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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