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August 13, 2021

 

 
 
Federal Reserve  
 

According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, child poverty in the United States is pervasive, affecting nearly 1 in 7 children. Living in poverty is defined as having a family income below a certain threshold—adjusted for the number of adults and children in a household—and has been shown to have long-run impacts on health, education and the income children have as adults. Changes to the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) implemented in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 are meant to reduce childhood poverty and income instability. The CTC, introduced in 1998, previously offered up to $2,000 per dependent younger than 16 and was refundable up to $1,400. The American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law in March, expanded the CTC for 2021 up to $3,000 per child between ages 6 and 17 and $3,600 per child younger than 6, with the entire credit being refundable. If a refundable tax credit exceeds the amount of a family’s tax liability, the difference between the two up to the limit is given as a refund. In other words, a family with no federal income is still eligible to receive the entire tax credit. This year, all eligible families will automatically receive the full credit if they earn up to $150,000 per married couple or $112,500 for households headed by a single parent. However, instead of a single lump-sum payment, half will be delivered in installments over the second half of the year, with the rest being claimed on tax returns. This change to the CTC is estimated to decrease by 40% the share of children living below the poverty threshold. The increased benefits, as well as the new distribution plan, could help families increase and smooth their income over the year.

 

 
 
  Xerces Society
 

The Xerces Society has published a factsheet to promote more firefly-friendly lighting. According to the Xerces Society, artificial light at night, or ALAN for short, may be one of the main drivers of firefly declines. At least 80% of the firefly species found in the United States and Canada communicate with each other using bioluminescent light signals in the form of flashes, flickers, or glows. These species are active at dusk or after dark, and artificial lights that are on at this time can make it harder for them to see each other. It may also make fireflies more vulnerable to predators that would otherwise be repelled by their light. The resulting decreases in reproduction and survival could have severe consequences for firefly populations. The factsheet recommends dimming outdoor lighting, using lights only when necessary, and making sure lights point downwards. For more information, check the factsheet.

 

 
 
School Roadmap  
 

The Biden Administration has developed a Return to School Roadmap to support educators and school leaders, parents, families, and communities and lead students on a path to return to in-person learning this fall, where they are safe and supported. The Roadmap contains three “Landmark” priorities for each school, district, and state as they work to reengage students this summer and bring them back into classrooms. These priorities can be advanced using funding from the American Rescue Plan – which provided historic investments to states and districts as they work to reopen schools safely and address the impacts of COVID-19 on our nation’s students and schools. The goal of the Roadmap is to make sure every student has the support and opportunities they need to heal, learn, and grow in their classrooms and create an environment where they belong and can thrive.

 

 
 
  LGE Webinar Series
 

Illinois Extension’s Local Government Education program is winding down its Developing Broadband Leadership webinar series that took place during the entire summer in partnership with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Illinois Office of Broadband, and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society. The first five session recordings are The Community Role in Post-Pandemic Broadband Deployment, Broadband 101, DCEO's Broadband Map Discussion, Broadband Funding and Broadband Partnerships, and Moving a Broadband Project Forward. Finally, on August 17 at 11:30 AM, Broadband Adoption and Affordability: Ensuring Broadband for Everyone will discuss digital equity and how meaningful broadband access and skills are critical for those least connected. This final session will cover strategies on how to make broadband more affordable, how to equip everyone to make effective use of online tools, and policies and programs that can make a difference. Register here to attend online and receive a final summary of the entire series.

 

 
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

August 10 - Geothermal Illinois: Campus Geothermal Capital Improvement Features and Research Projects

August 12 - Geothermal Illinois: Community Case Examples

August 17 - Broadband Adoption and Affordability: Ensuring Broadband for Everyone

August 31 – Elevate Illinois: What Makes Our State Great

September 2 – Hancock County Addiction Coalition: Who We Are and What We Do

September 7 – Corn Belt Ports Initiative

September 30 – Making Inroads into the Substance Use Disorder Crisis: Mobilizing New Approaches to Rural SUD Services

 
 
 
 
 

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