Health

New local data for each county in Utah are now available at the Voices for Utah Children website. Each county-level profile includes child demographics and measures of child-wellbeing related to education, health and economics.

Here are just some of the questions you can answer with the new data:

  • What is the average student/teacher ratio at local schools?
  • What percent of kids are chronically absent from local schools?
  • How many children were victims of abuse in my county?
  • What is the children’s health insurance rate in my county?
  • How many local kids are living in poverty?

Check it out here: 
Kids Count County Data Sheets

Photo Credit: Scott Webb


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog

This new 3-minute video, featuring Lincoln Nehring, President and CEO of Voices for Utah Children and policy experts at the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, describes the plight of Utah families in the healthcare coverage gap. In Utah, a single mom with two children must earn $756/month or less to qualify for Medicaid.  "That is painfully low," points out Nehring. In most other states, a parent can earn triple that amount and still qualify.

Joan Alker of Georgetown lists three reasons Utah should expand access to coverage:

  1. A healthier parent is a better parent.
  2. Children are more likely to be insured if their parents are insured.
  3. The whole family must be insured to protect the family from medical debt and bankruptcy.

The good news? "States can expand Medicaid at any time—the sooner the better," says Nehring.

Utah Health Coverage Gap from Georgetown CCF on Vimeo.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog

A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spends just $1.35 on average per person per meal for households with children, yet lifts millions of families and their children out of poverty. Here are some other key findings of the report:

  • SNAP kept about 10.3 million people out of poverty in 2012, including about 4.9 million children. 
  • SNAP helps families put food on the table. Food insecurity — limited access to enough food for an active, healthy life — among children falls by roughly a third after their families receive SNAP benefits for six months. 
  • Some evidence suggests that children receiving SNAP are less likely than low-income non-participants to be in fair or poor health or underweight, and their families are less likely to trade off paying for health care and paying for other basic needs, like food, housing, heating, and electricity.
  • Children who receive SNAP do better in school. SNAP participation can lead to improvements in reading and mathematics skills among elementary children, especially young girls, and increase the chances of graduating from high school.
  • Adults who had access to SNAP as young children reported better health and had lower rates of “metabolic syndrome” (a combined measure of the incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes), and women who had access to food stamps as young children reported improved economic self-sufficiency (as measured by a combination of employment, income, poverty status, high school graduation, and program participation).

For more information, see the complete report:

SNAP Works for America’s Children 


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog

In the work that we do, it is imperative that we use data to inform our decisions and help children and their families access the resources they need. But with so many different tools and resources, it can be hard to find trusted information. That’s where the Data Center comes in. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center contains thousands of child well-being indicators related to education, poverty, health and youth risk factors. By being able to filter by state, city, county and congressional district, users are able to access data that is relevant in their communities. Visit the Data Center today to enact change.

Here are some examples of the data tools you can find at the Kids Count Data Center.

 

 

 Visit the Kids Count Data Center to find data you can share and embed on your own website!


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog
September 06, 2016

It's Suicide Prevention Week

For more details about the youth suicide problem in Utah and possible policy solutions, see Teen Suicide Rates in Utah.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers these suggestions for individuals to help prevent suicide among their own family and friends:

Step One Be The To 2 ask 500x500 1

Step Two Be The To 5 500x500 be there

Step Three BT1T KEEP THEM SAFE 500x500

Step Four be the to 6 500x500 connect

Step Five bt1t follow up step five 500x500

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) suicide life line

 sad preteen with hoodie featured


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog
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NAIC Cover ImageConsumer representatives to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, including Voices for Utah Children, released recommendations for policymakers to address the high prices that put medications out of reach for many families in need.

