HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Health

‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability

Education

‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability

Welfare

‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

Fewer than 40 percent of Kansas students are on track to be academically prepared for college, community college or technical school as measured by their scores on the state’s standardized math and English tests.

Scores on English language arts tests went down for the second year in a row. About 38 percent of students scored proficient in that subject in spring 2017.

With high numbers of children in the foster care system and not enough homes to care for them, one Kansas contractor is turning to a short-term housing option.  

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We tend to think of antibiotics as a method humans use to fight diseases. But, as The Guardian reports, 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals, not in humans.

Phyllis Gilmore, the secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, is coming under increasing fire because of problems in the state foster care system.

Former legislator and current Republican candidate for governor Mark Hutton is calling on Gov. Sam Brownback to fire Gilmore. He says revelations about missing foster children are the latest in a “near endless stream of failures.”

In a recent interview, he also expressed frustration about reports of children having to spend the night in the offices of the state’s foster care contractors.

Public Domain

High Plains health providers are closely eyeing the action in the nation’s capital to see if Congress will find a way to renew programs that fund community health centers and children’s health insurance.

The Senate is in recess this week, and the House of Representatives is out next week, so the timeline for finding funding for the CHIP program is running out. If Congress doesn’t act, Federal funding will drop by 70 percent.

The news that about 70 children are missing from the Kansas foster care system is the latest in a string of concerns for lawmakers and child welfare advocates.

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Three big-name philanthropists from the Texas Panhandle have ensured that six high school students from Miami and Canadian will be able to pay for college, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

The funding comes from the Pickens-Abraham Foundation, which is a partnership between energy magnate T. Boone Pickens and Salem and Ruth Ann Abraham of Canadian. In addition to the tuition funds for the six high school students, the foundation also provides funding for the Canadian and Miami independent school districts.

Seventy-four children are missing from Kansas’ privatized foster care system.

opensource / Flickr Creative Commons

Amarillo College has broken ground on a new $2 million greenhouse, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

The new greenhouse is part of AC’s pan to expand its academic programs to better serve under-represented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—better known as the STEM fields.

When Sarah Scantling went into labor this summer, she had to drive 30 miles and across state lines.

Three years earlier, the only maternity ward where she lives in Pemiscot County, Missouri closed down. Scantling had to choose between a handful of other hospitals in the region between 20 and 70 miles away. She chose to give birth in the hospital in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

  

You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds: do you know what to do?

As FIRE PREVENTION WEEK kicks off, be sure that you have an escape plan for residential fires – including knowing TWO WAYS OUT.

Here are some tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:

Last week the state lost again at the Kansas Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled that Kansas is underfunding its public schools, with repercussions for academically struggling children across the state — and especially for students and taxpayers who live in resource-poor school districts. 

Alancanonj2006 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time ever in Texas, charter schools will begin receiving state funding for leasing and maintain their properties and facilities, reports The Texas Tribune.

Triffis / Wikimedia Commons

In recent years, trampoline parks have become a big favorite of kids. In fact, according to KHOU, trampoline parks have grown into a $300 million industry.

But in Texas, trampoline parks remain unregulated, and that could mean danger for your kids. Texas trampoline parks face no state-enacted safety requirements, no state inspections. And there are no penalties for setting up cheap or dangerous equipment.

A U.S. Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Federal funds were only approved through the end of September, putting 37,000 Kansas kids at risk of losing coverage if the program isn’t renewed.

Pixabay / Creative Commons

The United States Congress has failed to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program, better known as the CHIP program.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the failure to reauthorize the program means that 390,000 Texas children and pregnant women will now lose their health coverage unless action is taken to fix the issue. Nationwide, nine million children and pregnant women rely on the CHIP program to access affordable healthcare.

