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September 1, 2016
On Aug. 31, U.S. Secretary of Education John King and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell joined with CDF President Marian Wright Edelman to announce the launch of the toolkit highlighting best practices for getting more students enrolled in health care. The toolkit, developed by Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and School Superintendents Association (AASA), is called Happy, Healthy and Ready to Learn: Insure All Children and was highlighted in this year’s “Healthy Students, Promising Futures,” report from the U.S. Department of Education as a high impact opportunity that schools can take to improve student health.
Since 2011, Children’s Defense Fund, in collaboration with (AASA), has implemented child health insurance initiatives with 15 school districts in several states. The Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) has partnered with four in Los Angeles County: Compton Unified, El Rancho Unified, Lynwood Unified, and the Mountain View School District. These initiatives stem from a shared belief that healthy students are better able to succeed in the classroom, and that schools have an important role to play with community partners to connect uninsured students to health coverage.
With this new toolkit, helping children and their families get connected with health insurance can become routine policy and procedure for schools. It is specifically tailored for school districts and features case studies, customizable templates, an assessment tool and other approaches and best practices that will help schools get started or boost their existing health outreach and enrollment efforts.
Under a 2014 state law (AB 2706), all public schools in California are required to provide families with information on health coverage options through the school year 2017–18. But schools can and should go further to ensure that families get assistance with applying for health coverage. This toolkit provides a template that will help them do it using lessons learned and strategies to overcome challenges.