OregonASK at Capitol Hill

OregonASK joined hundreds of advocates on Capitol Hill this week to share about the importance of afterschool and ask Congress to do the right thing for youth and families by continuing funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and many other programs utilized to serve youth before & after school and during the summer months.

Afterschool Ambassador, Debra Jones, from Lincoln County Youth Development Coalition
joined the efforts on Capitol Hill this week.



James Brown, STEM Education Coalition Director, spoke to advocates about this key opportunity to keep momentum for STEM moving forward.
Policy Update
The last several weeks we have focused primarily on bills and issues surrounding expanded learning opportunities in these policy updates, but there are many concerning ways that cuts to other social programs would affect children. In this week's policy update, we're highlighting how changes to government-sponsored insurance and federal nutrition programs would impact children's lives.
Insurance and Children's Health

Almost half of Oregon's children- 46%- are insured through a government-sponsored program, such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Evidence shows that, particularly for low-income children, having health insurance is associated with a broad array of positive outcomes. Insurance, by providing an anchor within the healthcare system, gives children access to vital preventive services, helps protect families' economic security, and pays dividends that last into adulthood.
 
It is well proven that healthy kids learn better, and therefore it isn't surprising that researchers have found links between health insurance coverage and academic outcomes, including better reading scores and increased rate of high school and college completion.
 
Medicaid care for children is also a relative bargain: per-child costs are about 75% of what they are for non-disabled adults. Children comprise 40% of the Medicaid population nationally, but account for less than 20% of Medicaid expenditures. Recent studies on long-term economic benefits have shown for each dollar spent on childhood Medicaid, the government received back 32 cents in increased income tax payments.
 
While the costs of government-sponsored health insurance may be high, the costs of not insuring children are almost certainly greater. Find out more about how health-insurance improves child well-being , and  how medicaid cuts endanger Oregon children .
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
 
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) is the largest nutrition assistance program in the U.S. In 2016, SNAP helped 44 million Americans , 64% of whom were either children, the elderly, or disabled adults. SNAP can only be used to purchase food, with average benefits of just $1.40 per meal or $126 per person per month. While the program aims to address hunger, its effects are broader than simply helping people buy food when they can't afford it. SNAP has been shown to improve birth weights, reduce obesity, and offer other positive health effects. SNAP is associated with positive economic impacts, too. For people under the age of 65 , food stamps lift more people out of poverty than any other government program aside from the Earned Income Tax Credit.
 
Trump is proposing to cut SNAP by $192 billion over the next 10 years, with the White House arguing that the program promotes dependency. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, defending proposed cuts to SNAP and other welfare programs, said, "What we have done is not try to remove the social safety net for the folks who need it, but to try to figure out if there are folks who don't need it and that need to be back in the work force."
 
Hunger Free America 's Executive Director Joel Berg characterizes the scope and scale of the proposed cuts as "mind-boggling." "These cuts, if even partially implemented, would have a devastating impact on America, dramatically increasing hunger, giving us almost depression-levels of hunger and harming our economy because SNAP creates jobs in food production and distribution."
Staying Up to Date with State Policy

We know how important it is to stay up-to-date on current state legislation and encourage those of you who are interested to learn more about the happenings in Salem. You can follow bills directly from the  Oregon State Legislature   or contact  James Barta   to get weekly updates from Children First about a plethora of child related issues. 
Take Individual Action
 
You can make a difference.  Call on congress to  protect funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Need help finding your legislators?  Click HERE . Need talking points to support your own stories of afterschool?  HERE  is evidence showing that Afterschool Works. 
Thank you for your support of afterschool in Oregon and across the nation.

Beth Unverzagt, Executive Director
(503)689-1656


OregonASK is a collaboration of public and private organizations and community members which seek to address common-issues and concerns across all out-of-school time services- child care, recreation, education and youth development.

(503)689-1656 | general@oregonask.org | www.oregonask.org
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