Children

Nowhere to Go, More Addicts on the Street and a Ringing Irony

Based on blog posts by Chris Lilienthal originally published here and here at Third and State.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning on the impact of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budget cuts on the lives of people in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Who is getting hit? Adults with disabilities, the homeless, people with mental-health illnesses, HIV patients needing hospice care, children aging out of foster care, and seniors, among others.

Miriam Hill, The Philadelphia InquirerPeople who will be affected by Corbett's cuts:

Brittany Stevens doesn't talk a lot, but she's a bit of a social butterfly. She was a prom queen and, after a recent performance of the musical Fela!, she spontaneously hugged the dancers, nearly tackling them in excitement.

But Brittany, 21, who is disabled and suffers from seizures, incontinence, hearing loss, and other problems, spends most of her days alone in her North Philadelphia home, while her mother, Harlena Morton, goes to work as a high-school counselor.

Morton had hoped to find Brittany a job in a workshop that employs disabled adults. Now that Gov. Corbett has proposed large cuts to social services programs, Morton fears that Brittany and thousands like her will never get off waiting lists for those spots and for other services...

In Philadelphia, the cuts total about $120 million, not including reductions in medical care, city officials say; across Pennsylvania, $317 million, according to state officials.

The Return of Bigfoot: Telling the Truth about Welfare Spending in Pennsylvania

A blog post by Sharon Ward, originally published at Third and State.

BigfootYou may remember that the Commonwealth Foundation put out a report about welfare spending a couple of weeks ago that we likened to “Bigfoot” because it found something in the Department of Public Welfare — massive fraud, millions of non-working adults — that just didn’t exist.

I had a chance to debate Matt Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation on WITF’s Radio Smart Talk, and I thought it might be a good time to share the facts and give you my four big ideas about how we push back on the destructive framing that the “Bigfoot” report perpetuates.

First, let me give a shout out to the people who called in to Smart Talk to set the record straight on welfare spending and challenge Matt directly on his use of the welfare frame. It was clear to the listeners that Matt was quite deliberately trying to invoke the image of Ronald Reagan’s welfare queen by describing welfare as everything from afterschool programs to autism services. The audience wasn’t buying it and we shouldn’t allow it.

The first step  when talking about this issue, is to define welfare accurately.

1. Welfare is cash assistance.

Combine and Cut: Governor's Block Grant Plan for County Human Services

A blog post by Chris Lilienthal, originally published at Third and State.

A week after Governor Tom Corbett rolled out his state budget, many people are still trying to make sense of it.

Perhaps the biggest reshuffling in the Department of Public Welfare budget involves the expansion of the Human Services Development Fund, a flexible funding stream used for a wide variety of human services at the county level. This fund has been repeatedly reduced over the past few year. The new budget combines and cuts funding for other programs into a single Human Services Development Fund Block Grant.

All told, the new block grant is funded at nearly $674 million. That reflects a cut of more than $168 million, or 20%. Portions of a variety of health and human service programs ranging from homeless assistance to mental health services to protecting children from abuse would be impacted (see the table below).

Trouble in Toyland

Holiday shopping season is upon us once again. As a parent, relative, or friend, shopping for toys for the children in your life can be a challenge. 

We don't always know if the gifts will be a hit but the one thing we count on is that the toys we purchase are safe.  Thanks to the hard work of agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and consumer advocates like U.S. PIRG that's largely true.  But as our toy shopping researchers have found, that's not always the case. 
 
Each year, PennPIRG publishes a report, "Trouble In Toyland," that highlights a sampling of unsafe toys, ones we found in a survey of toy stores across the country. Over the past 25 years, the findings of our report have paid off, leading to more than 100 recalls and millions children's products pulled from store shelves.  The findings also provided valuable evidence in support of the need for a 2008 law that gave the CPSC more authority to crack down on manufacturers and importers of dangerous toys. 
 
Despite important progress, parents need to be aware of ongoing hazards and be on the lookout for unsafe products. More than 250,000 American children made trips to the emergency room in 2009 due to toy-related injuries. Toy safety should not be a political or partisan issue.  I have yet to hear any policy maker argue 'caveat emptor' (let the buyer beware) as it relates to toddlers.  That is why it is all the more shocking to see new, sweeping attacks in Congress on some of the most basic health and safety protections for young children as well as the broader public. 
 

BE THERE: Brett Mandel and Alan Butkovitz Square off in Bella Vista April 14th!

EVERYONE'S INVITED TO A MEETING

with

City Controller Candidates
BRETT MANDEL & ALAN BUTKOVITZ

Tues. April 14th at 7PM SHARP!
PALUMBO REC CENTER
10th and FITZWATER Sts.

ALSO:
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Learn How We Can Keep
PROPERTY TAXES from SKYROCKETING w/ Josh Vincent ---------------------------
Learn About Bella Vista's NEW Triangle Park –
our community's 5th park!
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Get Details on Upcoming Bella Vista KIDS FAIRE, sponsored by St. Rep Babette Josephs this Spring

and learn more about this Fall's PHILADELPHIA ZOO DAY IN BELLA VISTA. The animals are coming to the hood!

Bella Vista United Civic Association
www.bvuca.org

Founder of the Children's Defense Fund says McCain's Plan Would Undermine Coverage for Children

Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund, recently described in an interview the catestrophic impact McCain's healthcare policies would have on healthcare coverage for children. Scary!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-tucker/childrens-defense-fund-fo_b_1...

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