Monday, March 28, 2011

Violent Crime and Social Worker Safety

Violent Crime and Social Worker Safety

1 in 5 North Carolinians have difficulty affording food

National report highlights hunger in North Carolina counties
Nearly 1 in 5 North Carolinians have difficulty affording food

(Raleigh) --

An estimated 1.6 million North Carolinians--nearly 1 in 5--struggled with limited or uncertain access to food at some point in 2009, according to a national study released yesterday by Feeding America, a nonprofit hunger-relief organization.

"These data offer an important glimpse into hunger at the community-level in North Carolina," said Laila Bell, Research and Data Director at Action for Children North Carolina, a statewide research and advocacy organization that tracks quantitative indicators of child well-being through the KIDS COUNT project. "Previous research has shown when individuals and families struggle to put food on the table it is children, our most vulnerable population, who are disproportionately affected."

The report, Mapping the Meal Gap, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and administrative sources to generate state- and community-level estimates of the number of people facing food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as the lack of access to nutritionally adequate foods for all household members.

Food insecurity affects a range of households in North Carolina, not just the poorest. In fact, 35 percent of food insecure North Carolinians earned too much to qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), a national program that helps low-income families bridge the gaps in their household food budgets.

In five North Carolina counties, one in four residents faced food insecurity:
• Edgecombe: 27.6% (14,520 people)
• Scotland: 27.6 % (10,050 people)
• Vance: 25.8% (11,080)
• Warren: 25.3% (4,940 people)
• Halifax: 25.3% (13,940 people)
The report also illuminates community-level disparities in food access and price. In 2009, the average cost of a meal in North Carolina was $2.49, but meal prices varied among counties, ranging from 90 percent of the state average ($2.23) in Rutherford and Lenoir counties to 123 percent ($3.06) in Dare county.

Food insecurity also means missed meals. During 2009, hungry North Carolinians missed more than 275 million meals. The report estimates that an additional $687.2 million would have been needed by food insecure individuals to ensure that no meals were missed.

American Indian, African American and Hispanic communities are at disproportionate risk of food insecurity due, in part, to higher-than-average poverty and unemployment rates that reduce economic security and undermine families' ability to afford food. Robeson county was cited in the report as one of 11 counties in the nation with both a large American Indian population (36 percent) and high rates of food insecurity (23 percent).

Families facing food insecurity must prioritize low-cost foods, and cheap meals tend to pack high calories but low nutritional value. As a result, children in food insecure households also face heightened risk of childhood obesity.

"Poor nutrition has been shown to influence health and well-being throughout life, beginning even before birth," said Bell. "The ability to access routine, nutritious meals is essential for healthy physical and cognitive development. Poor maternal and child nutrition has been linked to low birthweight, a heightened risk of infant mortality and reduced educational and economic outcomes later in life."

These data come at a time when lawmakers at the state and federal levels are deciding whether to fully fund a cadre of programs serving children who are typically at-risk of hunger.

"These data demonstrate the need for continued interventions to combat the additional challenges children experience as a result of food insecurity," added Bell. "Without programs like SNAP, WIC, school-day, afterschool and summer feeding programs, as well as health insurance, high-quality early education, and prevention and intervention services, many children in North Carolina would lack important building blocks necessary for proper growth."

Mapping the Meal Gap is available online at

Action for Children North Carolina is a leading statewide nonprofit organization based in Raleigh and is the 2008 winner of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits' Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award. Since its founding in 1983, Action for Children has been the leading voice for North Carolina's children. Action for Children is the KIDS COUNT partner in North Carolina and the state affiliate of the national organization, Voices for America's Children.
For more information, visit

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NC rule to keep risky students off campus delayed

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A rule that would let North Carolina community colleges bar admission to students who appear to pose a threat likely won't take effect until next year.

The state's Rules Review Commission on Thursday acknowledged that it received at least 10 letters objecting to the community college board's vote shortly after an Arizona congresswoman was wounded and six others killed. The suspect had been suspended from his community college for bizarre behavior.

The country's third-largest community college system admits everyone but wanted an exception to exclude those who appear to pose "an articulable, imminent, and significant threat."

Disabilities advocates and the ACLU worried how community college campuses would decide who fits the description.

