CSG Midwest

Wisconsin appears likely to become the first U.S. state to establish a “Green Alert” system to help locate at-risk, missing veterans, The Washington Post reportsSB 473 was passed by the state Senate in January. Under the proposal, law enforcement agencies would use the state’s crime alert network (administered by the Wisconsin Department of Justice) to send along reports of missing veterans to broadcasters and outdoor advertisers. Similar alert systems already are in place in many states (including Wisconsin) for children, seniors and certain at-risk adults.

By Sara Dube and Darcy White
Policymakers want to improve outcomes for children and youth but often struggle with how best to allocate limited resources. In recent years, many have turned to evidence-based policymaking—the systematic use of high-quality research in decision-making—to help address this challenge. Extensive analysis, for example, has demonstrated that some interventions achieve outcomes that benefit children and youth—such as reducing child abuse and juvenile recidivism rates. But policymakers need access to these findings to identify, fund and sustain these proven programs.

Parents play the most essential role in a child’s life, but when families struggle or break down, states often become responsible for providing a safe and secure home base. There has been a shift in focus, however, to help families overcome challenges so that more parents and children can be reunited.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average married middle income ($59,200-$107,400) couple can expect to spend $233,610 on each child for food, shelter and other necessities through age 17. Child care and education will take up 16 percent of those expenditures. However, child care costs vary dramatically across the country.

CSG Midwest
A new law in Kansas will bar “do not resuscitate” or similar physician’s orders for unemancipated minors unless at least one parent or guardian has been told of the intent to issue such an order.
CSG Midwest
Lost in the din of Kansas’ recent budget woes, an innovative mechanism is quietly funding dozens of early-childhood education and wellness programs across the state. The Children’s Initiatives Fund, Kansas Endowment for Youth and the state’s Children’s Cabinet were created in 1999 to support programs promoting the health and welfare of Kansas children using the state’s share of the national tobacco Master Settlement Fund.
CSG Midwest
A yearlong pilot program in Michigan to screen welfare recipients for drug use found no substance abusers, legislators were told. The program tested 14 of 443 participants (either applicants or recipients) of the state’s Family Independence Program in three counties between October 2015 and September 2016, according to The Detroit News.

In Virginia, 1 in 8 people struggles with hunger. Members of The Council of State Governments gathered at the culmination of the 2016 CSG National Conference Dec. 11 in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, to help address this need as part of the CSG Campaign Against Hunger initiative.

According to an annual survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 7.0 percent of U.S. households were “unbanked” in 2015, which means that no one in the household had a checking or savings account. That’s around 9 million households consisting of 15.6 million adults and 7.6 million children. The percentage of the population that is unbanked varies considerably across states, ranging from a low of less than 2 percent in New Hampshire and Vermont to more than 10 percent in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Louisiana has the highest rate at 14 percent.

What is the best state for retirement and aging? If you ask this question, you are likely to receive a listing of states with more favorable and less favorable tax policies. Rifle through the state tax policies and any number of tax breaks will pop up. Some policies benefit everyone—the states that don’t impose any income taxes or sales taxes are examples. Then there are the specific exemptions for older taxpayers—certain types or amounts of income, including Social Security, pensions and retirement savings, property tax exemptions, and even some long-term care insurance deductions. While the fairness, value and efficacy of these tax policies may be in question, it is clear that tax policy, alone, isn’t what people who ask about the best states for retirement are really seeking. They are more likely looking for places with amenities and affordable services that will keep them comfortable and safe as they age.

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