More and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren due to poverty, abuse, and neglect. In the United States, child abuse and/or neglect are growing public health issues. The few cases of abuse and/or neglect which appear in the press are only a small part of this pressing public health issue. Many assert that a notable portion of the child abuse cases are not reported to police or social service agencies. What we do know about the prevalence of child abuse is as follows:
• 1,740 children died in the United States in 2008 from abuse and neglect.1
• 772,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment by child protective services in 2008.1
In response to concerns regarding abandonment, abuse, and or neglect of their grandchildren, a growing number of grandparents have become full-time caregivers for their grandchildren. The 2000 United States Census indicates that 4.5 million of our nation’s poorest children reside in grandparent-headed households and that number is escalating rapidly. Data indicates that approximately one-third of these children have no parent present in the home. The number of children in grandparent-headed households has increased 30 percent since 1990.
Research data indicates that in New York, there are 297,239 children living in grandparent-headed households which constitutes 6.3% of all the children in that state. Twenty-eight (28) percent of these grandparents live in households without the children’s parents present. The literature on this phenomenon suggests that there are probably many more children in informal care arrangements residing with their grandparents than the data can capture.
AARP indicates that the majority of grandparents rearing grandchildren are between ages 55 and 64. Approximately 20 to 25 percent are 65 or older. While grandparent-headed families cross all socio-economic levels, these grandparents are more likely to live in poverty than are other grandparents. AARP materials also state that there are eight times more children in grandparent-headed homes than in the foster care system.
Although the phenomenon of grandparents raising grandchildren is neither novel nor new, this emerging social issue is garnering a great deal of national attention due to its impact on the welfare of an ever increasing number of our nation’s children. The rise in the number of grandparent headed households is due to serious family problems. The reasons for the increase in grandparent headed households include but are not limited to: abandonment, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, death, divorce, incarceration, AIDS, and the parent’s lack of employment.
Caring for their grandchildren can have life altering consequences for the grandparents. Many grandparents have not planned to raise a second family or may be retired and living on a fixed income. Having sufficient income or resources to provide housing, food, clothing, medicine, and school supplies for their grandchildren may be of critical concern. Research indicates that children raised by their grandparents are more likely than children in traditional foster care to live in poverty, to have special health and educational needs, and to lack access to health care.
While grandparents have played a significant role in the lives of their grandchildren for generations, the increasing numbers of grandparents with responsibility for their grandchildren and the rise in social factors necessitating this arrangement have created millions of vulnerable families with unique needs. For further information on the topic of grandparents raising grandchildren or to get help, please call or visit the website of: AARP’s Grandparent Information Center: 202-434-2296; and Generation’s United: 202-289-3979.
Sources: Children’s Defense Fund website, AARP’s Grandparent Information Center website, US Census Bureau, Generations United website, Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, Child Welfare League of America, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, National Child Abuse Hotline, Child Welfare Information Gateway, FRIENDS National Resource Center, and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
1. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. Child Maltreatment 2008 [online]. Washington (DC): Government Printing Office; 2010. [cited 2010 Apr 8]. Available from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov.
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On Wednesday, April 25th, 2012, the state of Connecticut abolished the death penalty. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty, making his state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital punishment and the fifth in five years to usher in a repeal. The law is effective immediately, though prospective in nature, meaning that it would not apply to those already sentenced to death. It replaces the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state’s highest form of punishment.
“Although it is an historic moment — Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action — it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration,” Malloy said in a statement. He added that the “unworkability” of Connecticut’s death penalty law was a contributing factor in his decision.
Activists know that human rights victories only come after years of hard work. Yesterday a simple stroke of the Governor Dannel Malloy’s pen sealed the deal to end the death penalty in Connecticut, but that state’s remarkable achievement for human rights was decades in the making. In the last five years, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have repealed the death penalty. California voters will decide the issue in November. State by state, the battle against capital punishment marches on in the US.
The US criminal justice system is based on guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s the foundation of our justice system, built to serve and protect the wrongly accused. But in the case of Troy Davis and countless others on death row, it’s a principle that was defied, ignored, and trampled on. As Troy Davis wrote in a letter when he was facing execution in 2008 :” … no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe.
With the recent decision to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut, we have moved one step closer to dismantling our unjust criminal justice system city by city, state by state and country by country. Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have been seeking to do just that for decades. Specifically, these organizations have been quite successful in raising awareness about the problems with criminal justice system and the need to end the death penalty. The number of persons supporting their work is growing as demonstrated in the case of Troy Davis. Their petition seeking clemency in the Troy Davis case was signed by almost one million persons. NAACP and Amnesty International have experienced steady progress in this important undertaking to end the death penalty. However, the Troy Davis case reminds us that more work needs to be done to end the death penalty across our nation.
