Human Services

CSG Midwest
Three alternatives to traditional marriage are recognized in different parts of this region: domestic partnerships, civil unions and common-law marriages. 
CSG Midwest
Right now in Iowa, it’s no sure bet that a child in need of mental health services is going to get them. Instead, access can depend on where his or her family happens to live. “There is no statewide system or network of care in place, and over the long term, we need to develop it because there are clear gaps,” explains Anne Gruenwald, president and CEO of Four Oaks, a Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit agency that provides a range of services for children in need.
“When you have those gaps, needs go unmet, or we have to rely on our adult system of care — and that’s not always a good fit.” Iowa appears to be taking some important first steps, thanks to the recommendations of a work group formed by the Legislature in 2015 and actions taken by lawmakers during their 2016 session. 
CSG Midwest
Starting in 2017, the state of Nebraska will begin offering up to $5 million in tiered tax credits annually to early-childhood programs and their employees — the first Midwestern state, and just the second U.S. state, to do so. Under the School Readiness Tax Credit Act (LB 889, passed earlier this year), which is linked to a quality rating and improvement system created three years ago by the Unicameral Legislature, providers receive incentives based on their quality rating, while eligible employees can claim credits based on education levels, training and work history.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides assistance to millions of low-income American individuals and families to help purchase groceries. As the American economy has improved over the last five years and more Americans have returned to work since the Great Recession of 2008, the monthly average of individuals participating in SNAP has largely declined.

CSG Midwest

One of the more notable trends in state policy over the past decade has been the increased legislative activity and investment around early childhood education. In the Midwest, countless laws and programs (some new, some long-standing) are now in place, from “Preschool for All” in Illinois to “Gearing Up for Kindergarten” in North Dakota.

On June 3, 2016, Gov. Kasich of Ohio signed into law a bill to allow bystanders to break into hot cars with unattended children or pets. Some states already have on the books one or more of three types of laws addressing this issue. Twenty states have laws to specifically address the issue of unattended children in cars, outside of any child neglect and abuse laws that would address endangering a child's welfare. Sixteen states have "good samaritan" laws that protect individuals from civil liability if they provide assistance in...

On July 1, 2016, Arizona will become the first state in the nation to limit lifetime welfare benefits to twelve months. How does Arizona compare to other states in terms of placing restrictions on TANF benefit time limits? Here’s a state-by-state overview.

Annual observation created to raise awareness of mental illness and mental health offers a catalyst for making changes in the criminal justice system.

For as many as 1 million unemployed adults across the country, the federal food assistance clock is ticking. In January, work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults who receive federal SNAP benefits—formerly known as food stamps—were reinstated in 22 states across the country, following a temporary suspension of the requirements in recent years.

On Dec. 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act, that allows persons with disabilities to save for their futures through tax-advantaged savings accounts. The act gives qualified Americans with disabilities the chance to save money and meet the added expenses of living with a disability without jeopardizing their eligibility for important supports such as Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, and Medicaid.

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