The rule now won't take effect until July 2012 unless the governor or General Assembly orders it.

Read more:

Read more:

Action Alert!

The legislative session this year has been so different from years past! This year, the legislators have been hit with balancing a budget with a $2.7 billion deficit. With a cast of new legislators and a new party in power, it is our job as social workers and citizens of North Carolina to EDUCATE our legislators about the important work we do.

Some information to provide to your legislators:
- Who you are
- Where you're from
- Your credentials (and what they mean!)- be PROUD to say YOU'RE A SOCIAL WORKER
- Where you went to school
- Where you work
- What type of work you specifically do

Provide them with information about your agency (how many people you serve, main services provided, how you're funded, how long you've been established)as it reflects on the community.

Legislators are part-time workers. They have other jobs when they leave Raleigh. They can not be the expert on what YOU do in their district! As you educate them on what you do for their districts, you are opening the door to build a relationship and can then follow up on legislation that is important to your organization.

One of the most important things to remember is that you deserve to be heard. You are their constituent and you have an important role in their community that they need to know about.

If you have further questions of how to open the door to your legislators, contact Kay Paksoy at the chapter office.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reminder: Coalition Town Hall Meetings

Town Hall Meeting on
Mental Health, Developmental Disability, and Substance Abuse Services
Sponsored by The Coalition

The Coalition, 40 organizations advocating together to meet the needs of North Carolinians living with the developmental disabilities, the disease of addiction, & mental illness, will host a series of town hall meetings on MH, DD, & SA services across the state. These listening sessions will:

•Provide a briefing on the current budget outlook

•Offer an opportunity to share your opinions about MHDDSA services and supports; in person, in writing, or online

•Update you on how to make a difference on these issues through advocacy

TIME: All meetings are from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Doors will open at 6:00 PM and the program begins at 6:30.

March 24 - Fayetteville
Southern Regional AHEC
1601 Owen Drive

March 31 – Greenville/Winterville
Pitt Community College
Leslie Building - Room 143
1986 Pitt Tech Road Winterville

March 31 - Wilmington
Hampton Inn
2320 South 17th Street, Wilmington

April 7 – Winston-Salem
Forsyth Community College, Main Campus
Ardmore Hall Auditorium
2100 Silas Creek Parkway

April 7 - Asheville
Mountain Area Heath Education Center (MAHEC)
501 Biltmore Ave

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Want to have your swmonth voice heard? Log onto and learn how!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Update on Session Bills

SB 221: Department of Corrections/Ex-offenders
An act that would require the Department of Corrections to be the single agency responsible for the coordination and implementation of reentry policy initiatives. It also encourages the continuation of ensuring ex-offenders have a successful transition back into society.
- We support this bill based the dignity and worth of a person. Prison sentences do not mean the end of life, a person can be reintegrated back into society based on successful measures.

SB 239 Food Bank Funds
An act to appropriate $1 million for the food banks in NC for the 2011-2012 fiscal year and 2012-2013 fiscal year.
- Say thanks to bill sponsors for keeping this a priority!

SB 245 Medicaid Billing by Local Health Departments
An act to authorize local health departments to bill medicaid through an approved medicaid clearinghouse or through the department of health and human services, division of public health.
- We are watching this bill to see how it develops. So far, it seems that this bill will help facilitate billing by giving another option to billing (partnership). We are not sure of the impact of this bill yet and will continue to follow it.

SB 326: Evaluate DD Residential Options for Children
This act would require DHHS to evaluate and report on residential placement options for young children with developmental disabilities.

HB 267: Mental Health Workers' Bill of Rights and HB 287 Mental Health Workers' Bill of Rights
- This bill supports all that social workers' do! Please contact the bill sponsors to say THANK YOU!
- The second bill, 287 has more representatives signed on.

HB 387: Access Confidential Info/Child Abuse/Neglect
- This bill would clarify when, to whom, and under what circumstances the identity of a person reporting child abuse or neglect may be released. It would also clarify what information the division of social services is required to maintain in the foster care registry and under what circumstances information in the registry may be withheld.
- This is a big bill for those working with families and children. It will give extra safety when reporting. I encourage you to share this with your supervisors or staff to stay informed!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A message from Together, NC

Dear Together NC partners and allies:

We wanted to make sure you didn't forget about our trainings over the next two weeks in Charlotte, Asheville, and Raleigh on ways to talk about government and taxes that have been proven to really resonate with people.