The collective work done on Troy Davis’ case resounded with people all over the world. Next stop for the abolition of the death penalty nationwide is California, a state poised to make history this fall by ending its death penalty through a referendum. The struggle continues. But with each victory, we, as a nation, come closer to a world where human rights are respected, and executions are a thing of the past.
For further information on how you can get involved in efforts to end the penalty nationwide, please visit the websites for Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Equal Justice USA, and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
Sources: Amnesty International, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Connecticut State Death Penalty Abolition, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/25/justice/connecticut-death-penalty-law-repealed/index.html. Equal Justice USA. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
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National Women Build Week is an initiative of Habitat for Humanity which challenges women to devote at least one day to the effort to eliminate poverty housing. National Women Build Week brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions of women and children worldwide. This year’s, National Women Build Week is being held from May 5, 2012 to May 13, 2012. Habitat indicates that, women build projects are regularly held across the United States and in more than 30 countries.
Women can and do make a difference in their communities by building homes and raising awareness of local housing needs. According to the Habitat for Humanity’s website, this national annual event is typically held the week leading up to Mother’s Day. These dates are significant to many volunteers, as families with children make up a significant portion number of those in need of adequate housing. According Habitat, this national annual event has helped to construct more than 1,800 houses.
During National Build Week, men may still volunteer. This annual event is not about excluding men, but rather including women in being part of Habitat’s tangible and hands-on solution. Volunteer with your local Habitat affiliate. Your support is vital to helping Habitat achieve its mission. As Habitat reminds us, together, we can make safe, decent, and affordable housing a reality for those in need. For further information on this annual event, please visit Habitat for Humanity’s website.
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Source(s): Habitat For Humanity website.
Is there a need for the 2010 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereinafter “Affordable Care Act”)? Let’s look at the number of uninsured in America. This nation’s deep economic recession and resulting decline in employer sponsored coverage contributed to a rise in the uninsured in recent years. Research indicates that these factors left fifty (50) million Americans without coverage in 2009.
While public insurance programs prevented some individuals from losing health insurance coverage, these programs do not reach all of those who cannot afford insurance. With that understanding, the Affordable Care Act seeks to address the gaps in our private-public insurance system. This new law requires most Americans to have health insurance and many will gain coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility and subsidized private coverage for individuals with incomes up to four hundred (400) percent of poverty starting in 2014.
In March of this year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act turned two years old. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a sweeping set of health care reforms into law. It was a historic moment in our nation’s history. Barack Obama was the first American president that was able to deliver a comprehensive health reform. This was a goal which eluded his predecessors. The new law focuses on the expansion of coverage, controlling health care costs, and improving the health care delivery system. Implementing health insurance reform will take some time but there were reforms which took effect in 2010.
What if any difference has this highly debated law made in the lives of the American people? To answer that question, we will look at some of the provisions that took effect to protect consumers in 2010. The Affordable Care Act prohibits: pre-existing condition exclusions for children; rescissions of health insurance policies; and eliminates lifetime and unreasonable annual limits on benefits, with annual limits prohibited in 2014.
The law provides assistance for those who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition. It requires coverage of preventive services and immunizations. It also extends dependant coverage up to age 26. The law ensures consumers have access to an effective appeals process and provide consumer a place to turn for assistance navigating the appeals process and accessing their coverage.
By 2014, when the bulk of the reform’s provisions come into effect, states are required to have put regulated insurance exchanges in place so that consumers can buy plans that meet minimum standards for coverage. At this juncture all will be required to buy insurance. Those persons financial unable to purchase insurance will be eligible for subsidies.
Sources: http://www.healthcare.gov; http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/healthcare-overview; http://www.democraticleader.house.gov/; http://www.dpcsenate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill; The Kaiser Family Foundation, “Focus on Health Reform.”
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On Earth Day, give hope to victims of domestic violence. Verizon collects no-longer-used cell phones, batteries, and accessories and either refurbishes or recycles the phones. The refurbished cell phones along with three thousand (3,000) minutes of wireless service are provided to victims of domestic violence free of charge.
For many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Research indicates that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.[i] Indigent women are more vulnerable. As woman rebuild their lives, the refurbished cell phones serve as a link to supportive services in a time of crisis.
The pervasive problem of domestic violence takes everyone to make it stop. Consider donating your used cell phone— you could possibly save someone’s life. In honor of Earth Day 2011, you should consider donating your used cell telephone, battery, and/or charger.
Verizon Wireless states that “donating an old wireless phone to HopeLine® from Verizon is as easy as following these four steps:
- Turn the phone’s power off.
- Make sure the phone’s batteries are installed in the phone you are returning. Please do not include any loose batteries.
