The paper "Why Michigan Kids Should Count" is an outstanding example of a research paper on politics. Kids Count in Michigan is part of a wide national incentive that is used to measure children’ s well-being at Michigan State as well as at the local levels, and the information is used in shaping efforts that are used in improving the lives of children. This is a non-profit and non-partisan campaign group for families of low income. Major objectives of the Michigan Kids Count include developing and analyzing indicators of children’ s well-being and such basic needs as their education, safety, and health; publishing a yearly data book and eventually releasing the findings; and maintaining awareness campaign in public avenues concerning the children and their families’ status.
The partners in this initiative include the Michigan League for Human Services and Michigan’ s Children. This paper will highlight the plight of children in Michigan State and show how the tax has affected them and why they should count. This paper also incorporates various expert opinion and recommendations that would help elevate the current status of Michigan children.
Why Michigan Kids Should Count According to results by the Data Snapshot on High-Poverty Communities that was released by Kids Count, Michigan is ranked among the worst 10 states for children residing in high-ended poverty backgrounds. However, there are clear initiatives that need to be embraced in order to improve the lives of children in those neighborhoods. According to the report, children from poor backgrounds are adversely affected even if their families are not poor. This is because the strive more with behavioral and emotional issues and are not likely to graduate, besides having reduced potential to be successful economically when they become adults.
According to the report, poverty was more concentrated in rural areas and in large cities. Thirty-two counties were found to be affected, and of these, four were in Northern Michigan. The 2011 Michigan Kids Count Data Book reports that Michigan’ s escalating poverty level poses a great threat to the health and well being of the children, lowers their opportunities of being successful as well as the chances of the state having a bright future.
In the report, the level of poverty has been rising drastically since 2000. For instance, it estimates that in 2009, a quarter of all children residing in Michigan were experiencing poverty, up from 14% in 2000. Surprisingly, a high number of Michigan children are living in extreme poverty of less than $11,000 per year for a four-member-family. This quantity doubled from 5% to 11%, implying that for every 10 children, more than 1 is living at the halfway mark of the level of poverty (Putnam, 2012). Consequently, staffs of School cafeteria report that currently, approximately half of children in public schools throughout Michigan State, on a daily basis, qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.
Michigan kids are not only affected by hunger, but poverty-stricken children also lack access to a consistent source of medical care. In this regard, initiatives that will make the children access long-term programs that will reduce their stress, anxiety, depression, and obesity should be implemented. This is because research shows that healthy children are well equipped to enter school, can comfortably learn without problems and are eventually able to graduate from high school, join tertiary educational institutions or are ready for careers.
The President and CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services, Gilda Z. Jacobs proposed that the data should be used to make meaningful changes that will transform the lives of Michigan Children. One of the recommendations is to promote federal and state policies that have promising initiatives in aspects of work support, asset building as well as employment including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC, though it has only been in Michigan for four years, has been tremendously cut from 20% of the Federal credit to just 6% for 2012 tax period and beyond.
However, when this credit or a portion of it is restored, then the concentration of poverty in Michigan will be reduced significantly. Jacobs argues that this is the most effective incentive that will get Michigan children out of the poverty basket. The policy should be revisited by the lawmakers early enough to avert the situation. Moreover, the regional transit system in Southeast Michigan that would increase job opportunities and improve the already worsening situation should be implemented.
In addition, another important initiative to be undertaken in improving the Michigan Children’ s situation is the 90-day legislation that has mandated a process of pre-foreclosure that will expire at the end of 2012. Experts propose that the expiry period should be extended. Moreover, a proposal of asset building in Michigan is recommended by the Center for Enterprise Development. Consequently, food and cash assistance, as well as family Medicaid assets, should be lifted (Putnam, 2012) and ultimately, the livelihoods of children in Michigan will be improved.
Conclusion It is imperative that Kids in Michigan should count. This is because they are experiencing a worse situation as a result of poverty. Even though the situation in Michigan is amongst the worse in the United States, imperative and advance measures need to be promptly taken to avert the otherwise unpromising situation to both the children and the Michigan State as a whole. The Data Book, besides giving the true picture of what is on the ground, also highlights some of the progress made by the Michigan Kids Count stakeholders, including reduced birth rates among the teens, drop in teen deaths and reduced high school dropout rates as well as reduced child and infant mortality rates.
The Data Book does not only highlight the plight of poverty-stricken children in general, but it also narrows down to reporting quite unpromising statistics for low-income Michigan children and those of color. It is, therefore, necessary for the Kids Count in Michigan program to significantly put in long-term mechanisms that will successfully support children from birth to career and provide necessary empowerment to their families and the community at large so that they are able to support their children throughout their entire life.
ReferencesPutnam, J. (2012, February 23). Michigan League for Human Services. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from Michigan League for Human Services Website: http://www.milhs.org/kids-count- high-poverty