Together NC is partnering with the Public Works: the Demos Center for the Public Sector and Blueprint North Carolina to bring these trainings to you. Each offers ideas about how to use enduring values and concepts to tell new stories about public issues and government. In addition, attendees will get an in-depth look at the research and recommendations that the Public Works program offers with a special focus on the challenge of talking about taxes, budgets and the role of government in the current North Carolina State fiscal context. Participants will also spend time in discussion and working in small groups to apply the Public Works approach in the current state budget debate.

We’ll conclude with an update on what’s going on with the NC state budget, polling, and how to get engaged.

And, free lunch will be provided!

To learn more about each of the training opportunities and to sign up to attend, click the links below:
Monday, March 21 - Charlotte
Thursday, March 24 - Asheville
Friday, April 8 - Raleigh
•Elaine Mejia, Senior Program Associate, Public Works
•Louisa Warren: Together NC: Budget update
•Stephanie Bass, Blueprint NC: NC polls on citizen attitudes about budgets and spending

Please share with your members, staff, and Boards—these trainings are a unique opportunity to learn from the experts at Demos on how we can all do a better job of messaging around the state budget.

Please check out the new report on the TABOR legislation currently being considered in the General Assembly. The Budget & Tax Center presents some interesting facts and statistics that can help you talk about this proposal within your organization and home communities:

NEW!!! Budget & Tax Center Report on TABOR

Thursday, March 10, 2011

HB 100 will not move through session

House Bill 100 which places strict requirements on Nonprofits receiving state funding will NOT be moving through the session! This bill did not generate enough support and the bill sponsor has announced it will not move forward this session.

Governor's Veto not overrode

The House attempted to override Governor Perdue's veto on House Bill 2, Protect Health Care Freedom. The House needed a three-fifths majority to override the veto and fell 4 votes short.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Action Alert from the NC Justice Center

Hey all! Sorry for the lack of postings on here. I have been running around and Friday we had a very successful Ethics Conference! Here is an important message about House Bill 93. I urge you all to take action! I received this message from the Justice Center. Remember to add information about yourself and include you are a social worker whenever responding to action alerts from either myself or messages forwarded.

: Bill to Gut State EITC Goes to Committee Next Week
House Bill 93 would eliminate refundability of EITC

The “No New Taxes” crowd in the NC General Assembly has no problem raising taxes on those who can least afford it. They are attacking the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides an important tax break to more than 800,000 low- and moderate-income working families in North Carolina.

House Bill 93 would increase taxes on 12% of non-elderly families in North Carolina. Legislators are considering this tax increase of working families even as they that contemplate lowering taxes on profitable corporations and letting expire the temporary surcharge on high-income earnings.

House Bill 93 would eliminate the refundable nature of the state EITC. Refundability is important because:
• It ensures those most in need—primarily low-wage workers with children—get the most from the credit.
• It offsets some of the sales and property taxes working families pay. The less money a family makes, the greater a share of its income it pays in these other taxes. The EITC makes the tax system fairer.
• It puts $52 million into local economies. Families tend to spend their tax refunds in close to home, creating the economic activity needed to jumpstart the state’s economy and put people back to work.
The House Finance Committee will likely hear House Bill 93 next week. Contact the committee members today!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eliminate EITC Refundability Provision

A message from Action for Children
The state EITC is under attack and we need your help to protect this important policy for North Carolina's working families.

House Bill 93 would eliminate the refundable nature of the state EITC. Refundability is essential to ensuring that the state EITC targets those most in need. It also offsets the greater share of total taxes these families pay as compared to those with higher income. Click here for more information, including county-level data.

Contact members of the House Finance Committee.

Urge them to oppose House Bill 93.
• This bill will hurt low-income working families when they are struggling to get by in this tough economy.
• 12 percent of non-elderly households in North Carolina will experience a tax increase as a result.
• This will remove $52 million from local economies at a time when consumer spending is critical to job creation and economic recovery.

Join advocates for a press conference on EITC next Thursday, March 3 at 10 a.m. on the steps in front of the legislative building (on Jones St).

To take action on this bill click here.