A coalition of Iowa advocacy groups is calling on the federal government to help protect children during the current recession. The groups are part of a national effort urging Congress to include funding for social programs, including health care and unemployment insurance, in any economic stimulus package. Charlie Bruner, with the Child and Family Policy Center, says Iowa will need help to protect kids.
"One of the reasons we are calling on the federal government for an economic recovery package is because states can’t deficit spend," Bruner explained. "The need for increased reimbursements for Medicaid, food stamps and child care at the federal level is to allow states to sustain those levels to deal with rising demand."
Elizabeth Mohr of Grinnell was invited by the advocacy groups to speak on a press conference Monday at the statehouse. She recently fled an abusive marriage and has struggled to provide medical care for her son. However, Mohr says government programs have helped her pay bills and pursue a degree in Computer Science from a community college.
"I do know there is a great need out there. And I know I couldn’t have managed to do what I’m doing now without help," Mohr said. "I looked for a job for two months, and if I didn’t take action when I did, I would be in poverty right now." Bruner says the governor and state legislature can help by avoiding cuts to programs that affect children while resolving the current budget shortfall. He says possible state cuts to programs including Medicaid and education grants will hurt the neediest in the state.