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Report Calls for Poverty Measurement Update

285,000 Arizona Kids Lifted Out of Poverty

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that anti-poverty measures are successful to keeping children out of poverty. If it weren’t for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Free and Reduced School Lunch and, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), 285,000 more Arizona children would be living in poverty, according to the supplemental poverty measure (SPM).

KC_DS_SPM_badges03_150pxAs it stands, there are still too many Arizona children living in poverty even with government assistance (360,000) but the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids in our state would be much more difficult if not for the help they received.

The SPM is one measure* of poverty in the country. It was developed in the 1990s and more accurately reflects the number of people living in poverty for a few different reasons.

• It takes into account housing costs when determining the poverty level and adjusts those costs based on the region.
• It includes all forms of government assistance when counting a family’s income

Click here to read the entire KIDS COUNT® Data Snapshot, Measuring Access to Opportunity, and see where Arizona ranks in child poverty levels compared to all the other states.
*The other poverty measure, the official poverty measure (OPM), cited more frequently, including in the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book®, only takes into account basic food costs when determining the poverty level and doesn’t count most forms of public assistance in a family’s income. Therefore, not only is the OPM less accurate, but it also doesn’t allow us to understand the effectiveness of government help.

HB 2069, Still a Bad Idea

As our state grapples with the difficult task of matching state revenues and expenditures, some legislators are proposing ideas that will make that task even harder in the long run.

HB 2069 – online TPT; income tax reduction – was already defeated as HB 2061 earlier this session, but bad ideas sometimes return. Now as HB 2069, this bill pre-empts decisions about future fiscal policies by reducing the amount of revenue our state receives if Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill would provide a significant tax cut to most of Arizona’s wealthiest residents, but would act as a tax increase for many of our poorest families. Click here for our fact sheet on the potential impact of this bill.

HB 2069 was passed by the House after being defeated once before and being voted down as HB 2061. It is now on to the Senate, where, with your help, it will be defeated for good.

Thanks to the 157 people who sent an email to their Representatives asking them to vote “no”, your help is much appreciated.

Action Alert: Stop Predatory Lending!

In an effort to get around the voter-approved ban on predatory interest rates, HB 2611 would allow exorbitant daily FEES on some consumer loans. HB 2611 is being pushed by out-of-state payday lenders and would create a deceptive loan structure that makes it nearly impossible for a working family to climb their way out of debt. The Arizona Community Action Association and the Center for Economic Integrity produced this informative fact sheet.

HB 2611 passed the House Commerce Committee on February 18th and is on its way to a full vote of the House of Representatives. Send a message to your state representatives that these loans would be a disaster for hard working families and a boon to wealthy financiers. That’s not what we need to get our economy growing and strengthen families.

Consider this, on a $3,000 loan the first minimum payment would be $690. That may not sound so bad, but only $150 of that payment goes to principle reduction! How can these lenders get away with that when Arizona voters approved an annual percentage rate cap of 36%? They do that by charging $450 in “fees.” These fees are exempt from the annual percentage rate cap and go unnoticed by most borrowers when they sign the loan agreement and don’t have a lawyer with them to read the fine print.
At the end of the year, making the minimum monthly payment a family would have paid $4,964 on a $3,000 loan, but they would still owe more than $1,500! At the end of five years, making the minimum monthly payment, that family would have paid over $13,000 to their lender on a loan amount of $3,000 and would still be left with a debt of $138.

Send your message today.

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CAA announces new additions to the Board of Directors

Children’s Action Alliance is proud to introduce two new members to our Board of Directors: Wendy Villa and Hope MacDonald LoneTree.

wendy villaWendy Villa works for Arizona Public Service as the Government Affairs Representative for State & Local Affairs. Prior to her role at APS, Ms. Villa served as Chief of Staff at the City of Phoenix for two years. Wendy serves on the Maricopa Community College Foundation Board of Directors, and previously volunteered with Junior Achievement to teach economic principles to high school students.

 

hope macdonald lonetreeMs. MacDonald Lonetree is a currently contracted as a Tribal Relations Advisor for the Office of the U.S. Attorney-District of Arizona. She was a Navajo Nation council member from 2003 to 2011, and has been a Board member for Parenting Arizona -Tuba City and Victim Witness Services for Coconino County. Hope initiated and moderated a regular televised forum where teens could speak candidly about community, crime, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and education. She also worked to implement national protocols for sexual assault and domestic violence initiatives in tribal communities.

