Looking back over our work in 2013, First Focus created a number of resources for child advocates, policymakers, the media, and the public highlighting both the challenges and opportunities that confronted children throughout the year.

The following is a list of our top downloaded 2013 resources relating in children’s policy at the federal level:

Reports and Congressional Testimony

  • Children’s Budget 2013: Our most downloaded and sought out publication is First Focus’s annual guide to federal spending on children. Last year’s report highlights the fact that federal investments in children declined for the last three years in a row. The document’s lead author is Jared Solomon but includes work by virtually the entire First Focus staff and can be found at http://www.firstfocus.net/cb2013.
  • “Investing in Our Future: The Impact of Federal Budget Decisions on Children”: On June 26, 2012, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray held a hearing and invited First Focus to testify on how children are faring in the federal budget. The testimony by First Focus President Bruce Lesley is available athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/congressional-testimony/investing-in-our-future-the-impact-of-federal-budget-decisions-on-ch.
  • “Unemployment from a Child’s Perspective” – Julia Isaacs, Urban Institute: This report highlights the on-going negative implications of the recession on children, as it found that one in six children lives with a parent who is unemployed or underemployed. That report can be found at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/reports/unemployment-from-a-childs-perspective.
  • Kids’ Share 2013: This report, authored by our partners at the Urban Institute with financial support from First Focus and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, also looks at how children fare in the federal budget with a different perspective and found that 2012 represented the largest year-to-year drop in federal investments in children since the early 1980s. It projects that, unless Congress changes course, less than 2¢ of every additional federal dollar spent over the next decade will be invested in children. That report is located athttp://www.firstfocus.net/ks.
  • “CHIP Roll Out and Early Implementation Implications for the ACA” – Eugene Lewit, Stanford University: This brief explores how lessons learned from the first three to five years of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) implementation can inform ACA implementation. This brief reviews the CHIP experience with enrollment, a timely focus of ACA implementation. It can be downloaded at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/reports/chip-roll-out-and-early-enrollment-%E2%80%93-implications-for-the-aca.
  • America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S.: Although released more than a year ago in October 2012 in partnership with Save the Children, former Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Bob Casey, and Jennifer Garner, America’s Report Card continued to be an important resource through 2013 as it provides a unique snapshot of the state of our nation’s children, grades how the nation is doing on behalf of its children, and highlights unmet needs. The report can be found at http://www.firstfocus.net/report-card.
  • Children in Harm’s Way: Criminal Justice, Immigration Enforcement, and Child Welfare – Wendy Cervantes, Yali Lincroft, Dr. Susan Phillips, Dr. Alan Dettlaff, and Lara Bruce: Released in partnership with the Sentencing Project, this series of briefs addresses how children are harmed when the criminal justice, immigration enforcement, and child welfare systems converge in a family’s life and often fail to address the special needs facing children. This compilation can be read athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/reports/children-in-harms-way-criminal-justice-immigration-enforcement-and-child-welfare.
  • “A Stronger Safety Net for America’s Children” – John Quinterno, South by North Strategies: This report addresses how federal safety net initiatives lift millions of children out of poverty and mitigate the scope and impact of problems ranging from illness to hunger, but also highlights the need for improvement. This analysis identifies gaps in the safety net for children, and makes concrete recommendations for state and federal policymakers to prevent children from falling through the cracks. This report is athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/reports/a-stronger-safety-net-for-america%E2%80%99s-children.
  • “The Recession’s Ongoing Impact of Children, 2012” – Julia Isaacs and Olivia Healy, Urban Institute: This report examines three key indicators of children’s economic well-being: the number of children living with an unemployed parent; the rate of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) nutrition assistance; and a predictive measure of child poverty. The conclusion: the recession continues to hit America’s children – and especially children in some states – extremely hard. This report can be located at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/reports/the-recession%E2%80%99s-ongoing-impact-on-children-2012.
  • “Medicaid Per Capita Caps Jeopordize the Health of Children and Other Vulnerable Populations” – Lisa Shapiro: This issue brief explores federal proposals to impose Medicaid per capita caps on the states would underfund states and force serious cuts in benefits and services for the millions of low-income children, seniors, and disabled individuals who rely on Medicaid for their health coverage. This report can be downloaded athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/child-health/medicaid-per-capita-caps-jeopardize-the-health-of-children-and-other-vulnerable.

