry $1.50 to just $1.40. This cut will affect all 47 million SNAP recipients, including 22 million children and 9 million elderly and disabled people. In fiscal year 2014 alone, these cuts will add up to an estimated loss of $5 billion in SNAP benefits. But it doesn't stop there. Congress is considering even more cuts to the SNAP program, putting millions of households at greater risk of food insecurity and hunger.

Read more >>

 

Reports & Publications from Colleague Organizations

House Republicans’ Additional SNAP Cuts Would
Increase Hardship in Areas with High Unemployment
, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Smart Strategies for Health Care Reform and Human Services Integration:  Promoting the Health and Well-Being of America’s Low-Income Families, Coalition for Access and Opportunity

The Obamacare Opportunity: Implementing the Affordable Care Act to Improve Health, Reduce Hardship, and Grow the Economy for All Californians, The Next Generation and University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Commentary - Cato Gets It Very Wrong: The Safety Net Supports, Rather Than Discourages, Work, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Side-by-Side Comparison of 2013 Senate Immigration Bill with Individual 2013 House Bills, Migration Policy Institute

Undocumented and Uninsured Barriers to Affordable Care for immigrant Populations, The Commonwealth Fund

If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country in this Newsletter, let us know.


 
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The Work Supports Newsletter is a monthly update that summarizes CLASP's work on safety net programs that include cash assistance (TANF), nutrition supports (SNAP), refundable tax credits, health insurance, child support enforcement and child care subsidies.

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