The canary in the coal mine

Historically, canaries were used to detect the levels of any dangerous gas buildups in coal mines, signaling to workers whether it was safe to enter. If the canary was heard singing, work would move forward, if there was silence, you did not enter. The rate of infant mortality is like the canary in the coal mine. It is an overall indicator of the quality of life in an area by telling us the health and well-being of the state’s most vulnerable population—infants. And in Michigan, the canary continues to be silenced. (more…)

Immigration and Michigan’s economy

The positive economic impact of welcoming immigrants is echoing across the state. As a daughter of immigrant parents, I feel grateful that our governor is publicly taking a stance against any Arizona-type immigration law in Michigan and speaking on behalf of initiatives that hone in on the importance of rolling out the welcome mat. (more…)

Study shows 2 of every 5 Michigan births paid for by Medicaid

A new report done by the Michigan League for Human Services shows two out of five births were paid for by state taxpayers between 2000 and 2009, and local hospitals say this is a cause for concern. July 11, 2011 — UpNorthLive.com

Editorial: Tough times make stricter welfare rules unfairly harsh

Federal welfare reforms adopted in the mid-1990s limited Temporary Assistance to Needy Families to 60 months of benefits within a lifetime, with certain exceptions. What made the changes reasonably effective and not unduly punitive — including in Michigan under former Gov. John Engler — were significant investments by state and federal governments in child care, education, employment and training programs. July 15, 2011 — Detroit Free Press

State Senate Caps Lifetime Welfare Benefits At Four Years

The Michigan Senate has approved a four-year limit on cash assistance welfare benefits. The 48-month cap is part of Republican plans to balance the state budget. July 14, 2011 — Interlochen Public Radio

Guest commentary: Michigan should avoid divisive immigration laws

Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday will make his first major policy speech on immigration. Snyder already has signaled his opposition to an Arizona-style immigration bill, saying any such measure would further divide our state. Here’s why that’s a wise position. July 14, 2011 — Detroit Free Press

Workforce strategy missing key ingredient: data

Information is power, and Michigan needs all the empowerment it can get in order to prepare our workforce for the 21st century economy.

Helping adult learners—low-skill individuals age 25 and older—acquire occupational skills is important to Michigan’s economic development as well as to the individuals themselves. However, our state has a lot of unanswered questions regarding the effectiveness of programs that bring their skills up to speed. (more…)

Vote hurts vulnerable kids

July 13, 2011
Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Statement from Michigan League for Human Services President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs on 48-month time limits, House Bills 4409-4410, passing the Senate today.

“It is wrong to take away support from an estimated 25,000 children in our state at a time when unemployment remains very high. We need to be lifting up, not pushing down, families trying to work their way toward self sufficiency. (more…)

Sales tax doesn’t add up

In planning to move to Michigan for my new job, I was just as excited about the house I’d found to rent as I was to work at the League. My house is a fantastic, century-old split-level with natural wood, a huge front porch and three bedrooms. This house is significantly larger than anywhere I have lived before so I decided to finally do something I’ve wanted to for years – pay someone to clean my house!!! I hate to clean (sorry Mom), but I like my house to be clean, so this seems the perfect compromise. Of course, there is also the added bonus that I don’t have to pay taxes on this service. Well, perhaps it is a bonus for me, but what about Michigan’s fragile economy? (more…)

Editorial: A warning light on kids for Gov. Snyder’s dashboard

If Gov. Rick Snyder wants to rack up successes on his dashboard for state government, he will need to take a serious look at the latest Kids Count report on new mothers and babies in Michigan. It is flashing a warning signal. July 10, 2011 — Detroit Free Press

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