Saturday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:32 AM and sunset 8:29 PM, for 14h 56m 38s of daytime. The moon is in its first quarter with 50.7% of its visible disk illuminated.
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Students growing up in poverty are already lagging behind their classmates by the time they set foot in kindergarten — and the disparities only worsen over time.
But the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed in March, will test a new proposition: What does it mean for children when their families receive enough cash benefits to lift them out of poverty?
The plan includes a $100 billion expansion of the child tax credit program, which will infuse family budgets with up to $1,600 more per child, and will allow even the lowest-income families to benefit. Under the previous child tax credit, families got up to $2,000 off their tax bills per child, but many poor families got a smaller benefit — or nothing at all.
Now, even the poorest families who do not make enough to pay income taxes will qualify. Families with citizen children will now get $3,000 per child, and $3,600 for children under the age of 6. Crucially, the benefit will be split up and paid out in monthly increments, with the money set to go out to families via checks, debit cards or direct deposits beginning Thursday, the Biden administration announced. For some families, the money could be transformative. The colossal and historic investment is expected to cut child poverty in half, according to an analysis from Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy.
Jonathan Shorman, Jeanne Kuang, Jake Kincaid, and Derek Kravitz report How Missouri’s inaction allowed delta variant to spread:
A joint investigation by The Kansas City Star and Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation reveals how June became a lost month in the fight to slow the spread of delta across Missouri. Thousands of pages of internal emails and other documents from 19 local health departments trace the growing alarm and a sense of near-resignation among officials about their chances of halting the advance of the variant.
The consequences of the squandered month will last well into summer. CoxHealth, a major Springfield hospital, told The Star it’s bracing for hospitalizations to rise for weeks to come. Delta is still spreading and has now been found in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, though state officials hope higher vaccination rates in those places will limit increases in cases. Schools will also begin next month with some parents in open rebellion against imposing mask requirements, even with delta all but certain to continue circulating.
The emails, obtained through records requests by the institute’s Documenting COVID-19 project and shared with The Star, paint a portrait of local health officials eager to vaccinate their communities but encountering resistance from residents, apathy from some politicians and a milquetoast state-level response. They document rising frustration with everyone from DHSS to elected officials to the public. An official in one county even privately mocked a video released by DHSS explaining the delta variant.
“I feel like we’re on an island, all alone in the COVID fight, but I know others in the state are feeling the same way,” Laclede County Health Department Administrator Charla Baker wrote to a DHSS official in late June. “With our community leaders and residents not wanting to take any remedial actions to protect themselves and others, we are just very frustrated and concerned with our current situation.”