Column: Michigan has had a sea change in childcare
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
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.
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
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
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
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 […]
Column: I’ve worked at McDonald’s for 11 years. We deserve better working conditions.
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
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.
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 […]
Oxfam: Michigan falls to 29th best state for workers in 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
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 […]
Column: Community is the only way to help Michigan kids
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 […]