Family & Children

Just Who is Middle Class?

September 17, 2013

Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog does us all a service today by passing around this chart from today's Census Bureau release on Income, Poverty and Insurance:

As he notes in his post, "If you're in a family of four, and your family's income surpasses $66,000 a year, you're doing better than the typical American family. If you're making six figures, then you're doing much better than the typical American family. If you're making $200,000 or more, you're in truly rarified territory."

Event Summary: First Focus Children’s Budget Summit

July 25, 2013
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Editor’s note: This post was authored by Calum Montell-Boyd, a summer intern with the Asset Building Program. Calum is working toward his undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Oxford University in the UK.

On Wednesday, First Focus hosted the Children’s Budget Summit 2013, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray. The event marked the release of the Children’s Budget, which highlights the declining federal investment in children at a time when almost one in four is growing up in poverty.

SNAP Cuts and the Classroom

July 17, 2013
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Editor's note: This post originally appeared on New America's In the Tank blog. Our managing editor, Fuzz Hogan, spoke with Aleta Sprague of the Asset Building Program and Clare McCann, with the Education Policy Program, about legislative developments affecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, often known as food stamps).

As the Farm Bill's fate lies in a swirl of confusion and acrimony on Capitol Hill, we asked two New America experts to assess the impact of the House move to separate SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance) from the bill. Beyond all the coverage of the legislative wins and losses, the way the bill was put together could have far-ranging impact, on our economy and our schools, unless, of course, promises to take up SNAP in future legislation fund it to present levels.

Q 1 – Aleta, what does leaving SNAP out of the farm bill mean for the program?

Aleta: The House’s decision to leave SNAP out of the Farm Bill entirely sends a clear message to families in poverty: they are not Congress’ priority. It’s worth noting that of the 23 million families currently participating in SNAP, 76% include a child or elderly or disabled family member. While benefits will continue at their current levels for now, leaving SNAP out of the bill paves the way for even deeper cuts than the $20.5 billion the House proposed earlier this summer.

Q2 – Clare, how do cuts in SNAP impact education?

Clare: Almost half of SNAP recipients are children. They lack access to adequate amounts of food, and possible cuts to the program come at a time in their lives when they are extremely vulnerable to the health, cognitive, and even academic impacts of hunger. Research has demonstrated that children without adequate access to food also struggle in school.

Kindergarten's Leap Into the Virtual Classroom

July 12, 2013
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Technology has vastly altered the way students can attend schools- and many people may be surprised to learn that virtual schooling extends even to kindergartners. In fact, online offerings for kindergarten have been around for more than a decade, though early childhood experts continue to question whether these programs meet young children’s early developmental needs.
 
Online K-12 schools have provided students with alternative schooling options since the early 2000s. Each year, enrollment in such programs has grown by at least 20 to 25 percent.

Guest Post: Equality and Justice for All Families

July 12, 2013

Editor's note: This guest post was authored by Catherine Myers, the volunteer executive director of the national grassroots nonprofit Family and Home Network, founded in 1984.

Americans are passionate about equality and justice, and we should apply those principles to family policy discussions. We need to transform the prevailing frame—the focus on “working families”—to one that embraces all families with inclusive family policies.

The lens of equality and justice would illuminate the disparity between the value of parents’ roles in raising healthy children and the level of economic support provided to parents. Inclusive family policies would support parents equally regardless of how they choose to meet their income-earning and caregiving responsibilities. Policymakers striving for equality and justice would rely on robust research that shows how to improve the well-being of parents and their children by lifting families out of poverty and by implementing best practices in maternity care as well as in child and parent development.

New New Fatherhood in the Inner City

  • By
  • Dana Goldstein,
  • New America Foundation
July 3, 2013 |

The Nightmare of Daycare

May 16, 2013
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Editor's note: This piece originally appeared on New America's In The Tank blog.

The average childcare worker in the U.S. earns less than a janitor. Sure, some daycare centers pay well, but the average parent can’t afford those high-end centers that can cost as much as public university tuition.

Piling on to that: The daycare industry is largely unregulated with low standards on quality of care. At an event this week based off of a recent New Republic article, The Hell of American Daycare, panelists showed how that painful reality -- a broken system full of tales of toddler deaths and injuries – can also have dire consequences for our economy.

Upcoming Event: "The Hell of American Day Care"

May 9, 2013
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The Asset Building Program is hosting an event Monday to feature Jonathan Cohn’s recent article for The New Republic "The Hell of American Day Care." A great panel will help us piece together the complicated picture of day care systems (or lack thereof) in America and offer ideas that address the issue from multiple angles. RSVP to come Monday at 12:15pm or tune in online to watch live.

The Next Social Contract: An American Agenda for Reform

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
June 10, 2013

The American social contract is in crisis. Even before the Great Recession exposed its inadequacy, it was clear that the existing American social contract — the system of policies and institutions designed to provide adequate incomes and economic security for all Americans — needed to be reformed to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. What is needed is not mere incremental tinkering, but rather rethinking and reconstruction. Policies that have worked should be expanded, while others that have failed should be replaced.

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