Please join us in welcoming these two outstanding individuals to our Board of Directors.

The Good and the Bad at the AZ Legislature this week

The legislature is in full swing and here is the latest on the bills affecting Arizona’s children and families.

BAD FOR KIDS

Can't do itHB 2611 consumer flex loans – In an effort to get around the voter-approved ban on predatory interest rates, this bill would allow exorbitant daily FEES on some consumer loans. HB 2611 is being pushed by out-of-state payday lenders and would create a deceptive loan structure that makes it nearly impossible for a working family to climb their way out of debt. This predatory loan bill passed the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday and is on its way to a full vote in the House. Read the HB 2611 fact sheet from the Arizona Community Action Association and the Center for Economic Integrity.

HB 2069 online TPT; income tax reduction – Thanks in part to your advocacy this bill was first defeated in the House as bill number HB 2061. It has been revived as HB 2069. It passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday and is on its way to a full vote in the House.

The bill pre-empts decisions about future fiscal policies by reducing the amount of revenue our state receives if Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill would provide a significant tax cut to most of Arizona’s wealthiest residents, but would act as a tax increase for many of our poorest families. Click here for our fact sheet on the potential impact of this bill.

HB 2190 schools; common core; replacement – If passed, the bill would roll back all of the progress our educators and students have made over the past four years implementing the higher standards of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. On Wednesday, HB 2190 passed the House Education Committee and is on its way for a full vote in the House.

GOOD FOR KIDS

Thank you hispanic girl smallHB 2098 Department of Child Safety – In addition to technical corrections that are needed for the recently-created Department of Child Safety, HB 2098 would clarify the Safe Haven criteria so a mother who surrenders her child to a hospital after just giving birth is not investigated by DCS. The bill was passed by the Committee of the Whole on Thursday and should be up for a vote in the House next week.

SB 1390 prisoner transition program; eligibility – SB 1390 requires the Department of Corrections to enter more people into an existing DOC Transition Program, which provides 90 days of behavioral health programming and reentry assistance to non-violent offenders. The program has been in place since 2003 and has a proven track record in reducing recidivism and lowering prison costs. Fewer prison costs means more money for schools. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, and is on the agenda of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, February 24th at 2:00 p.m.

Updated Spanish Version of Health Resources Manual

Our newest Health Resources Manual is now available in Spanish. This is a tool for a wide range of community groups who want to help link families to available resources.

Cover of Health Manual 2014 - SPANISH with text updatedIn this manual, you will find the latest information about the health care Marketplace and changes made to AHCCCS and KidsCare.

Plus, you’ll find information on health insurance options for children in foster care who are turning 18, dental health care resources, mental health services for children and much more!

Click here to download a copy today! For the English version, click here.

Throughout the year, we will be updating the manual to make sure that it reflects the most accurate information in the community. We welcome agencies to contact us at jfu@azchildren.org if you would like submit edits or add information to the resources listed in the manual.

Last Week of Open Enrollment

The February 15th deadline to sign up for a health plan on health insurance marketplace is fast approaching!

sliderphoto3This week, Kids Health Link will offer a free Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment event at Desert Mission Food Bank on 9229 N. Fourth Street Phoenix, AZ 85020. The event will take place from 8:00am-3:30pm.

At the health enrollment event, Kids Health Link’s professional navigators will help people with the online enrollment process on healthcare.gov to ensure they have health insurance coverage before open enrollment ends. Children joining their parents can play games and win prizes while their parents work with Kids Health Link’s enrollment experts.

It’s important to note that people who don’t have healthcare coverage in 2015 might face a penalty so it’s important to sign up.

In addition to the Marketplace, Kids Health Link partners can help people with AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) coverage too.

To complete the application, participants must bring:
• Social security numbers for everyone in the household enrolling in health coverage.
• Photo identification for the person opening the health coverage plan.
• A pay stub or self-employment statement for everyone in the household who works.

Event details:
February 14, 2015
8:00 am-3:30 pm
Desert Mission Food Bank.
9229 N 4th St, Phoenix, AZ 85020

Make a guaranteed appointment by clicking on the Valentine at www.kidshealthlink.org.

Walk-ins will be helped on a first come, first served basis.

To check for other enrollment events near you head over to http://coveraz.org/events/

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