Last Friday, the White House Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) released a report on how programs will be affected by the budget
compromise made by Congressional Democrats and Republicans last summer. In exchange for raising the debt ceiling,
Congress agreed that $1.2 trillion in automatic budget cuts (sequestration) beginning January
2013 and will take place over the next ten years.
Without further action by Congress, Head Start would see an 8.2 percent reduction, as would discretionary
Child Care funding and WIC. SNAP
benefits, Child Nutrition Programs, mandatory Child Care funding and TANF would
all be exempt from across the board cuts.
Congress must act before January 2013 to ensure that the deficit
is not reduced on the backs of children and working families. Stay tuned for more information as it is
Congress will be in session for only 9 days in the month of
September, but before the month ends, they must reauthorize the Farm Bill, which
expires at the end of the month. Aside
from Farming and Agricultural policies, the Farm Bill sets rules and funding
for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The two versions being considered cut the SNAP
program by billions. The Senate version
cuts SNAP by $4.5 billion over ten years; the House’s version by $16.5 billion.
New census data shows that 50.1 million Americans struggled
with hunger in 2011. The SNAP program lifts
3.9 million of these struggling Americans, including 1.7 million children,
above the poverty line. Now is not the
time to weaken one our nation’s strongest safety nets.
To further explain how hunger affects children, Feeding
America has released a new report on child food insecurity, along with an
interactive food insecurity map.
We will provide more details and actions on the Farm Bill in
FY 2013 Federal Budget
Congress must also deal with the FY 2013 Federal Budget,
which must be in place by October 1st. Before leaving for their August recess,
Congressional leaders claimed to have a bipartisan agreement to pass a
continuing resolution (a current funding level extension) to fund government
through January and force the next congress to pass an FY 2013 budget. To date, Congress has not passed this continuing
resolution and the deal may not be as set in stone as was once thought. We will keep you informed on the FY 2013
budget as we get word.
660,000 Illinois Children Live in Poverty
New state and local census data reports that 48 million Americans
found themselves in poverty in 2011, up by 2.2 million people. That’s 15.9
percent of all Americans and 22.2 percent of children. Illinois is just below the national average,
with 15 percent of its population (1.9 million people) and 21.3 percent of its
children (660,000 children) living in poverty.
Illinois Action for Children has done some analysis of the new data. Our findings are below:
- From 2006 to 2011, the number of at-risk children (defined as those who live in families earning below 185% of federal poverty) under age 5 increased from about 275,000 to about 380,000. 32% of children under age were at or below
185% of poverty in 2005; in 2011 45% of those children were.
- The median income in Illinois
dropped to $53,234 in 2011. That’s a fall of 2.6 percent from 2010 - double
the national decline of 1.3 percent.
- Income inequality in Illinois increased more than
the national income inequality did.
Unfortunately, state and federal funding for programs such as Child Care, Head Start and Early Head Start and Preschool have not kept up with the needs of at-risk children. Click here
to read the Census Bureau’s new brief on nationwide poverty.
Register to Vote!
It’s that time again. Every two years, we can exercise our
right to go to the polls and elect the people that represent us in Springfield and in Washington, D.C. This year
it is more important than ever to make our voices heard!
Not only will we get a chance to vote for President, every single one of our
U.S. Members of Congress and our State Senators and Representatives are up for
election as well. It is imperative that we elect officials that care about
programs that help low-income families and children. It is also important that we
help the parents of the children you serve understand that their vote matters. Please remember these important dates!
Tuesday, October 9th – Last day to register to vote
October 22nd - November 3rd – Early Voting Period
Tuesday, November 6th – Election Day!
In addition, Illinois Action
for Children has put together a kit on how to run a voter registration drive at
your child care home, center or anywhere else in your community where
potential voters gather!
Included in the kit are:
this kit, Illinois Action for Children hopes you can engage and register all
voting age adults that are impacted by the work you do.
If you have any questions about setting up your drive, please call Samir Tanna
at (773) 697-6134.
Child Care Works Campaign Featured By ReadyNation
Illinois Action for Children’s Child Care Works Campaign,
which gives child care providers the opportunity to demonstrate the
importance of their child care programs to their local communities and
economy, was featured in the most recent edition of ReadyNation’s e-Newsletter.
ReadyNation is a non-profit organization that amplifies the voice of
business leaders in support of early childhood policies that strengthen
our economy and workforce. In launching their new Brief highlighting
the short- and long-term benefits of early childhood investments, they
focused on Child Care Works as an example that other states can and
should follow. Here is what they say:
Illinois Child Care Local Impact Tool
Illinois Action for Children has developed a tool that enables a
child care provider (both home- and center-based) to calculate its local
economic impact. This includes number of direct jobs provided, taxes
paid, and parents supported. This tool is free and easy to use, but is
based on estimates of Illinois tax rates and income. However, if you
would like to develop a similar tool for your state, please contact Choua Vue at the Illinois Action for Children.
Make sure to stay tuned Illinois Action for Children’s website for more about the Child Care Works Campaign.
Learn Through Play "Road Show"
In February 2012, Illinois Action for Children, the
University of Illinois at Chicago and the Chicago Children’s Museum hosted an Early Education Impact Symposium
featuring a presentation by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and discussion among local
experts on the importance of play in early childhood development.
This October, Illinois Action for Children and the University of
Illinois at Chicago are working with community-based organizations in seven statewide locations, taking the message from Kathy Hirsh-Pasek on the road
throughout the state. Local events will feature a video presentation of Kathy
Hirsh-Pasek’s keynote address and discussion lead by a panel of local experts. Click on the links below to learn more about the events in your area.
East St. Louis
Space is limited, so please RSVP to the event you would like to attend. We hope to see you there!