News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – October 21, 2016

Media memo

To submit stories for inclusion in CWDA’s weekly Media Memo, email Sarah Jimenez. County staff and others not currently receiving the Media Memo directly can sign up on the CWDA website at the bottom of the home page.


Giving Every Child a Monthly Check for an Even Start | New York Times | October 18, 2016

How can it be that the United States spends so much money fighting poverty and still suffers one of the highest child poverty rates among advanced nations? One in five American children is poor by the count of LIS, a data archive tracking well-being and deprivation around the world. By international standards that set the poverty line at one-half the income of families on the middle rung of the income ladder, the United States tolerated more child poverty in 2012 than 30 of the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of advanced industrialized nations. The percentage of children who are poor is more than three times as high in the United States as it is in Norway or the Netherlands. America has a larger proportion of poor children than Russia. So what’s going on?

Employment Programs

Man gets back on his feet with help of Napa County jobs agency | Napa Valley Register | October 7, 2016

Until very recently, Carl Lloyd of American Canyon was a self-employed construction worker barely making ends meet. For a time, he and his now 5-year-old daughter were homeless, living in Napa’s family shelter and relying on welfare programs for food and other expenses. A single father, “I was struggling to make it all work,” said Lloyd, 36. Today, that’s all changed. Lloyd is one of approximately 15 workers who are now working full-time for Napa businesses Healthy Buildings Companies and Thriving Communities. They’ve not only been hired and trained, many have been promoted and already earned raises.


The Invisible Revolution: How Aging Is Quietly Changing America | The Atlantic | October 6, 2016

In some respects, the 2016 election has been a steampunk campaign. Donald Trump, in particular, has proposed a vision of the future that starts in the distant past. He thrills rallies with promises to revive the pre-1970s steel industry and promises a bright future for coal miners… What if presidential candidates took a CEO approach to future-planning? Perhaps they’d spend less time talking about America’s old industries and more time talking about America’s old people. Of the many significant forces shaping the U.S. economy—including globalization, automation, and housing supply—none is so inevitable and invisible as the sheer march of time for today’s adults. In the 1950s, at the height of the U.S. manufacturing supremacy, less than 10 percent of the country was older than 65. That share will double to 20 percent by 2050. The greying of America will touch every station of economic and political life: the size of the labor force, the jobs the economy will require, the ethnic makeup of the country, and the productivity of the workforce. In short, aging affects everything.

Child Welfare

What happened when L.A. foster youth made a short film? They got to go to the White House | Los Angeles Times | October 13, 2016

Jevonne Davis was in the fifth grade when his life changed. After a childhood spent bouncing from home to home, he met his new foster mother in Compton — and she took him to the theater.  The child was transfixed by the actors onstage, by the dancing, the singing, the sheer creativity. He leaned over and whispered to his foster mom: “I want to be part of this.”  Davis is 18 now, a veteran of the stage and screen. Last week, he and two fellow Los Angeles County foster youths were honored at the White House’s inaugural South by South Lawn festival for a short film they starred in, wrote and directed. The film they made this summer, called “Time for Change,” was a finalist in the White House Student Film Festival, one of more than 700 entries. The students, selected by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, worked with Kids in the Spotlight, a Burbank nonprofit that teaches young people filmmaking skills. 

Health Care

Covered California insurance hikes are starting to pinch | San Francisco Chronicle | October 16, 2016

Next year’s health insurance rates for individual policyholders are starting to hit mailboxes, and that’s proving to be painful for some California consumers. Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace created by the federal health law, warned in July that 2017 premiums would go up an average of 13.2 percent, or more than triplethe average 4 percent rate increases that consumers have seen since the exchange started offering coverage in 2014.  Around 90 percent of Covered California’s 1.4 million enrollees get some federal aid to help cover the cost of their premiums. The increases will be felt most acutely by those policyholders who make too much money to qualify for those subsidies.


Privatization May Be Worsening Inequality | Governing | October 13, 2016

A new study suggests outsourcing government services can disproportionately impact low-income users’ finances, health and safety.

As state and local governments grapple with fewer resources for things like infrastructure or social services, many of them have opted to contract those responsibilities out to the private sector. But a new report warns that doing so may be widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Privatizing services like foster care or highway toll collection can disproportionately impact low-income users, according to the study, which was published by In the Public Interest, a policy center on privatization and responsible contracting. That impact can occur directly, through higher fees for privatized services, or indirectly, if a service provider cuts costs by offering low-pay jobs. Donald Cohen, the nonprofit’s executive director, is quick to note that the group is not against privatization or outsourcing in general. But, he says, the report shows that there’s a tendency to shift responsibility for the service outcome to the individual rather than the service provider.