|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.
Public Policy Forum
UCS and United Way of Greater Kansas City will co-host a Public Policy Forum on Monday, December 8, 2-4 p.m. at Johnson County Central Resource Library. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.
The event features a panel of experts on four topics.
Johnson County Poverty Trend
According to the 2013 Census date released in September, the overall county poverty rate fell by nearly a percentage point, to 5.9%. The number of poor was estimated at 32,880, nearly 5,000 fewer people than 2012.
The good news is the data suggest that the sharp uptick that came with the Great Recession is starting to reverse. The bad news is the number of poor is still 10,000 higher than before the Great Recession. New Release, 2013 Poverty Data for Johnson County
Kansas Could Do More for Poor Families with Children
A months-long study by United Community Services of Johnson County shows that the Kansas Department for Children and Families could do more to help poor families become and remain financially stable. The report details state policies and rules since 2011 that determine eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the leading program to help the poorest families. UCS found that these rules overall appear designed to reduce caseloads rather than help families to succeed. Only about one in 10 TANF cases was closed this year because the recipient earned too much to retain eligibility. State budgetary trends since 2008 show that less than one-third of all TANF spending in fiscal year 2013 goes for essential services of cash assistance, child care and employment services, down from more than one-half in FY 2008. Kansas has money to improve spending on core TANF programs. The beginning balance in TANF block grant funds was $48.7 million at the start of this fiscal year. Meanwhile cash benefits for Kansas’ poorest families with children are the same today, in actual dollars, as when the program started in 1996. When considered together, the state’s policies and budgetary decisions present challenges to the poorest of Kansas families, who have turned to the state for help, often as a last resort. Recommendations are offered to generate conversation about improvements. Download the full report.
Now available, the October 2014 UCS Community Report.
Human Service Safety Net. A one-page handout 2014 edition highlighting some of the local programs that rely on state/federal funding administered by the State of Kansas.