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Children and the Shutdown

The direct impact of the shutdown on us is silly, but the potential impact on thousands of Nebraska kids isn’t.

On Monday, when we planned the blog posts for the week, we decided that today’s blog post would focus on the new uninsured data from the American Community Survey. On Tuesday morning, I sat down to pull the data from the U.S. Census website and found that the data on uninsured children was no longer available.  The federal government’s shutdown closed many of the government websites we rely on for data and information.

Voices for Children obtains much of our data from the U.S. Census Bureau and their annual surveys, and unfortunately their website has been switched off during the shutdown. While groans of exasperation were heard around the office due to the lack of access to data (and the need for a bit of creative thinking for this week’s data endeavors), the direct impact the shutdown has had on us is minuscule compared to the possible impact on our state’s children.

We don’t have many details yet on how federal government shutdown will play out for kids in Nebraska.  What we do know is that a prolonged shutdown will cause the same closures and cuts for programs in Nebraska that are beginning to happen across the country. Head Start programs are expected to close nationwide leaving many children without pre-k programs and many parents and families without childcare. WIC checks are expected to stop, possibly leaving many families unable to feed their children without the help that WIC provides. 

Voices for Children will continue to investigate the consequences of the federal government shutdown.  We’re working with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to find out how long services will remain in place to assist low-income families.  If Congress passes a Continuing Resolution soon, we are hopeful the impact on Nebraska’s children will be limited to those with a furloughed parent.

Has the shutdown impacted your day-to-day life yet?

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