Step Up for Kids
Since 2008, the Equality State Policy Center has partnered with the Wyoming Children’s Action Alliance and children’s advocates across the state to stage Step Up for Kids events to raise awareness of the challenges confronting many Wyoming children.
In Wyoming, thousands of children are not secure. In 2009, more than 17,000 Wyoming children lived in poverty, nearly 13% of all children in the state. More than 30,000 Wyoming children qualify for free lunch or a reduced price lunch at school.
Other statistical measures find associated challenges. Wyoming state government has developed policies and programs that attempt to address these problems. One of the most valuable services is the provision of health insurance through Medicaid and KidCare CHIP. In 2010, nearly 53,000 children had health care coverage because of these two programs.
More remains to be done. In recent years, the state has had the highest or one of the highest juvenile incarceration rates in the nation. The system needs to be reformed. Further, the state should invest in more early education opportunities and the state Department of Education needs to improve coordination with these providers to make sure young children are prepared for kindergarten.
In Casper, the ESPC has joined with many organizations to stage Casper Step Up for Kids Day each year since 2008. Our partners have included Head Start, the Child Development Center, Serve Wyoming, Apple Tree Learning Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Central Wyoming, the Casper College Early Childhood Learning Center, the Casper Family YMCA, Children & Nutrition Services, the Salvation Army, the Social Work Division at UW/CC, and individual volunteers.
View Oct. 5, 2011 news release here.