Renate Pore: After we collectively assist the youngsters | Op-Ed Commentaries

There is a story of an African tribe in which the general greeting is, “How are the children?” The tribe assumes that everyone is fine when the children are fine.

When we work together to help children thrive, we are all good for each other.

President Biden has now proposed a far-reaching plan to help American families and American children flourish. Congress should act to approve this plan. West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., plays a particularly important role in this effort. I hope that their own experiences in raising families and navigating nursing roles will lead them to see the wisdom in the American family plan.

Over the past few decades, we have received new technology and studies showing how family support helps children flourish and create a better society for all of us.

In the 1960s, the High / Scope Perry Preschool Study was a science experiment that identified both the short- and long-term effects of a quality preschool education program for poverty-stricken toddlers. Forty years later, the study found that poor children who had gone through the program had fewer teenage pregnancies, were more likely to graduate from high school, were more likely to have a job and higher income, committed fewer crimes, and owned their own homes Automobile. The return on investment was $ 12.90 for every dollar spent on the program.

Imaging that can examine the developing brain has found how nursing affects the growth and pruning of the brain’s neurons. These technologies have shown us that the development of the brain is particularly intense in the first three years of life and suggest that damage caused during these years can be particularly harmful to the child’s path through life. Exposure to stressors such as poverty, lack of security and stability in the home environment, and lack of access to quality early childhood education can negatively affect a child’s development in all areas – physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

West Virginia understood better than many other states the value of maternal and child health care and the quality of preschool education. In 2020 and 2021, the legislature extended the protection of health care for pregnant women to 300% of the federal poverty line and for 12 months after the birth. Continuing health insurance through a child’s first year of life will be of great help to new mothers and their babies.

In 2002, West Virginia law required that preschool education be available in every county by the 2012-2013 school year. Today more than 13,000 children are enrolled. An early study in 2005 found that children in West Virginia had improved their language, math, and conceptual skills in preschool. Federal dollars to further support and improve the state preschool program will surely be of great help.

A third eye-opening research study designed to convince us of the wisdom of the American Families Plan was conducted by Kaiser Permanente. Over 17,000 members of the Southern California Health Maintenance Organization from all socioeconomic classes who received physical exams have conducted confidential surveys about their childhood experiences and current health and behavior.

The study found that members who had more than four negative childhood experiences were at higher risk of smoking, alcoholism and substance abuse, increased risk of depression and suicide attempts, poor self-assessment of health, and problems with physical activity and severe obesity, heart disease were. Lung disease and various types of cancer.

An undesirable childhood experience is defined in this study as one of the following categories of abuse, neglect, or loss before the age of 18: physical abuse by a parent; emotional abuse by a parent; sexual abuse by anyone; Growing up with an alcohol and / or drug addict in the household; experience the imprisonment of a household member; Living with a family member who has a mental illness; domestic violence; Loss of a parent; and emotional and / or physical neglect.

The American Families Plan is the first in many years to provide political and federal funding to address the compelling problems identified through scientific research. I have known both Manchin and Capito as advocates of child health and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, West Virginia children need better health care, and hard-working families raising children need support to help their children thrive.

The American Families Plan gives us this opportunity, and I hope the bitter partisanship in Washington does not stand in the way of a better future for our children.

Here are some of the highlights of what the plan suggests:

n Universal preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds.

n Two free years of Community College for all Americans who want it and an increase in the maximum Pell Grant price of approximately USD 1,400 per year.

n Supports the affordability of childcare.

n A national comprehensive program of paid family and medical leave.

n The expansion of summer diets and other nutrition programs.

US $ 800 billion in tax credits and cuts for American families and workers.

You may be wondering who is going to pay for all of this? I could argue that these programs will pay for themselves in the long run by making us a healthier, smarter, richer nation. Reversing Trump’s tax cut, which went to the richest Americans, would go a long way in paying for the American family plan.

President Biden also urges the richest Americans to give their fair share by:

n Increase the top tax rate for the richest 1% of Americans.

n Closing a number of other tax loopholes that primarily affect hedge fund partners.

n Increase IRS funding so the agency can actually impose penalties on tax evaders.

Invite Manchin and Capito to say “yes” to the children and families in West Virginia and adopt the American family plan.

Renate Pore lives in Charleston.

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