Recommendations include:

  • Limit the number of drug tiers that insurers can use;
  • Limit consumer cost-sharing by, for instance, prohibiting coinsurance for prescription drugs;
  • Adopt standardized plans with meaningful cost-sharing limits to mitigate adverse tiering;
  • Prohibit mid-year formulary changes that negatively affect enrollee access to drugs;
  • Require formularies to be updated weekly and include information about drug tiering, the actual dollar amount of any cost-sharing, any utilization management or network restrictions, and the process to request a drug exception, among other information;
  • Collect standardized, plan-level data to enable the development of consumer tools and apps; and
  • Solicit feedback from external stakeholders—such as advocates, other state agencies, ombudsmen, and independent medical experts—to inform the formulary review process.

For more information, see the complete report:

Promoting Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs: Policy Analysis and Consumer Recommendations for State Policymakers, Consumer Advocates, and Health Care Stakeholders


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog

Happy Women's Equality Day! The Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was certified on August 26, 1920. Each year, we commemorate this important milestone and evaluate our progress toward achieving full equality for American women.

Here in Utah, a big part of that goal is reducing our gender gap in wages, which is one of the highest in the nation. Voices for Utah Children described the wage gap problem in the report Utah’s Gender Opportunity: An examination of the difference between the earnings of Utah men and women.

Addressing workplace policies that have a disparate impact on women expectant parents cover by making it more difficult to balance work with family responsibilities is key to eliminating the gender gap.

Fortunately, Utah made some progress in that direction during the past year. The Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 59, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The new law bumped Utah up from a failing grade to a C- in the National Partnership for Women & Families most recent rankings. Let's keep working our way up to an 'A'!


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog
Tagged under
August 15, 2016

Teen Suicide Rates in Utah

What’s Behind the Latest Kids Count Rankings?

Utah’s national health ranking dropped from seventh to 27th, according to the annual 2016 Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book. As has been widely reported, one of the reasons for this drop in rankings is an alarming rise in youth suicide.

The suicide rate among youth ages 10-19 has doubled since 2008. Nationally Utah has one of the highest rates of youth suicide, and the highest for teenage girls. The rate of suicide among girls in Utah is almost double the national average.

The suicide rate is significantly higher than all other fatal injuries for youth—both intentional and unintentional. The Utah Department of Health 2015 survey data confirms that youth depression and suicide ideation rates are on the rise. Among surveyed youth (grades 6-12), 14.4% said they had seriously considered attempting suicide; this is up from 7.4% in 2011. Depression among youth also increased; 22.7% of all youth experienced depression related indicators in 2015. The increase is particularly significant for younger children: since 2011, the rate of depression among 6th graders has more than doubled to 16.2%.

Researchers and advocates point to a variety of possible reasons for the rise in youth suicide. Some reports suggest that Utah LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk. Others point to a rise in bullying, especially online, and increased pressure and social demands on our youth. The Utah Department of Health notes that children who are involved in the juvenile justice system or experience school disciplinary action can be at a higher risk. In addition, children living in rural and frontier areas may have higher rates of suicide, because they have a harder time accessing services and care. There is no one clear answer to explain this alarming rise, and the reasons are often complex.

But there are important steps we can take now, moving forward to keep families and children safe.

Policy Implications and Action to Keep All Children Safe

Expand mental and behavioral health services for children and youth. Start early and screen often to promote children’s behavioral, developmental and mental health. All children should have access to comprehensive mental health screenings and care. The earlier we start, the more likely we can prevent disorders from occurring or escalating. At least 14% of all children in Utah report one or more mental, behavioral or developmental conditions, according to 2011-2012 data. Investment in early mental health promotion and intervention strengthens outcomes for children, families and communities.

Safeguard homes. Over a third of all youth suicides in Utah are committed with firearms. Keeping children safe and firearms stored properly is a critical factor in suicide prevention. For more information, visit www.projectchildsafe.org.

Cover all kids. 85,000 children in Utah do not have health insurance, limiting their access to mental health services. When children are not insured, they are less likely to get care and build consistent relationships with providers. Health insurance is the starting point to keep our kids healthy and safe.

Cover all parents, too. Too many parents are uninsured in Utah because they fall into the Medicaid coverage gap. When parents are uninsured, they cannot get the mental and physical health care and treatment they need. We need to close the insurance gap for all parents and individuals. To create a safe and healthy home for their family, all parents need affordable health insurance.

