KCUR: Kansas City Schools Planned To Make A Census Push, But Then The Pandemic Happened
By Elle Moxley
Kansas City area schools are making a final push to get families to fill out the 2020 census.
The census is critically important to schools, but a third of Kansans and Missourians haven’t been counted yet. The U.S. Census Bureau has said it will stop counting a month early, on Sept. 30.
“When we don’t have an accurate census count, we have a harder time meeting the needs of all the children and families in the community,” said J.C. Cowden, a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital involved in census outreach.
“There are many community organizations concerned that we won’t get the funding that we need to help kids and families get education, health, nutrition and many other social supports.”
But the pandemic has stymied efforts to get the most vulnerable families – those most likely to use Medicaid, CHIP and SNAP – to participate in the census.
The pandemic has also hit the families least likely to be counted the hardest. They’re getting sicker from the coronavirus and experiencing more job loss.
It’s worth noting that federal coronavirus relief dollars flowed into communities based on population. Eventually, decisions about where to send help could be made using 2020 data.
“Once the pandemic is over, and kids are going back into schools, many of the programs that help to support families are programs that use census data to determine funding levels,” said Margo Quiriconi, the director of community health initiatives for Children’s Mercy.
Families that don’t respond to the census by the end of September won’t be counted – and schools will miss out on a decade of critical support. That’s almost a child’s entire school career.
Read the full story via KCUR
Learn more about the 2020 Census