Kansas Action for Children

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

The head of a Kansas advocacy group opposes a plan to sell off part of a tobacco lawsuit settlement. The annual payments from the settlement fund children’s programs.

The proposal from Gov. Sam Brownback would sell off part of the payments in exchange for immediate cash to help the state fix a budget shortfall. Shannon Cotsoradis, with the group Kansas Action for Children, calls it a short-term solution.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

A children’s advocacy group is charging that welfare policies championed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback are pushing more families into poverty. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has the latest in the ongoing dispute.

The nonprofit advocacy organization Kansas Action for Children says the Brownback administration’s welfare policies are unraveling the state’s social services safety net.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

Documents obtained by a child advocacy organization show that representatives of a Wall Street firm met with Kansas officials about bonding the state’s tobacco settlement last fall.

Kansas Action for Children President Shannon Cotsoradis says a document her organization obtained from a national business reporter confirms that a plan for bonding the state’s tobacco settlement is under discussion.

Matthew Cunnelly, flickr Creative Commons

The head of a nonprofit organization that advocates for children is blowing the whistle on plans to raise some quick cash for the state treasury by selling the state’s tobacco settlement. State officials say no deal has been struck.

Shannon Cotsoradis, the president of Kansas Action for Children, says she has reason to believe that Gov. Sam Brownback wants to securitize a settlement reached decades ago to end a lawsuit against the nation’s major tobacco companies.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

An advocacy group is saying that Gov. Sam Brownback’s latest plan to avert a budget deficit will hurt some of the state’s poorest children. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has more on concerns being raised by children’s advocates.

kac.org

Kansas child care advocates say the state’s new welfare law could jeopardize a $42 million federal grant. State officials disagree.

The welfare law at issue was passed by conservative Republicans to tighten eligibility requirements and move low-income Kansans off welfare and into jobs.

Some of the changes in the law could make it harder for some welfare recipients to maintain their eligibility without interruption, says Shannon Cotsoradis, CEO of the nonprofit advocacy group Kansas Action for Children.

KHI.org/Annie E. Casey Foundation

An annual survey that charts the well-being of children in the state shows that Kansas is making progress in some areas but is falling behind in others. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has more on the Kids Count rankings.

Kansas retained its overall ranking of 15th in this year’s Kids Count rankings compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Kansas Action for Children

A Topeka-based children’s advocacy group says legislators’ inability to keep their hands out of a pot of money meant to permanently fund children’s programs in Kansas has drained that funding nearly dry.

Kansas Action for Children says the fund was established to invest the proceeds of a multi-state tobacco settlement to pay for programs to benefit kids in Kansas. KAC President and CEO Shannon Cotsoradis says instead, lawmakers have tapped it again and again over the last 15 years, to the tune of almost $200 million, to support other budget priorities.

Kansas is the 16th best state in the nation, in terms of overall child well-being according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in this year's KIDS COUNT Data Book. The report covers 16 measures of child health, economic well-being, family and community, and education. But while Kansas is in the top-third overall, the economic picture for kids in Kansas is not so bright.

Kansas lawmakers spared early childhood programs from the budget axe this year, but advocates for those programs say children didn't fare well overall in the 2013 legislative session.

The top concern, according to April Holman of the non-profit Kansas Action for Children, is that lawmakers balanced the budget using more than $9 million dollars that should have gone into an endowment for early childhood funding.

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