Improve access to regular check-ups and preventive care. Well-child visits are important opportunities to assess children’s physical and mental health. Children of all ages should receive timely, comprehensive check-ups, including regular, standardized developmental screenings. But less than 50% of adolescents receive their well-care visit. Parents should also be screened during well-care visits to assess family history and provide comprehensive care.

Support and strengthen school-based, after school and out-of-school time counseling and resources. Ensure that children can access counseling and care, and build trusted support networks with peers and adults.

Support ongoing research and improved data. We need to ensure our public health and safety systems have accurate and comprehensive information. They need to have the tools, measurements and support necessary to fully understand who is affected, how Utah families are accessing the quality care they need, and how to connect children with treatment.

Out of the Shadows

Recent reports and media attention are bringing this important issue to light. Now it is time to act. No one in Utah should have to experience this tragedy. Through strong policies, dedicated resources and coordinated action, we can keep our youth safe and build communities where all Utah children and youth can thrive.

For additional information

Help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

If you live in Utah, call the Statewide Crisis Line at 
801-587-3000 or

call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog
Tagged under

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is working to pass the Family First Prevention Services Act (HR.5456/S.3065), a bipartisan bill that would ensure more children can stay safely with family and out of foster care by allowing federal child welfare dollars to be used on preventive mental health, substance abuse, and in-home counseling services to children who are candidates for foster care, as well as their parents or caregivers.

family first actThe bill also encourages the placement of children in foster care in the least restrictive, most family-like settings appropriate to their needs. This positive step would conform to the Annie E. Casey Foundation recommendations listed in a recently released report:

Kids Count Report: Too many children in child welfare are not living in families

“The Family First Prevention Services Act has the potential to have a far-reaching impact in the lives of foster children and youth and their families,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. He commended Senator Hatch “for promoting evidence-based prevention services to keep children in family settings and out of foster care.”

Thank you, Senator Hatch, for your leadership on this issue!

For more information, see this fact sheet:

First Focus Fact Sheet: Family First Prevention Services Act


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog

2016 Candidate Briefing Guide

Health Equity 2 for report

2016 is an important election year in Utah. The public offices on the ballot in November include the following:

  • U.S. Senate
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • Governor and Lt. Governor
  • Half of the State Senate
  • The entire Utah House of Representatives

Our elected officials play a central role in determining whether all children have the opportunity for health, safety, education, and economic security. As the Utah child population grows and becomes more diverse, it is important for candidates to discuss the needs of Utah children and the policies they would pursue to ensure that all Utah's children can thrive.

Voices for Utah Children is providing candidates for elected office in Utah with the resources in this Candidate Briefing Guide to help them understand the challenges facing Utah's children, direct public awareness and dialogue toward the needs of children over the course of their campaigns, and begin their terms of office prepared to enact effective policies to protect their youngest constituents.

Utah voters can also use these resources to educate ourselves about children’s issues as we seek to elect candidates that will prioritize the needs of children and invest in our state’s future.

More Information:

Racial and Ethnic Equity for Children in Utah: What we learned from the 2016 Legislative Session

Kids Count

Health

Juvenile Justice

Early Childhood

Economic Security/Tax & Budget

Kids Count

2016KC profiles UT 1Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, our KIDS COUNT® work aims to provide Utah’s legislators, public officials and child advocates with reliable data, policy recommendations and other tools needed to advance the kinds of sound policies that benefit children and families across the state.

This year, Utah barely held on to its position among the top ten in the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT® Data Book report. Ranking 9th in 2015, Utah now ranks 10th among the fifty states (despite a dramatic change in the health domain, where Utah dropped from 7th in 2015 to 27th in 2016). Utah’s 2nd place ranking for the Family & Community domain and 8th place ranking for Economic Well-Being remained unchanged. In the Education domain, Utah ranked 21st — up from 29th in 2015.