Augustas Didžgalvis / Wikimedia Commons

In the past, many Texans neglected to buy a gun because the licensing fee was too hefty. It appears that will no longer be the case, as the Texas Tribune reports. On Sept. 1., a new law went into effect, lowering the cost to get a handgun license in Texas by $100.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 with additional information.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Monday struck down the state’s aid to schools as unconstitutionally low — and unfair to poor school districts in particular. The decision could pressure lawmakers to increase school funding by hundreds of millions dollars.

Matthias Zomer / Creative Commons

Oklahoma lawmakers are blaming President Donald Trump’s White House for rising healthcare premiums in the Sooner State.

As The Hill reports, officials are charging the administration with missing a deadline to approve a key waiver for the state under the Affordable Care Act.

Creative Commons

In Texas, when community college students are required to take remedial classes to get up to speed, those students often don’t make it far.

Now, as The Texas Tribune reports, the state is initiating a major overhaul of the community college remedial education system. The hope is that the new system will improve the odds of graduating for students who struggle in the beginning. The current statistics are dire. Only 15 percent of students who take a remedial math course end up passing a single college-level math class. 

PBS.ORG

In a few days, edible marijuana will no longer come in shapes that might appeal to kids - like humans, animals, fruits or cartoons.

As The Cannabist reports, starting Oct. 1, edible marijuana will come only in shapes like squares, circles, triangles or diamonds as part of new rules aimed at ensuring public health and safety, including keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, minors and illegal operations.

amboo who? / Flickr Creative Commons

A new federal education law will give Oklahoma more freedom and responsibility when it comes to fixing its failing schools, reports StateImpact.

Kansas education officials did little to promote a public comment period for a school accountability plan designed to steer the state through 2030 and guide nearly $2 billion in federal spending.

While some states that publicized town halls and launched online surveys for their plans collected comments by the thousands, Kansas officials didn’t use such tools nor issue news releases or social media posts about the state’s public comment period.

A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $178,000 to help fight the opioid crisis.

The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.

Board Executive Secretary Alexandra Blasi says doctors, dentists and pharmacists who participate in the program report their prescription activity to the state to verify a patient’s history.

Disasters can happen at any time, so emergency responders say the best way to survive is to plan ahead.

The reminder comes as part of September’s National Preparedness Month.

For the past 16 years, emergency management officials have conducted a public campaign to get people ready to face a disaster.

They recommend placing non-perishable food, water and supplies into a container to be used when needed.

Cody Charvat with Sedgwick County Emergency Management says it’s important to plan for the possibility of losing electricity for up to 72 hours.

Millions of victims of a data hack that targeted a Kansas state agency in possession of Social Security numbers were not informed of the breach directly, according to information obtained through an open records request.

The Kansas Department of Commerce says it only had valid email addresses for about 2.5 million of the more than 6 million job seeker accounts that were exposed. It sent notices to those addresses and further spread word of the hack through news releases and other public messages.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

A new Texas law gives financial institutions greater authority to stop transactions that they suspect are aimed at defrauding elderly or disabled clients.

Prompted by a man she had never met, an elderly woman in Dallas County recently decided to sell her home and wire the $200,000 windfall to a mysterious bank account, a victims advocate recalled. 

The man, who claimed to be communicating from Nigeria, promised to marry her. It was all a scam. Today, the woman is homeless.

Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Education Department has released a new plan to address the ongoing woes of the state’s education system, reports Oklahoma Watch.

The goals of the plan include reducing the state’s recent reliance on emergency certified teachers and raising the state’s high school graduation rate to 90 percent. The plan will also try to ease hunger in schools, and force underfunded public schools that have gone to a four-day school week to fix their calendars.

The American Humanist Association on Wednesday sued Kansas prison officials, alleging the Topeka Correctional Facility promotes Christianity in violation of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, claims the prison displays prayers and messages on prison bulletin boards, has erected an eight-foot cross in one of its multi-purpose rooms and often broadcasts movies with Christian themes on inmates’ televisions.

USDA / Wikimedia Commons

A new law will allow Texas school districts to store and distribute leftover food from the cafeteria.

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