Fact Sheets

  • “Affordable Care Act Coverage for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care” – Shadi Houshyar: The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare includes several new requirements that are critical for foster children and other vulnerable youth. Most notably, it expands Medicaid coverage to former foster children up to age 26. This brief focuses on CMS’ interpretation of Medicaid eligibility for former foster children under ACA Section 2004 and is located athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/affordable-care-act-aca-coverage-for-youth-aging-out-of-foster-care.
  • “Principles for Children in Immigration Reform” – Wendy Cervantes and Kevin Lindsey: In partnership with the Women’s Refugee Commission, First Focus led the effort to develop principles for children in immigration reform to ensure that efforts at immigration reform consider the best interests of children and their families. More than 200 organizations representing children, immigrants, academia, faith communities, and Civil Rights have also endorsed these principles. They can be downloaded athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/principles-for-children-in-immigration-reform.
  • “Immigration Reform and the Implications for Children” – Wendy Cervantes: Given that children of immigrants comprise 25 percent of the U.S. child population and are uniquely impacted by U.S. immigration policies, First Focus released a summary and analysis of key provisions of the S. 744 that impact kids and families. It can be found athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/legislative-comparisons/immigration-reform-and-the-implications-for-children.
  • “CHIP Works for America’s Children” – Lisa Shapiro: This fact sheet highlights the importance role that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has played in reducing the number of uninsured children in this country since its creation in 1997. The fact sheet can be read at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/chip-works-for-americas-children.
  • “Kids Lose Billions with Sequester” – Jared Solomon: This analysis and fact sheet highlights the fact that the “sequestration” was cutting federal funding for kids by $4.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2013. That analysis is at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/kids-lose-billions-with-sequester-0.
  • “Senate Budget Much Better for Kids than House” – Jared Solomon: This fact sheet provided a comparison of the House and Senate Budget Committee plans, looking at key areas that impact child well-being. It can be read at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/senate-budget-much-better-for-kids-than-house.
  • “The President’s 2014 Budget” – Jared Solomon: On April 10, 2013, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request. This fact sheet looks at how children fare in his discretionary budget proposal, highlighting notable increases, cuts, and new initiatives. It also compares the president’s proposal on key children’s issues to the budget resolutions passed by the House and Senate. This fact sheet is athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/the-presidents-2014-budget.A related brief: “Early Childhood in the President’s 2014 Budget” – Kevin Lindsey: On April 10, 2013, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request. This fact sheet looks at early education in his budget proposal, highlighting a major new initiative that would provide a continuum of prenatal to age five care and education to ensure healthy development for young children. This analysis can be found athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/early-childhood-in-the-presidents-fy2014-budget.
  • “Parental Interest Directive” – Wendy Cervantes: On August 23, 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a directive on Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Immigration Enforcement Activities, or the Parental Interest Directive. The Directive is a response to the large and growing number of U.S. citizen children with immigrant parents or guardians who have been detained or deported, and is meant to ensure that detained and removed parents and guardians can maintain a relationship with their children and make decisions in their best interest. This fact sheet can be read athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/parental-interest-directive.
  • “The Cost of Inaction” – Wendy Cervantes and Roberto Gonzales (Harvard University): The U.S. Senate passed immigration reform legislation months ago, and only U.S. House of Representatives inaction has delayed progress on an issue with direct and persistent impact on millions of children. This analysis documents the high cost to children in America, if the House fails to deliver immigration reform and can be found athttp://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/the-cost-of-inaction.
  • “A Comparison of Preschool Plans” – Kevin Lindsey: As a result of increased national attention on the numerous benefits of early education, a number of plans have been proposed to increase access to high-quality pre-Kindergarten (pre-K). This fact sheet provides an overview of five proposals that would expand access to pre-K for low- and middle-income families and can be downloaded at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/fact-sheets/a-comparison-of-preschool-plans.