There are few things more important to young children and teenagers than being healthy. Having regular doctor’s visits, nutritious food, dental and vision care, mental health support, access to emergency care, and treatment for long-term illness are resources that kids need to grow up to be happy in life, successful in school, and ready for the workforce.
Unfortunately, too many children are denied these resources, primarily because they don’t have health insurance that covers blood lead testing, eye exams or glasses, trips to the dentist, and mental health therapy. In southeast Pennsylvania, tens of thousands of children don’t have access to the care, even though many of them are eligible for public coverage.
It’s well-documented that children with health insurance are healthier because their parents are able to take them to the doctor before a minor cold, sore tooth, or injury becomes severe, which usually leads to an emergency room visit. Vision problems in kids are often uncorrected because parents can’t afford exams and glasses.
The need for mental and emotional health (aka “behavioral health”) services has skyrocketed since COVID-induced stress and isolation impacted children. In PA, the calls to a mental health hotline doubled in just a year, with dramatic increases in Philadelphia and some of the surrounding counties.
HEALTH POLICY PRIORITIES
- Enrolling children in public coverage and ensuring the health benefits are comprehensive, that applying and re-applying is simple, and that all children qualify, including children who are without immigration documentation.
- Increasing children’s access to behavioral health, and dental and vision care.
- Reducing childhood lead poisoning in the region and across the Commonwealth.
MOST RECENT RESEARCH
- ACTION PLAN: Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning in Delaware County by 2027
- REPORTS: The Case for An Ambitious Rebound: 2022 Regional Reports on COVID’s Impact on Children
- REPORT: Informed and Empowered: Girls With Options
(scroll down for additional research materials)