Children’s Defense Fund-California Joins with Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center to Connect Lynwood and Compton Children with Health Coverage

For Immediate Release
May 20, 2015
For More Information Contact:
Hanif Houston, (510) 684–0322; Lorena Sanchez, (213) 201–0830

Los Angeles, CA - The Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is proud to welcome a new partner, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, to support the non-profit organization’s successful efforts to enroll uninsured children in health coverage. Together with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), CDF-CA has spearheaded a systematic approach to supporting schools in Compton, Lynwood, Pico Rivera, and El Monte in developing strategies that connect uninsured children with health coverage.

“CDF-CA works tirelessly with schools and communities to ensure that every child has access to free and affordable health coverage. We are excited that the Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center is partnering with us. There are too many children and families in Compton and Lynwood that are not able to visit a doctor or a dentist when they need one, which interferes with their ability to do well in school and perpetuates the health disparities plaguing these communities,” said Alex Johnson, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California.

As a result of the Children’s Defense Fund-California’s school-based health outreach and enrollment project, a vision-impaired student was identified and connected with Vision to Learn, a local organization that provides free eye exams and eye glasses to children in low-income communities. The child was immediately referred to the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center, a local primary health provider that also partners with the district and provides enrollment services to students. “This student was struggling in class because of an eyesight impediment that served as a barrier to his academic success,” said Christine Arostigue-Manson, Student Services Coordinator at Lynwood Unified.

CDF-CA empowers school district administrators in Compton, Lynwood, El Monte and Pico Rivera to strategically identify uninsured students. One way that this has been accomplished is by modifying student enrollment and emergency forms to include a question about a students’ current health coverage status. Those children who indicate they lack health insurance will be immediately connected to a local community health worker who will assist the family and child in obtaining health coverage.

“By implementing the Children’s Defense Fund’s model in our enrollment and emergency forms, we have identified more than 1,500 students who don’t have access to health insurance. This has prompted us to ensure key community partnerships are in place to help our families obtain health coverage. Just this school year, we helped an estimated 500 families enroll in health coverage and we will continue to work hard to help as many of our families as possible,” said Superintendent Paul Gothold, Lynwood Unified School District. 

CDF-CA received a grant from Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center to support CDF-CA’s efforts to build the capacity of Compton and Lynwood Unified School Districts to ensure that all children get access to health care. “Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center is proud to help local schools in the Compton and Lynwood communities connect uninsured children with health coverage,” said Sheri Bathurst, Community Benefit Manager at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

CDF-CA will work collaboratively with local health care providers, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and school districts to bring additional trainings and resources to the Compton and Lynwood Unified School Districts. “The children and families of the Compton Unified School District are our greatest asset. The district prides itself in ensuring families in the Compton community have access to free and affordable health coverage. The Children’s Defense Fund-California has worked diligently with staff to identify uninsured families, and together, we are employing sustainable practices and procedures to bolster our existing efforts,” stated Superintendent Darin Brawley of Compton Unified School District.

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Children’s Defense Fund-California is the California office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for over 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. www.cdfca.org