Community Leaders Discuss Ways to Reach Uninsured Children


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

May 27, 2005

 

Community Leaders Discuss Ways to Reach Uninsured Children

Fairfax County school and community leaders met on Thursday, May 26, at the South County Government Center to identify challenges and develop new strategies for reaching uninsured children in the county. One area of focus is on the Route 1 corridor.

Participants identified communicating the availability of resources for uninsured children, especially in the Latino community, as one of the primary challenges. One resource families can take advantage of is the Medical Care for Children Partnerships, which is a public-private effort designed to provide health care to children of low-income working parents in Fairfax County. Since its inception in 1986, the partnership has grown from serving 35 children to providing comprehensive health and dental care for more than 85,000 children countywide. In 2004, nearly 6,000 children were enrolled in the program across the county, a decrease from more than 7,000 in 2002.

“The number of uninsured children who reapply to our program has decreased,” said Sandra Stiner Lowe, executive director of the partnership, “but the number of children who get free or reduced lunches at school is increasing. That means there are children going without insurance. This meeting was designed to get local service agencies together to discuss how we can reach that population.”

Among the organizations partnering to develop a public outreach campaign are Fairfax County’s Public Schools, Office of Partnerships, Department of Family Services and Health Department, along with Northern Virginia Family Services, Partnership for Healthier Kids and the area business community. Representatives are planning public service announcements and other key outreach strategies, especially aimed to the Latino community.

“The Latino community must know about these resources,” said Ricardo Cabellos, project coordinator with the Office of Partnerships and a member of Gov. Mark Warner’s Virginia Latino Advisory Commission. “I’m encouraged we’re devising a good game plan to publicize these programs.”

Another challenge is the recertification process, which requires participants to seek approval every year. In many cases, participants are intimidated by the process or, because many work two jobs, do not have the time to fill out the paperwork. Ideas were discussed how to streamline the process or to assist those who need help with the paperwork.

For more information, contact the Office of Partnerships at 703-324-5171, TTY 703-324-5022.

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