Taking Bad Policy Ideas Off the Table and News for the Week of March 20-26

Taking Bad Policy Ideas Off the Table and News for the Week of March 20-26
3/26/2010 3:51:29 PM

Lots of new developments in the world of children's health, an upcoming child abuse prevention rally and a free symposium on juvenile corrections, evidence-based strategies for fighting poverty, and children's mental health going digital are all in this week's news. Of course, the big story since our last Friday round-up is the passage of national health reform.

Many reporters have covered what the new law means for kids, families, insurers, and those with special health care needs (such as this heartbreaking article about a newborn in yesterday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram). But perhaps the strangest piece this week appeared in the Texas Tribune and on some public radio stations. In "No CHIP Shot,” the question was what the health care bill means for the Texas budget, not because of new expansions in Medicaid coverage— the federal government covers all those through 2017—but because, moving forward, our state won't have the option of closing budget gaps the way it has in the past: by throwing kids off the health care rolls.

I suppose it's legitimate to ask in an era when Arizona just eliminated its CHIP program for 47,000 kids, days before this national law took effect. When, though, can we move past proposing these kinds of non-solutions? The economics are clear: it takes more money out of taxpayers' pockets to leave children uninsured than it does to simply give them public coverage. The same could be said for not providing mental health services to kids who need them, for missing opportunities to prevent child abuse, for skipping out on investments in proven early childhood programs. All these pound-foolish choices carry a very real price tag for Texas, often exceeding the cost of just doing right by kids in the first place.

There's also a principle at play. When we make children an expendable bargaining chip in the inevitable back-and-forth over budgets, we are calling kids "extra,” suggesting somehow that services to them can be taken or left on a whim. This happens despite all evidence to the contrary that these investments deliver vital, proven results.

Services for children are like infrastructure—the things we share a stake in together, because our whole economy, public health system, you name it, requires getting this very basic thing right. Just as we don't shut water treatment facilities or turn off the electric grid or close highways in tough budget years, neither should we discuss cutting off what works for kids. We pay far more later if we do. Let's just agree some ideas aren't worth entertaining.

News and Reports Weekly Round-Up

Child and Maternal Health

3.25.10 Is There an Obesity Tipping Point in Infancy? (TIME)

3.25.10 Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA (Amnesty International)

3.25.10 What Works for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity in Children (Child Trends)

3.23.10 What Does the Health Bill do for Prevention? (Washington Post blog)

3.22.10 Health Care Bill: Big Changes for Working Parents (Wall Street Journal blog)

3.22.10 Passage of Historic Health Reform Bill Means a Lot for Texas Children (Newsroom)

More Health News...

Child Protection

3.25.10 Speak Up for Abused Children Rally April 12 (Texas CASA)

3.25.10 Panhandle Residents Not Proud of New Distinction (NewsWest 9)

More Protection News...

Family Financial Security Headlines

3.24.10 Escaping from Poverty: Evidence of What Works (The New York Times)

More Financial Security News...

Juvenile Justice Headlines

3.26.10 Statewide Abuse and Neglect Data from Juvie Detention (Grits for Breakfast blog)

3.24.10 Free Symposium Monday: The Rights of Minors in the Criminal Justice System (Grits for Breakfast blog)

3.22.10 Meeting the Challenges Faced by Girls in the Juvenile Justice System (U.S. House subcommittee hearing archive)

3.20.10 Getting More for Less in Juvenile Justice (Texas Public Policy Foundation)

More Juvenile Justice News...

Child Mental Wellbeing Headlines

3.23.10 Kids, Meds, and Mental Health (CNN commentary)

3.22.10 Child Psychiatrists Embrace Videoconferencing Telepsychiatry (TIME)

3.22.10 ADHD Symptoms May Decline from One Grade to the Next (Duke University)

More Mental Health News...

More About Kids

3.25.10 Nonprofits Team Up with Schools to Promote Census (The McAllen Monitor)

3.25.10 What Draws Crowd in Pink Dome? Big Stuff? Nah. (TrailBlazers blog)

3.24.10 Census Gives Daily Tally of Local Participation (USA Today)

3.23.10 Texas Faith: Should Government Practice Social Justice? (Dallas Morning News)


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