Terry Haven Terry Haven 300
Deputy Director
Voices for Utah Children

 

More Information:

2016 Kids Count Data Book

Measures of Well-Being in Utah, 2015

pdf2016 Utah and United States Kids Count Profiles

The Federal Safety Net Cuts Child Poverty in Utah in Half

Health

Each child brings the promise of a healthier, stronger future for Utah. To make good on that promise, Utah needs to make sure children can grow up healthy, from the prenatal period all the way through their teenage years.

Utah children and families should have access to:

  • Appropriate prenatal care;
  • Affordable, accessible, culturally competent care that encompasses both prevention and treatment; and
  • Supportive services and environments designed to help facilitate the best possible health outcomes.

All families in Utah must be able to achieve optimal health in order for our state to continue to grow and prosper.

Jessie Mandle, MPH Jessie Mandle
Health Policy Analyst
Voices for Utah Children

 

More Information:

12-Month Continuous Eligibility for Children on Medicaid

Utah's Uninsured Rate for Hispanic Children: Highest in the Country

A Coverage Gap Solution for Utah Families

Majority of Eligible Parents Who Would Benefit from Medicaid Expansion are Working

Juvenile Justice

Utah School to prison pipelineVoices for Utah Children seeks to reduce juvenile incarceration rates and eliminate the inappropriate use of secure confinement and out-of-home placement, ensuring that juvenile correction systems better protect youth and the public.

A key aspect of our juvenile justice work involves a commitment to challenging the School-to-Prison Pipeline, wherein children — particularly children of color and those with disabilities — are funneled out of public schools and into juvenile and criminal justice systems in a discriminatory application of discipline. “Zero-tolerance” policies criminalize minor infractions in the classroom, while the presence of law enforcement officers in schools often leads to student behavior being criminalized rather than handled within the school setting.

We are committed to the belief that children should be educated, not incarcerated. We work to empower advocates and community members alike, arming people with information that allows them take action to end School-to-Prison Pipeline.

Lincoln M. Nehring, JD Lincoln Nehring
President & CEO
Voices for Utah Children

 

 

 

Early Childhood

The early years in a child’s life form the core foundation for later social, emotional and cognitive development. Done well, early childhood education can help level the playing field, especially for low-income children, by closing the access and achievement gaps, thereby enhancing not only school performance, but self-sufficiency over a lifetime.

At Voices for Utah Children, we focus on promoting targeted investments in early childhood education, with the goal of creating a statewide early learning system in Utah that supports all families by making sure they have access to high-quality options for their children’s early care and learning—whether children spend their days at home, in formal child care, or with family and friends.

Tess Davis, JD Tess Davis
Policy Analyst
Voices for Utah Children

 

More Information:

Optional Extended-Day Kindergarten

5 Minute Guide to Shared Services

Economic Security/Tax & Budget

InvestmentInChildrenAndEconomicGrowth website

Every day, state governments raise and spend tax revenue in ways that profoundly affect families and communities. The fiscal choices Utah makes — about investing in schools, health care, child care, and other services — can help foster equal opportunity and lay the foundations for our future growth and prosperity.

Voices for Utah Children's fiscal policy program works to ensure that we invest sufficient resources in the vital public systems that ensure that our kids get world-class education and health care as well as special support for children most in need. We also work to ensure that public revenues are generated in ways that are fair; no family should be taxed into poverty as the price of educating their children. 

Matthew Weinstein, MPP Matthew Weinstein
State Priorities Partnership Director
Voices for Utah Children

virtuous cycle website

 

More Information:

Restoring Revenues

Utah Children's Budget Report 2015

Ending Earmarks

What's Still Eating Utah's General Fund?

Top 10 Reasons to End the Earmarks

Deseret News: Social service advocates call for lawmakers to 'end the earmarks'

Deseret News: In our opinion: Utahns need to understand and appreciate the value of their citizen Legislature

Utah Policy.com: Poll: Utahns Split on Eliminating Transportation Earmarks

A Comparative Look at Utah and Colorado:
Part 1: Economic Opportunity
Part 2: Standard of Living

The Earned Income Tax Credit: A Time-Tested Two-Generation Strategy for Poverty


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog