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No Budget Surplus for Arizona Kids

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff reported in August of 2012, that Arizona ended last fiscal year with $257 million more than had been expected and collected $16 million more in taxes for the month of July than had been projected. 

Pages from Budget cuts 8-30-12 enews 200pxJLBC staff warn that revenues may not continue to be above projections. Revenues this fiscal year and next are still projected to be below revenues in FY 2008. And the fiscal cliff remains a very real threat to children and families.

In August 2013 state revenues will fall by $1 billion when the current 1-cent sales tax expires. More than $600 million a year in tax cuts passed over the last two years will begin to phase in. We will return to the days of the “structural deficit” – ongoing spending will exceed ongoing revenues. Right now it appears the Rainy Day Fund will cover current spending levels through FY 15 – but only if lawmakers keep us stuck in the slash and burn destruction of the recession.

• No state funding for full-day kindergarten
• KidsCare frozen
• Child care assistance frozen for low-income working families
• No help for thousands of poor children 
• Shorting public and charter schools by more than $500 million by suspending education funding formulas

Click here for more information on the SUMMARY OF BUDGET CUTS FOR KIDS THAT REMAIN TODAY

NO BUDGET SURPLUS FOR ARIZONA KIDS

Earlier this month, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff reported that Arizona ended last fiscal year with $257 million more than had been expected and collected $16 million more in taxes for the month of July than had been projected. So what does this news mean for kids in our state?

JLBC staff warn that revenues may not continue to be above projections. Revenues this fiscal year and next are still projected to be below revenues in FY 2008. And the fiscal cliff remains a very real threat to children and families.

Pages from Budget cuts 8-30-12 enews 200pxA year from now state revenues will fall by $1 billion when the current 1-cent sales tax expires. More than $600 million a year in tax cuts passed over the last two years will begin to phase in. We will return to the days of the “structural deficit” – ongoing spending will exceed ongoing revenues. Right now it appears the Rainy Day Fund will cover current spending levels through FY 15 – but only if lawmakers keep us stuck in the slash and burn destruction of the recession.

• No state funding for full-day kindergarten
• KidsCare frozen
• Child care assistance frozen for low-income working families
• No help for thousands of poor children
• Shorting public and charter schools by more than $500 million by suspending education funding formulas

Click here for more information on the SUMMARY OF BUDGET CUTS FOR KIDS THAT REMAIN TODAY

New CPS Data

Recently released data from the Arizona Dept of Economic Security shows us the effects of an overwhelmed Child Protective Services system combined with the increase in the number of reports of child abuse and neglect coming into their office.

  1. Increase in the number of reports of child abuse and neglect- 24% since October 1st of 2009
  2. Case loads too high – More than 50% above standards
  3. Number of open cases that have been inactive for 60 days or more – 9,882
  4. Increase in out-of-home care population – 37% More children in foster care since October 1, 2009
  5. Foster homes decreasing – The number of licensed foster homes decreased by 474 homes since October 1, 2009.
  6. Decrease in the percentage of children receiving a required visit by CPS staff – Decreased from 81% to 78% since October 1st, 2009.

New Data From CPS

enews-aug-21-total-reports-june-2012Recently released data from the Arizona Dept of Economic Security shows us the effects of an overwhelmed Child Protective Services system combined with the increase in the number of reports of child abuse and neglect coming into their office.

  1. Increase in the number of reports of child abuse and neglect- 24% since October 1st of 2009
  2. Case loads too high – More than 50% above standards
  3. Number of open cases that have been inactive for 60 days or more – 9,882
  4. Increase in out-of-home care population – 37% More children in foster care since October 1, 2009
  5. Foster homes decreasing – The number of licensed foster homes decreased by 474 homes since October 1, 2009.
  6. Decrease in the percentage of children receiving a required visit by CPS staff – Decreased from 81% to 78% since October 1st, 2009.

How much does it cost to raise a child?

Every parent knows that raising children brings great rewards – and great expense! Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates on the annual amount families spend on children from birth through age 17. The newly released report for 2011 shows a middle income family spends $234,900 per child, an average of more than $13,000 each year. This amount excludes any expense after age 18, such as college tuition.

costs of raising children 2012 200pxHousing makes up the largest expense — about one third of the total expense of raising children. The next highest expenses are child care and education and food.

