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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Bill would fund National Parent & Youth Helpline

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Monday, March 25, 2024   

The new National Parent & Youth Helpline has already taken 6,700 calls, texts and live chats since its inception in January, and now the U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill called House Resolution 7812 to fund it permanently.

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., introduced the bill last Friday.

Lisa Pion-Berlin, president and CEO of Parents Anonymous, which runs the helpline, noted how the service has been helping.

"We have calls about gun violence. We have calls about suicide. We have calls about stress," Pion-Berlin outlined. "We have calls about kids' learning challenges. We have kids who feel lonely and depressed. We know youth suicide is up 20%."

The nation's more than 174 million parents and youths up to age 25 can call or text the helpline at 855-427-2736 to reach a trained counselor for help with emotional issues. People can also join the live chat on the website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Pion-Berlin emphasized the goal is to offer online, weekly, evidence-based emotional support groups to those in need around the country.

"They build what we call protective factors," Pion-Berlin explained. "That's resilience, social support, that's helping people deal with their underlying emotional issues, addresses substance abuse, domestic violence, and helps children flourish."

The bill would allocate $20 million a year to the program. So far it has attracted endorsements from the nonprofits Parents Anonymous, Zero to Three, and the Child Welfare League of America.

Disclosure: Parents Anonymous contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Family/Father Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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