When Brighter Beginnings got into the tax preparation business five years ago, many people asked: What does preparing tax returns have to do with health? We knew EITC (Earned Income Tax Credits), the tax credits low-income families qualify for based on earned income and number of dependent children, was the largest anti-poverty program in the country, but the direct link to health outcomes was still yet to hold up under the scrutiny of academic review. In a recent Policy Brief published this month by the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research, researchers have established there is a clear impact of EITC on newborn health. For the first time we are able to measure the dollar for dollar impact of EITC on health outcomes, and the research confirms: Income Matters to increasing the health outcomes of low-income families
Key Findings from UC Davis Center for Poverty Research
- Rates of low birth weight decrease with increased EITC income
- Across all demographics, $1,000 of EITC income reduced instances of low birth weight by 7%
- Among second pregnancy for African Americans EITC reduced the likelihood of low birth weight for all births by five percent, and for the third and subsequent births by 10%
Tax preparation is one aspect of how Brighter Beginnings works with families to achieve self-sufficiency through improving Family Financial Fitness. Every day financial coaches meet with clients to discuss managing finances, and Brighter Beginnings Family Advocates teach budgeting basics and financial goal setting to teen parents.
- 519 tax returns prepared
- 24% of tax clients qualified for EITC
- $359,934 in EITC was claimed by Brighter Beginnings Families
- Among EITC eligible families the average dollar amount claimed was $2,000
Do you remember your first Father’s Day? At Brighter Beginnings, we believe that every kid should get a chance to create memories with their dad or male role model on a special day. But since so many fathers and children are disconnected, not all kids get this valuable, formative opportunity to bond with their dads.
But lots of families would jump at this experience if only given the right venue. Because of the strength of our Fatherhood team and local community connections, this is precisely the kind of experience Brighter Beginnings can create. And that’s exactly what we did on Tuesday, June 18th at the Josie de la Cruz Park in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood.
The purpose of this free program was to provide outdoor space, safety, and facilitation for young dads and their kids to explore and engage with each other. Along with a special station for children to create Father’s Day cards, Brighter Beginnings staff set up jump ropes, soccer challenges, face painting, hula hoop, and Frisbee.
We had over 30 families participate that day, including 16 fathers and “father figures.” Some fathers commented on the age range of fellow dads, one father shared that he never had attended a community event acknowledging just fathers before – and others simply played catch with their kids. Many fathers attended on their own, without their child’s mother.
More than a few were simply amazed that we were doing an event just to celebrate fathers in our community. In fact, a few young men playing basketball on a nearby court came over to check things out, and wound up engaging with our staff about their own goals for fatherhood!
Join us to make the 2013 Holiday Season happy, healthy, and productive for Friends and Neighbors throughout the East Bay.
The Adopt-a-Family Tradition
At Brighter Beginnings, we work with families in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties who need help. Often, those needs are felt most acutely during the Holiday Season, when society celebrates gift-giving, and kids aren’t shy about asking for presents. For parents who lack the means to provide gifts to their children, this can be a very difficult time.
Our Adopt-a-Family program pairs donors with real Brighter Beginnings client families. Brighter Beginnings staff work closely with families to ascertain pressing, material needs, then list those needs and families on our Adopt-a-Family site.
Requests for basic needs and gifts that enable education, work, and wellness are prioritized. So you can expect to see needs for things like pots and pans, backpacks, interview clothes, educational toys, and books.
Once a donor – or a group of donors – signs up to “adopt” a family, they are responsible for locating gifts, wrapping them, and dropping them off at one of our Brighter Beginnings sites.
We hope you can participate! Learn more about the program here.