A everyone prepares for their Thanksgiving celebrations and time with friends and family, we’ve been thinking a lot about what it is that Voices for Children and Nebraska’s kids can be thankful for this year. Turns out, there are quite a few things for them to be thankful for:
1.) Prenatal care – LB 599 restored prenatal care coverage under Medicaid for all low-income mothers regardless of immigration status or other issues of the mother. We are particularly thankful for the large and diverse coalition of groups came together to support prenatal care.
2.) Healthcare reform – And in particular the Supreme Court upholding most of the Affordable Care Act. Today, more kids are able to access care because preexisting conditions are no longer excluded, young adults can access care through their parents until 26, and soon individuals will be able to access care for themselves and their families through a health care exchange.
3.) Reforms to out-of-home care – Recognizing a growing crisis in our child welfare system, legislators took action on a number of bills to improve the system last session. While the work isn’t quite complete, we’re thankful that they’ve taken this first step.
4.) Improvements to ACCESSNebraska – Legislators also took action to respond to the shortcomings of the public benefits application and call center process. We know that there is still work to be done, but restoring in-person access has been a positive step.
5.) SNAP lifting more families out of poverty – Like most American’s we think a lot about hunger during the holiday season. This year we a grateful for SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – that helps families put food on the table the 365 days of the year. SNAP has helped lift 2 million children out of poverty and 1.3 million out of extreme poverty.
And we know the title says 5 things, but we have one more to add:
6.) We are incredibly thankful this year for all of you:
- the service providers, teachers, child care workers, and everyone who works “in the trenches” with our state’s kids;
- the advocates who make calls to their state senators and who talk about children’s issues with their friends and family; and,
- the policy makers and agency administrators who understand how critically important the well-being of our children is to the future of our state.
Without all of you, Nebraska wouldn’t be such a great place to be a kid. Enjoy your time with family (and that second slice of pumpkin pie). When we get back from the holiday, we’ve got a lot of work to do ensuring Nebraska’s kids have something to be thankful for next year!