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W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
Explore seven grantee stories, letters from our leaders and a look at our Year in Review – each reaffirming WKKF priorities of thriving children, working families and equitable communities, while highlighting the many levels of dynamic interconnections, essential to lasting change.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
In the coming years, Mississippi stands to realize a $54 billion gain in economic output by closing the racial equity gap. This report seeks to expand the narrative associated with racial equity by adding a compelling economic argument to the social justice goal. Beyond an increase in overall economic output, advancing racial equity can translate into meaningful increases in consumer spending and tax revenues, and decreases in social services spending and health-related costs. The potential economic and social gains are significant.
This brief describes why employment equity is critical to Mississippi's economic future and lays out a policy roadmap toachieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a "full-employment economy" (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and on policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI).
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families;
Mississippi has joined a handful of states seeking federal permission to require parents and caregivers who qualify for Medicaid to prove they are working at least 20 hours a week or participating in an approved work activity before receiving health coverage. Called the "Mississippi Workforce Training Initiative," the application for a Section 1115 demonstration waiver pledges to bring more Medicaid beneficiaries into the workforce and move them onto other forms of health insurance. The proposal, however, ignores the fact that only the poorest and most vulnerable parents now receive Medicaid in Mississippi—and that few of them will be able to afford insurance even if they find jobs. In fact, the state's own estimates suggest that about 5,000 of these Mississippi parents will lose their Medicaid coverage in the first year if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approves the state's request.1 The vast majority of these parents are likely to become uninsured.Approval by the federal government is not certain. While CMS has given approval to three states—Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana—to impose work rules, those states have all expanded Medicaid to adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Mississippi, however, has not accepted the Medicaid expansion funding provided under the Affordable Care Act. The only Mississippi families affected by the proposed change would be those living at 27 percent of the poverty level or lower. That works out to $5,610 a year for a family of three or $468 a month—among the most restrictive eligibility limits in the nation.The new requirement would also apply to workers using Transitional Medical Assistance who have jobs, but don't yet make enough to afford private insurance. These beneficiaries, by definition, are already working and are temporarily eligible as their income rises due to earnings. As such, this aspect of the proposal contradicts its stated goals.
Institute for Women's Policy Research;
Research conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Women's Policy Research, finds that for sustained economic security and stability, work should pay a living wage, provide workers with sufficient hours of work (full-time, full-year employment), and provide access to health insurance, a pension, and the flexibility for working women and men to balance work and family. Too many jobs fail the test. The earnings of women workers, especially Black and Hispanic women, are even lower than the median for all Mississippi workers.
Breastfeeding produces health benefits for both child and mother, including optimal nutrition for the infant,1 decreased risk of infant morbidity and death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and decreased risk of maternal morbidity.2Nationally, breastfeeding rates have been rising, with 4 in 5 (81.1%) mothers who gave birth in 2013 initiating breastfeeding and more than half (51.8%) of mothers who gave birth in 2013 still breastfeeding at 6 months.3 Despite this progress, many states fall short of the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding duration and exclusivity targets. These targets include increasing the proportion of infants who are ever breastfed to 81.9% and increasing the proportion of infants who are breastfed at 6 months to 60.6%.4 There are also inequitable disparities in breastfeeding rates, notably along racial5 and socioeconomic6 lines.
Carsey School of Public Policy at The University of New Hampshire;
Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—the federal program that extends health insurance coverage to low income children not eligible for traditional Medicaid—officially expired on September 30, 2017. Given that states implement CHIP in different ways, states will run out of funds at different times, with twelve states exhausting their federal allotment by the end of 2017 (see Figure 1).
Several of these states are populous, and together are home to nearly 9 million—or 30 percent—of the nation's publicly insured children, and to one in five publicly insured rural children. Lawmakers are discussing how to fund reauthorization, and in the meantime, children may become uninsured or switch to more expensive and less comprehensive alternate plans in the interim. As states begin planning for these transitions, legislators should consider both administrative costs and potential effects on family health and finances.
Council For A Strong America;
Mississippi's school discipline procedures have prompted nationwide concern for several years, as the state's schooldistricts have some of the highest suspension, expulsion, and involvement of law enforcement rates in the nation,particularly for students of color. Fortunately, Mississippi law enforcement leaders know several alternative procedures that work to both address disruptive classroom behavior and promote educational achievement throughout the school.
We believe that school administrators must have the authority to suspend, expel or take other school action when dealing with weapons offenses, violent crimes or drug sales, yet we know that less serious offenses, such as talking back to a teacher or using inappropriate language, can be better addressed with other approaches. Models such as the Good Behavior Game, the Incredible Years, Restorative Justice, and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supportshelp reduce suspensions and expulsions while ensuring that schools are safe. Research has found that these models help ameliorate students' behavior, lead to improvements in the schools' environments, increase academic achievement for all students, and prevent later crime. When students succeed academically, their likelihood of coming into contact with law enforcement decreases tremendously. This is how, together, we will build safer communities.
Unintended pregnancy can have significant, negative consequences for individual women, their families and society as a whole. An extensive body of research links births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. In 2011, the most recent year for which national-level data are available, 45% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended, including three out of four pregnancies to women younger than 20, and there were 45 unintended pregnancies per every 1,000 women aged 15–44, a rate significantly higher than that in many other developed countries. If current trends continue, more than half of all women in the United States will experience an unintended pregnancy by the time they reach age 45. And economically disadvantaged women are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and its consequences: In 2011, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with a family income lower than the federal poverty level, at 112 per 1,000, was more than five times the rate among women with an income greater than 200% of poverty (20 per 1,000).
Hope Policy Institute;
Creating opportunities for young men and boys of color to reach their full potentialhelps to advance individual opportunity, family sustainability, community prosperity, andMississippi's overall economic competitiveness. Early supports, like positive school climatesthat fulfill students' socio-emotional needs, help build a foundation for young men andboys of color to succeed and establish economic security into adulthood.
Hope Policy Institute;
Creating opportunities for young men and boys of color to reach their full potentialhelps to advance individual opportunity, family sustainability, community prosperity, andMississippi's overall economic competitiveness. One way to support the development ofyoung men and boys of color involves creating safe and enriching school climates thatfulfill the socio-emotional needs of students while offering a reprieve from external burdens. Focusing on school climate, which reflects school life and norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures, for young men and boys of color provides an opportunity to influence student success and longer-term economic security.