Compared to expenditures in 1960, the share of total expenses for health care has doubled and the share for food has dropped. The most striking change in child-rearing expenses over time relates to child care and education. This category includes child care tuition and supplies, baby-sitting; and elementary and high school tuition, books, fees and supplies for private or public schools. Child care and education expenses are up from 2% of total spending in 1960 to 18% in 2011. This dramatic growth reflects changes in work patterns for parents and the high cost of child care today.

Unfortunately, many of Arizona’s public policies haven’t caught up to this reality for families. Leaders who strive to strengthen families and empower parents will recognize and act on the need for quality, affordable child care.

If you would like to learn more about the money spent to raise a child in 2011 and in 1960, click here.

Arizona Leaders Launch Campaign to Promote KidsCare II

Contact: Matt Jewett, Director, Health Policy
Children’s Action Alliance, 602-266-0707, ext. 212

Download PDF Version

New Applications Accepted for First Time in Two and a Half Years

(Phoenix, Arizona) Arizona children are heading off to child care, preschool and elementary school with their backpacks, binders and books. As they get kids ready for the new school year, parents also have the opportunity to enroll their children in affordable health coverage, called Kids Care II. 

“For the first time in more than two years, KidsCare II is accepting new applications,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance (CAA). “Families have been focused on the details of back-to-school, so it’s a good time to make sure parents know about KidsCare II.”

A group of businesses, healthcare, and community organizations have launched the back-to-school KidsCare II campaign with television and radio commercials in English and Spanish. Child care centers and schools also will receive fliers to post or copy for kids’ backpacks. The campaign goes a step further by offering personal assistance to help families apply for KidsCare II. Families can call the following hotline numbers to receive application assistance, in English or Spanish:

  • Central and Northern Arizona—Kids Health Link (1-800-235-9678)
  • Southern Arizona—Your Health Hotline (1-800-311-0627)

The back-to-school campaign reminds families that KidsCare II provides comprehensive, affordable coverage for children who are uninsured. For example, a family of four with an annual income of $40,345 could meet the financial requirements of KidsCare II. Monthly premiums for families cost no more than $60, with coverage including:

  • doctor visits;
  • hospital visits; and
  • dental care;
  • prescription coverage;
  • eye care;

“This back-to-school campaign is important because KidsCare II coverage is only available for a brief time,” Naimark said.

After Dec. 31, 2013, KidsCare II will no longer take applications. However, Kids Health Link and Your Health Hotline will help families transition to the new Health Insurance Exchange, the new affordable health insurance marketplace being created as part of health reform.

Organizations supporting the back-to-school KidsCare II campaign—either by sponsoring fliers or assisting families with the application process—include:

  • Asian Pacific Community in Action
  • Bashas’
  • Children’s Action Alliance 
  • Desert Mission (An affiliate of John C. Lincoln Health Network)
  • Empowerment Systems 
  • Health Choice
  • Keogh Health Connection 
  • Maricopa Health Plan 
  • Mountain Park Health Center
  • Phoenix Day – HealthLinks 
  • United Health Care Community Plan 
  • University of Arizona Health Plans
  • Women’s Health Coalition of Arizona
  • Your Health Hotline

KIDSCARE II OPEN TO NEW CHILDREN

KidsCare-Button-artJust in time for back-to-school, KidsCare II enrollment is open to new applications from uninsured children. A limited number of children of all ages can get this affordable health coverage if they meet the program requirements – whether or not they have ever applied before and whether or not they have ever been on the waiting list.

This opportunity is available until December 31, 2013 thanks to funds from three Arizona hospitals and a generous federal match. There are still many spots open, so help us spread the word far and wide. Click below to get copies of the new flyer in English and Spanish.

KidsCare II provides the same comprehensive health coverage that helps kids grow and thrive, including well visits to the doctor, dental coverage, behavioral health services, and hospitalizations, all for an affordable monthly premium. Children can qualify if their family income is below 175% of the federal poverty level. Click here to see which incomes qualify.