June 16, 2015
School is almost out for most children – and the summer season offers new opportunities to connect them to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Partner with summer community programs that reach eligible children and parents to keep Medicaid and CHIP outreach and enrollment efforts going strong.
Spotlight on Summer Food Service Programs
Many children who are eligible for free and reduced price school meals are also eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. When school is out of session, many communities offer healthy meals and snacks to these same children each day, creating an opportunity to talk to parents about free or low-cost health insurance. Summer food service programs are sponsored by school districts, non-profits groups and local governments so that children can have access to healthy meals in safe and supervised environments like parks, churches or summer camps. Find summer food service programs in your community through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website. Check out other organizations fighting child hunger such as the Food Research and Action Center and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. Offer Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign outreach materials and direct assistance with applications at summer meal sites.
Partner with Safe Kids
Summer is also an important time to talk about child safety – at the pool, while traveling, and during summer sports and other activities. The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign's new national partner, Safe Kids Worldwide, works to limit preventable injuries year-round through its network of community coalitions and safety programming. Many local coalitions have developed and host programming for parents and educators focused on preventing summer accidents and injuries. Look for programs in your community at safekids.org/coalitions. Offer to participate in summer safety forums to share information with families about Medicaid and CHIP and help them get enrolled.
The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign's recent webinar on "Making Medicaid and CHIP Part of a Safe & Healthy Summer" featured examples of partnerships with summer food service programs and Safe Kids coalitions. Sonia White, of the Community Council of Greater Dallas, a Connecting Kids to Coverage grantee, spoke about her organization's successful partnership with the Dallas County Summer Food Service Program, which serves meals at over 1,300 sites and distributed almost 7.5 million meals last summer. Bevin Maynard of St. Joseph's Children's Advocacy Center in Tampa, Florida, explained how she incorporated Medicaid and CHIP outreach into the existing Safe Kids community programming by distributing informational materials at events.
3 Ways to Stay Connected With the National Campaign
- Share our materials widely. We have more than 50 National Campaign resources available, including translated print materials, to use in outreach and enrollment efforts.
- Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Don't forget to re-tweet or share our messages with your network or use our #Enroll365 hashtag in your posts.
- Contact us to get more involved with the National Campaign at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov or 1-855-313-KIDS (5437).
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