We had several comments on my story this week about the disturbing disparity in infant mortality rates between African-Americans and whites in Michigan. A number of the comments took issue with the the claim that racism could be "a major cause" of the disparity. 

Paul Tough writes in this weekend's New York Times Magazine that President Obama hasn't exactly followed through on candidate Obama's plans for comprehensive, long-term programs to lift children out of poverty. Instead, Tough writes, Obama's administration has worked on poverty in "relatively small and uncoordinated ways."


Things have officially gotten ugly on the campaign trail. 

By now, you've heard the back and forth claims from the Romney and Obama camps. 

What's easy to forget is that all of this incendiary rhetoric came out of the usually-boring world of tax policy. The claim from the Obama camp is that Mitt Romney's tax plan would help rich people and businesses, while shifting more of a burden on low- and middle-income taxpayers. 

As I've written before, the claim has some merit. But it is far from the end of the story. 

Turns out, there is a conservative tax plan that would lower the burden on businesses and low-income families at the same time. It's just not getting any attention right now. 

I don’t know you. I don’t know what your life is like. But if there is an average you, that is, an average NPR listener, I can guess that odds are, you are not poor.

At least, that’s what our audience research tells us. You’re educated; you’re well off.

It may not be true for you.

But if it is true, let’s assume two things: One, you already know life is hard for people in poverty. But, two, you still have no idea what it’s like to live with poverty day after day.

Is foster care in Michigan getting better?

Jul 3, 2012

Michigan’s foster care system is huge, the sixth biggest in the country. So many kids in the system were being abused, neglected or just forgotten about under the state’s care that a group called Children’s Rights sued the state to force it to change in 2006. Two years ago, the state entered into a court settlement and is now being monitored as it makes changes to its child welfare system.

Toni Williams grew up in foster care. She spent almost her whole life in the system, from the time she was a baby until a year ago when the state says she became too old for the system. Williams was 20. Under recent legislation some young people in Michigan can now receive transitional services until 21.

Williams just graduated from high school and is going to community college in the fall where she’s going to study to be a childcare provider and maybe work with the foster system.

“The reason why is because I know what it feels like, you know, to not have your family," says Williams. "You know what I’m saying? So it’s actually a good feeling to know that there’s someone out here who is willing to take a place for being a mother, or a father.”

Williams knows somebody needs to step up and be there for kids who need love, and guidance. The state for too long, was not stepping up.