|Every community must face an ever-changing environment and its influence on human well-being. How a community responds can be shaped by effective planning. That’s where United Community Services of Johnson County comes in. Through information, collaborative planning and mobilization of resources, the availability of health and human services can be enhanced to meet present and emerging needs.
2013 Human Service Summit
Register Now! June 18, 2013 8:30 a.m. – Noon
The theme is “Suburban Poverty: Meeting the Challenge with Effective Strategies” with Erik Stegman, from Half in Ten - the Campaign to Cut Poverty in 10 Years, as the Summit keynote speaker. Click here for the registration form.
Governor Proposes Using Funds Designated for Children’s Programs to Pay for Tax Cuts
Gov. Sam Brownback recently (early May) proposed an amendment to his budget that would move $9.5 million from the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund to the State General Fund, putting high-quality early education programs for Kansas kids at risk.
“The governor’s amendment side steps the law and will ultimately hurt our youngest and some of our poorest Kansas children,” said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children. “If the governor wants to achieve his goals of improving literacy and reducing childhood poverty, now isn’t the time to divert money from the KEY Fund, which supports programs designed to do both.”
Money received by the state from the master tobacco settlement agreement is deposited into the KEY Fund, and each year a portion is transferred to the Children’s Initiatives Fund to support high-quality children’s programs. While the state had budgeted $55.8 million for the CIF this year, Kansas actually received $68 million from the tobacco settlement.
UCS has joined KAC and others to urge policymakers to deposit the remaining $12.2 million into the KEY Fund where it belongs, instead of sweeping it into the State General Fund. The next few days are critical. Now is the time to contact members of the legislature and Governor. To leave a voice message call 1-800-432-3924 and ask for your legislator. To reach the Governor’s office 1-877-579-6757; or send an email.
For more information, see a recent news report by Kansas Health Institute.
School Lunch Program Serves 1 in 4 Johnson County Students
The Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program helps low-income children access adequate nutrition during the school day. Nutrition has a critical influence on cognitive development and academic performance. Basic nutrition needs must be met for children to successfully learn in school.
Enrollment in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program in Johnson County public schools is more than 23,000 students, based on 2012-13 school year data, triple the number in 2002-03. The county-wide participation rate has grown from 1 in 10 in the 2002-03 school year to 1 in 4 in the 2012-13 school year.
A fact sheet provides details by school district. Shawnee Mission School District has the highest participation rate, while Blue Valley had the largest percentage increase in enrollment.
A series of automatic federal budget cuts – called the sequester – took effect on March 1. At this early date, it’s not possible to know the entire scope of the national or local impact. Due to budget cycles, many programs will not experience budget reductions until July or October 2013.
Leaders of human service programs are in the process of gathering information, analyzing the numbers and making the difficult decisions about how to reduce budgets. While every entity is committed to maintaining quality program and reducing the impact on client services, the reality is that in the end, hundreds of Johnson County residents will not receive vital human services. Departments of County Government and several nonprofit agencies provided UCS with estimates of how the people they serve will be affected. Read the Fact Sheet.
The Public Safety Net Value Statement
The safety net represents the public’s commitment to the collective well-being of the community. The safety net encompasses programs and policies designed to care for and protect the vulnerable in our community, and provides pathways and opportunities for the disadvantaged to help them become contributing members of society.
Investments in the safety net result in a healthier, better educated, and highly-skilled workforce.
A community’s workforce provides the foundation for a competitive economy and an attractive quality of life.
More statements about the safety net.
Read the Safety Net Messages here.