Safety Net

COMMENTARY

Column: Michigan has had a sea change in childcare

BY: - September 25, 2021

In less than a week, I will be retiring after more than three decades of working to improve public policy for Michigan children and families. And as I take one last look at the policy landscape before my personal role in it changes, I can unequivocally say that the appreciation of the importance of childcare […]

Orphaned, infected, in crisis: How the pandemic is traumatizing kids

BY: - September 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has brought heartbreaking consequences for millions of U.S. children, even as most avoided serious illness themselves, pediatric experts told Congress on Wednesday. Take, for instance, a young girl from Tennessee named Sophia, whose story was relayed by Dr. Margaret Rush, president of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Within […]

Foster care grads needed lawmakers’ help during COVID. That didn’t come until the last minute.

BY: - September 24, 2021

Michael Davis-Thomas has big plans.  The 24-year-old from Bay City wants to run for office — at first, for the state House or Senate and, ultimately, for president. But before he can fully dedicate himself to a life in politics, Davis-Thomas has to figure out how he’s going to afford the $2,000 he needs to […]

New: State budget includes pay hike for some health care workers during pandemic

BY: - September 21, 2021

The nearly $70 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget will include a temporary $2 hourly pay raise for direct care workers providing Medicaid-funded in-home behavioral health and long-term care services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Advance has learned.  The budget also allocates $460 million to give a permanent $2.35 hourly raise to direct care […]

Poll: Nearly 2/3 of Mich. voters want more state funding for kids and families during pandemic

BY: - September 21, 2021

State lawmakers should increase public funding for children and families to address the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly two-thirds of Michiganders said in a recent statewide poll from the Skillman Foundation and Michigan’s Children. Across the state’s geographical regions and demographic groups, there was an overwhelming consensus among the 800 likely voters surveyed that […]

‘This feels like a family reunion’: Kalamazoo hosts 1st live LGBTQ Pride in 2 years

BY: - September 20, 2021

During a year and a half of social distancing during the pandemic, hugging has become rarer — especially with those you don’t know.  But this was a special occasion for Kris Schirripa, 51, and her husband, Nick Schirripa, 47, who sat in the middle of Bronson Park in Kalamazoo Saturday during one of the first […]

COMMENTARY

Column: I’ve worked at McDonald’s for 11 years. We deserve better working conditions.

BY: - September 14, 2021

In Detroit, the average temperature last month was 80 degrees. Now add the heat radiating from a hot stove, humidity, wearing a face mask for safety during the pandemic and physical exertion. It feels like I’m in an oven at the Detroit McDonald’s where I work.  I have worked at as a crew member for […]

Unemployment head tells House panel she ‘absolutely’ takes responsibility for agency failures

BY: - September 9, 2021

Liza Estlund Olson, the acting director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), testified before a state House panel Thursday on unemployment system problems since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Olson’s appearance before the Oversight Committee comes after Republican lawmakers have leveled withering criticism at the Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer administration over its handling of […]

Federal pandemic jobless benefits are gone. Experts say state lawmakers must now protect workers.

BY: - September 9, 2021

Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders saw their COVID-related federal jobless aid end this week, leaving individuals and families to face yet another onslaught of challenges in a pandemic that is far from over — from state unemployment laws that policy experts said are riddled with problems to unaffordable childcare barring people from returning to the […]

Employees works at Ford Motor Plant

Oxfam: Michigan falls to 29th best state for workers in 2021

BY: - September 8, 2021

The Boston-based nonprofit Oxfam has ranked Michigan as the 29th best state for workers overall in its most recent annual report on working policies and conditions. Michigan’s 2021 ranking is a far cry from what it was in 2020 — then 13th in the country overall, nearly cracking the top 10 best states to work […]

States that borrowed from feds to cover unemployment comp checks are about to owe interest

BY: - September 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Ten states that struggled to pay the mounting costs of rising unemployment compensation claims during the COVID-19 pandemic will face yet another challenge starting Monday: interest accruing on federal loans they relied on to cover payments to the unemployed. Collectively, those states — which include Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — owe the federal […]

COMMENTARY

Column: Community is the only way to help Michigan kids

BY: - September 2, 2021

Child abuse and neglect are not a family or household problem. They’re not a racial, political or socioeconomic problem. They’re an every-community problem. If an entire community is unable to coalesce around the safety and well-being of all children, the health of the community suffers. Left unchecked, maltreatment of even a single child can come […]