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The honor and burden of translating for your family

Across the U.S., thousands of children and young adults serve as informal interpreters for family members that don’t speak English. For kids of Latino immigrants in Kansas City, being the family interpreter is an honor and burden. Plus: Gov. Laura Kelly is again calling for lawmakers to expand Medicaid to provide health care to about 150,000 low-income Kansans.

The children of non-English speaking immigrants are often used by their family members as informal interpreters, known as language brokers. While many gladly help their family, the task often carries many pressures. And as KCUR's Zach Perez reports, some experts worry that burden can have long-term effects.

Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is again urging the Kansas Legislature to expand Medicaid, and she’s hoping the 2024 election will add pressure to get it done. But Republican leaders have their own ideas for the session, like cutting taxes and expanding school choice options. So why is Kelly pushing a plan that will likely fail? Dylan Lysen with the Kansas News Service explains.

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Kansas City Today is hosted by Peggy Lowe. It is produced by Anna Schmidt and KCUR Studios, and edited by Lisa Rodriguez and Gabe Rosenberg.

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I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
Anna Schmidt is the fall 2023 intern for KCUR Studios. She recently graduated from Kansas State University, where she was the Opinions Desk Editor for the Collegian student newspaper and took over the role of podcast host. You can email her at anna.schmidt@kcur.org.
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