Report: Children Among Most Affected by Economic Downturn
In recent years, most indicators of children's well-being in California have shown little change, but some have worsened, according to a report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 8/17).
This year's annual report from the foundation examines how the recent economic downturn has affected children (Lynch, "Nation Now," Los Angeles Times, 8/17). The report tracked child well-being indicators that included infant birth weight and mortality (Nguyen, New America Media, 8/18).
The report found that children have been among those hardest hit by the economic downturn, with the number of childrenÂ nationwide living below the child poverty rate increasing by 18% from 2000 to 2009.
The data for California show that 44% children in the state live in households that are struggling to make ends meet, according to the study ("Nation Now," Los Angeles Times, 8/17).
Ted Lempert -- president of Children Now, the Annie E. Casey Foundation's California affiliate -- said the economic crisis has left children in California "particularly vulnerable."
He said, "California children have been the target of the state's most significant, painful budget cuts, like the recent $3.3 million reduction in vision services for Healthy Families and the $300 million in permanent reductions to early learning and development programs." Healthy Families is California's Children's Health Insurance Program.
The report also found that:
- The rate of children without insurance decreased from 13% in 2005 to 11% in 2008; and
- The rate of childhood obesity has remained steady in the 30% to 31% range ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 8/17).
The foundation recommended several steps to help children and families, including promoting health insurance coverage for children and providing financial advice to families ("Nation Now," Los Angeles Times, 8/17).
Jessica Dalesandro Mindnich -- associate director of Children Now -- said the report emphasizes the need to preserve safety-net programs, such as childhood education and health care programs (New America Media, 8/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.