- Please remove storage cards (microSD, etc.) and SIM cards from phones prior to donation. Also be sure to return any travel chargers or other accessories that came with the devices.
- Seal the package and adhere the free postage-paid label to the box/envelope and drop it in the mail. To view and print the mailing label, you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Don’t forget to include your return address on the shipping label. “
“Verizon Wireless takes the protection of customer information seriously. The company encourages everyone who plans to give a phone to HopeLine to erase any personal data on the phone before donating it. If in doubt on what to remove from your phone, leave it to the professionals. As part of the refurbishing process, HopeLine scrubs the phones prior to distributing them for re-use to ensure all customer information is removed.”
- Donated phones are not tax deductible.
- This shipping label is only intended for use by consumers who are donating their wireless phones to HopeLine. Customers who are not donating their phones but wish to return their wireless phones should contact Customer Service at 1-800-2 JOIN INbegin_of_the_skype_highlighting
- 1-800-2 JOIN IN end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit their local Verizon Wireless Communications Store.”
For information about Verizon’s cell phone donation process visit: http://aboutus.vzw.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html.
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[i] Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy, National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1993, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000)
America’s children need your help to fight for funding for much needed feeding programs. The Senate is making decisions today about funding for hunger-relief programs.Hunger in America is pervasive. Food security is necessary to lead a productive, healthy, and active life. It has been reported that more than 49 million Americans lack reliable access to the food. Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well kept secret.
Approximately, one in four children in America is food insecure. As is aptly stated in the materials by Share Our Strength i “No Hungry Kid”, “…their bodies may not be rail thin, nor their bellies bloated like their counterparts in other countries, but they’re at risk of hunger all the same. They lack the energy to learn, grow, and thrive.” It is a well known fact that proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of healthy children.
Statistics on Childhood Hunger in the United States: • According to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii • 20% or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food. (Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii • In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.6 percent) or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).v
With 46.2 million residents, Poverty, USA, is the largest state in America. Today, the unemployment rate stands at 8.6 percent and despite recent economic growth more than 43 million Americans -including 14.7 million children – live in poverty, the highest in the more than 50 years that the data has been tracked. Yet a recent Gallup poll found that only 5% of Americans believe poverty and homelessness are important problems for the country. So let’s look at some facts and make our own determination:
Over 25 percent of the children in the US under the age of six live in poverty. The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. As poverty surged last year to its highest level since 1993, median household income declined, leaving the typical American household earning less in inflation-adjusted dollars than it did in 1997. One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program. Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007. More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.
According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, 1.6 million American children “were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year”. The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010. One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.
The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. has risen for four years in a row. There are 10 different U.S. states where at least one out of every four babies is born to a family living in poverty. 28 percent of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job. There are seven million children in the United States today that are not covered by health insurance at all.
Please call your US Senator now at 877-698-8228. If the line is busy, please redial and call again. Please let your elected officials in Washington know that you care about children and families living in poverty.
Feeding America has drafted a message that you can delivered to your Senators:
“As your constituent, I ask you to please urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to protect and strengthen hunger-relief programs like TEFAP and SNAP in the Farm Bill. My community cannot afford for these programs to be cut.”
We can only make a difference when we take action.
“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi
“Don’t miss your chance to make an impact, dial 877-698-8228 now!
Source(s): Feeding America. Action Alert Voices for Americas Children. Action Alert Bread for the World. St. Vincent de Paul Society. National Center on Family Homelessness.
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i In 1984, Share Our Strength, was started by the brother and sister team of Bill and Debbie Shore started the organization with the belief that everyone has strength to share in the global fight against hunger and poverty, and that in these shared strengths lie sustainable solutions.
iiRhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.
iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.
iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008.
v Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.
CARES work around the world assisting survivors of disaster and war is life saving. CARE has joined Students Rebuild and the One Million Bones Project. The goal of this project is to cover the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with 1 million handmade bones – a visual petition against violence and conflict around the world.
In CARE’s Action Alert issued today, Students Rebuild is challenging young people worldwide to make bones in honor of lives lost and in solidarity with survivors of ongoing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. Each bone – made from materials including clay, newspaper or cardboard – will result in a $1 donation, up to $500,000, to CARE in support of their work in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia both which have a long history of turmoil and conflict.
You can help improve the quality of life worldwide. According to CARE’s Action Alert, on April 28, 2012, simultaneous bone-laying demonstrations will take place in state capitals across the country. You can demonstrate your support of CARE’s work in war torn countries by taking part in an event in your state, hosting your own event, or sharing this call to action. Toward that goal, please visit Students Rebuild now to access all of the tools and resources you need to take part on April 28 and beyond. Your participation will truly make a difference.
With an equal amount of conscience mind, heart, and collective action, we can improve the human condition.
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