Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), and members of the Campaign to Lift the Cap on Kids recently held Caps and Mittens Day at the State House as part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness about the need to Lift the Cap on Kids in Massachusetts. Senator DiDomenico and Representative Decker are the respective Senate and House sponsors of legislation to ‘Lift the Cap on Kids.’
The Cap on Kids – also called the “family cap” — denies benefits to children conceived while – or soon after – the family began receiving benefits. As a result of the Cap on Kids, Massachusetts does not provide benefits for 8,900 children living in deep poverty. Their parents struggle to provide even the most basic essentials for their children, including keeping their babies safe and healthy. With winter approaching, the need for winter coats, hats, and gloves is an additional cost that is often out of reach for low-income families.
“The Cap on Kids is hurting families, and it’s time we put an end to this ineffective policy,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means. “We should be doing everything we can to help families provide their children with the things they need. Low-income families face difficult decisions every day. Making sure they have winter hats and mittens to keep them warm should not be one of them.”
“We have the opportunity to reverse a policy that excludes children from state assistance they need and qualify for, with the exception of children who happen to be born after their parents received badly needed support from the state,” said Representative Marjorie Decker. “Parents don’t choose which child to feed, keep warm with hats or mittens, or diaper. This law is hurting families that meet all of our standards of being desperately in need. If we understand their reality then we will move forward to reversing this harmful law. I have confidence that we are have a lot of growing support from all over the Commonwealth and in the Legislature.”
The Campaign to Lift the Cap on Kids has been collecting winter hats and mittens for the event to demonstrate this harsh policy’s impact on low income children and families. All of the donated hats and mittens will go to Cradles to Crayons and the Home for Little Wanderers, who will distribute them to families in need.
“We are grateful for the continued leadership of Representative Decker and Senator DiDomenico as we work to Lift the Cap on Kids in Massachusetts. It’s time we stop hurting families and give them the resources they need to thrive,” said Deborah Harris of Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, a lead member organization of the Campaign to Lift the Cap on Kids.
“Lifting the Cap on Kids would make a huge difference in the lives of so many families,” said Naomi Meyer, Greater Boston Legal Services, on behalf of the Campaign to Lift the Cap on Kids. “Every day, we see families struggling to provide basic essentials for their children, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
“The cap on kids hurts the most vulnerable members of our commonwealth, young kids born to extremely low income parents. It’s an antiquated policy that has no place in Massachusetts today, when so many families across our state are struggling simply to meet their most basic needs,” said Rebekah Gewirtz, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers – MA Chapter. “We should focus our efforts on fighting poverty, not the poor.”
Massachusetts is one of only 17 states – including Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina – that still has a Cap on Kids. An Act to lift the cap on kids was recently given a favorable report by the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities and is currently pending before the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.