Sunday, September 26, 2021

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New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.

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The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.

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A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

IL Child Well-Being Improved in Last Decade, Although Disparities Remain

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021   

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Child well-being in Illinois was looking up in 2019 compared with 2010, but advocates say the full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be seen, and has highlighted the need for strong supports.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book shows 16% of Illinois children were living in poverty prior to the pandemic, down from 2010, and just 4% of children lacked health insurance.

But in the last year and a half, many more households lost income or health insurance.

Bill Byrnes, KIDS COUNT Project Manager at Voices for Illinois Children, said bold policies are needed.

"Although children overall fared better, there were still some really significant racial and ethnic disparities across pretty much every single indicator," Byrnes asserted.

According to the latest Census Bureau national survey, Black and Latino households with children reported far more concerns than white households on issues ranging from mental health and access to health insurance to ability to pay their rent or mortgage on time and put food on the table.

Byrnes added the American Rescue Plan included an expansion of the child tax credit, from $2,000 annually, to up to $3,600 per child depending on their age, with payments starting in July.

"So we think that any policies that can get more money into people's pockets will ultimately benefit families and their children as well," Byrnes contended.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Foundation, urged policymakers to make the child tax credit permanent. She added children who grow up in poverty often have worse health outcomes.

"They live in substandard housing that has issues like mold and lead that go untreated," Boissiere explained. "Lower-income families live in poorer neighborhoods that have poorer-resourced schools, so their education outcomes tend to be worse."

Even before COVID-19 disrupted education, 14% of Illinois high school students were not graduating on time, and last fall more than 40% of Illinois families, where at least one person planned to pursue higher education, canceled their plans or reduced their class load.

Disclosure: Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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