Mother’s Day: Five Things You Can Tell Congress To Do For KidsChild Abuse & Neglect Early Childhood Housing & Homelessness Poverty & Family Economics
What better way to honor Mother’s Day than voicing your support for legislation that will strengthen American families and improve children’s health and wellbeing?
Here are five things you can urge your Members of Congress to do:
- Protect Medicaid
- Fight for Paid Family Leave
- Fix the Child Welfare System
- Help Homeless Children
- Protect Home Visits for Parents
Tell your elected representatives you oppose the American Health Care Act, which eviscerates Medicaid to the tune of $839 billion. Tell them you believe low-income children should have affordable health coverage that meets their needs, and a guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions that can often hit kids the hardest.
Moms shouldn’t have to choose between paying to keep the lights on, and paying for their child’s doctor visit or medicine. Right now, Medicaid is under serious threat following the passage of the American Health Care Act (round two) in the House last week.
The House Republican plan, which is now being considered by the Senate, includes a $839 billion cut to Medicaid with provisions to establish Medicaid per capita caps or block grants. Just over half of all Medicaid recipients are children, so any cuts to Medicaid would hurt them. States will have no choice but to ration care through wait lists, cutting eligibility, benefits, services, and payments to providers. No matter how it’s done, kids will suffer. Moms want the peace of mind that they have the coverage they need to care for their kids every day.
Tell Congress to support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act of 2017 (S. 337/H.R. 497).
The lack of paid family leave for millions of workers in the U.S. leaves parents with the impossible choice of staying home to care for a newborn or taking a sick baby to the doctor and losing necessary income.
Access to paid family leave also has significant positive health implications for children and families by allowing parents to care for their children. It also promotes families’ financial security and independence.
Research shows that children do better when they remain in the care of their parents and family. However, some families lack the support and services to handle temporary crises which can put their children at risk and lead to removal into a foster care placement. Youth in the child welfare system often experience further trauma and instability that should be avoided, whenever possible.
This bill aims to reform the way the child welfare system is financed in order to better support families. It keeps children with their families and out of foster care by allowing federal reimbursements for mental health, substance abuse and in-home parenting skills. It also incentivizes states to reduce placement of children in group care because children do better in family based settings.
Tell your elected leaders to support the bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act (S.611 / H.R.1511). No child in 21st Century America should live without a permanent home. Yet, the number of homeless families in the US continues to rise. The US Department of Education identified 1.2 million homeless students in 2014-15, a 34 percent increase over a five year period.
Unstable living situations are often unsafe, resulting in negative emotional and health outcomes for children and youth and putting them at risk of physical and sexual abuse and trafficking.
This bill acknowledges the complex and fluid nature of child, youth and family homelessness by providing flexibility to local communities to use federal homeless assistance in a way that allows them to make the determination as to who are the most vulnerable homeless children, youth and families in their region and target existing resources to them.
Tell Congress to renew the successful Maternal Infant and Early Child Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which has enjoyed bipartisan support at the state and national levels. If you’re affiliated with an organization, add its name to this sign-on letter.
Babies aren’t born with instruction manuals. Having a trusted home visitor such as a nurse or social worker can make all the difference, especially for new parents, teenage parents, and parents who are struggling to lift themselves out of poverty. Home visiting programs partner struggling parents with home visitors who help them access health care, improve their parenting skills, and help them achieve concrete goals.
That’s why First Focus co-convenes the Home Visiting Coalition, which aims to ensure that parents have an extra helper (usually a nurse, social worker or early childhood professional) in the home during their child’s first few years of life. Moms report feeling less stressed, more organized, and capable of achieving goals such as obtaining their high school diploma and going on to higher education and gainful employment.
Studies have shown that their kids do better, too – they are less likely to have language problems, fewer preventable injuries, and are at lower risk for abuse and neglect. They are also less likely to end up in the criminal justice system.
DONATE NOW: Make a tax-deductible Mother’s Day contribution to First Focus today. Honor your mom with a meaningful gift this year and give her a gift that gives back. A donation in honor of your mom, grandma, godmother or other amazing “mom” in your life will help First Focus continue to fight on behalf of vulnerable children and families around the country.
First Focus is a 501(c)3 nonpartisan, independent nonprofit fighting to put children and families at the center of policymaking and budgetary decisions. First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus.