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Funding Cuts Threaten Care for Young Children in Texas: Texas' early childhood intervention system has not kept pace with other states in the share of young children it serves. And with state policy changes and possible federal proposals, the program could find it more difficult to meet the needs of young children with disabilities and delays who need these critical services. State cuts to funding and eligibility of the state's IDEA Part C program, called Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) in Texas, led to a clear decline in the percentage of children served by ECI, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, Info: https://goo.gl/cJ098b New Survey on Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility Released: This 15th annual 50-state survey provides data on Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost sharing policies as of January 2017, and identifies changes in these policies in the past year. As discussion of repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), broader changes to Medicaid, and reauthorization of CHIP unfolds, this report documents the role Medicaid and CHIP play for low-income children and families and the evolution of these programs under the ACA. The findings offer an in-depth profile of eligibility, enrollment, renewal, and cost sharing policies in each state as of January 2017, providing a baseline against which future policy changes may be measured. Info: https://goo.gl/waObzW Quarter of Americans Volunteered in 2015, Survey Finds: Approximately a quarter of all Americans volunteered through an organization in 2015, while nearly two-thirds helped their neighbors in some manner, an annual report from the Corporation for National and Community Service finds. According to the report, Volunteering and Civic Life in America, 62.6 million adults (24.9%) volunteered in 2015, providing nearly 7.8 billion hours of service valued at $184 billion (based on Independent Sector's estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour). In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5%) engaged in an informal volunteering activity such as watching a neighbor's children, helping an elderly person with shopping, or house sitting. Info: https://goo.gl/jq6zeA Homelessness in Minnesota Fell for First Time Since 2006: Following a 32% increase between 2006 and 2012, the number of homeless people in Minnesota fell 9% between 2012 and 2015, a report from Wilder Research finds. According to Homelessness in Minnesota: Findings From the 2015 Minnesota Homeless Study a survey conducted on a single day in October 2015 counted 9,312 homeless adults, youth, and children in the state — 35% of whom were children with parents and 16% of whom were minors and young adults on their own. African Americans (39%) and Native Americans (8%) accounted for a disproportionate share of the homeless population while accounting for just 5% and 1% of the state's adult population. The report also found that while adults age 55 and older are the demographic group least likely to be homeless, the number of homeless in that group statewide increased 8% between 2012 and 2015, and jumped 21% in the Twin Cities metro area. Info: https://goo.gl/MLcz8G Healthcare Spending for the Privately Insured Rose 4.6%: Growth in U.S. healthcare spending for the privately insured accelerated in 2015, due primarily to price increases, a report from the Health Care Cost Institute finds. Based on 2012-15 claims data from four national insurance companies, the report, 2015 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, found that per capita healthcare spending for Americans under the age of 65 with employer-sponsored insurance in 2015 was $5,141, a year-over-year increase of 4.6%, and a jump from the 2.6% increase in 2014 and a 3% increase in 2013. The report also found that prices for outpatient, inpatient, and professional services as well as prescription drugs increased between 3.5% and 9.0% in 2015 and were the largest driver of spending growth over the four-year period, while the price of an emergency room visit rose 10.5%. Info: https://goo.gl/owQ6sN Grantmaking for HIV/AIDS Totaled $663 Million: Philanthropic support for HIV/AIDS initiatives in low- and middle-income countries totaled $663 million in 2015, up 10% from 2014, a report from Funders Concerned About AIDS finds. According to the report, Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2015, funding for HIV/AIDS initiatives in 2015 returned to pre-recession levels — following declines in 2009, 2010, and 2013. Driving the growth in 2015 were significant increases among the top ten funders, including Gilead Sciences (up $50.8 million from 2014, to $124.2 million), ViiV Healthcare (up $13.2 million, to $29.1 million), the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (up $10 million, to $21 million), Johnson & Johnson (up $7.9 million, to $15.9 million), and the M.A.C AIDS Fund (up $4.5 million, to 44.9 million). Those increases were partly offset, however, by decreases in funding from other organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (down $26 million, to $197 million). Info: https://goo.gl/m6vP5D $10 Million Project to Study Basic Income Programs: The Economic Security Project, a coalition of more than a hundred tech entrepreneurs, investors, and activists, has announced a two-year, $10 million project to explore how a universal "basic income" (UBI) could provide economic opportunity for all. ESP signatories who have committed to think seriously about how recurring, unconditional cash stipends could work, how to pay for them, and what the political path might be to make them a reality. The Alaska Group American Center will work to fight  cuts to the yearly dividends Alaskans receive from the state's Permanent Fund and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network will study the feasibility of implementing carbon pricing  at the municipal level to fund a basic income. Info: https://goo.gl/QplbIM Social Contagion Helps Explain Chicago Gun Violence, Study Finds: Gun violence is transmitted by networks of socially connected individuals through a process of "social contagion," a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds. Funded in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation...

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