FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Communications & Outreach, Press
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Aug. 31, 2016
U.S. Department of Education, Press Office (202) 401-1576 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As students begin the new school year, the U.S. Department of
Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are calling on
states and districts to help enroll students in healthcare coverage during
school registration processes and ensure students have access to the health
coverage they need.
Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. and
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and District of
Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson joined the Children’s Defense
Fund (CDF), AASA, The School Superintendents Association and other officials at
Cardozo Education Campus for a roundtable discussion highlighting best
practices for getting more students enrolled in health care. CDF and AASA have
developed the Insure All
Children toolkit, informed by extensive work with districts in
California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, on how schools and
districts can enroll students in healthcare coverage through routine school
“As a nation, there is more we can do to help children access
the care they need to stay healthy and to be ready to learn,” said King.
“Enrolling or linking students to coverage through school registration
processes is just one of many ways that education and health stakeholders and
agencies can partner to ensure all students as healthy and ready to
“Children do better in the classroom when they are healthy and
ready for learning,” said Burwell. “As we gear up for Open Enrollment’s start
on Nov. 1, we want to make sure more kids have access to quality care that will
keep them healthy, active, and prepared to learn through the year.”
Research shows that children
who have access to health coverage are more likely to graduate from high school
and college than uninsured children. In addition, when eligible parents get enrolled
in Medicaid, their eligible children are more likely to get enrolled and
receive necessary and preventive care.
“We urgently need to change the odds to help our most vulnerable
children succeed in our global economy,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president
of the Children’s Defense Fund. “Giving every child a healthy start
should be the goal of every school district, school and parent. We know healthy
children do better in school. This is something schools can do to help close
achievement gaps right now.”
“As a key ambassador in every community, support from the
superintendent is critical to fully implement and sustain policies and
practices within a school district,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive
director, AASA. “With more than half of America’s public school students living
in low-income households, it is more important than ever for school districts
around the country to join us in this initiative which touches the lives of our
children and their families. And it is imperative that health and other
community agencies and advocates partner with and support schools in this
enrollment effort. Health insurance improves health access and outcomes, which
in turn, improves educational outcomes."
In the nation’s capital, the site of today’s roundtable, the
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has implemented a strategy as part
of school registration that directs families and students toward health care
enrollment and services. Through efforts like this and other practices, DC now
has a 97 percent coverage rate for children. DC has also built a model
partnership between education and health agencies that allows for data sharing,
fostering better tracking of students who do not receive coverage and directing
services to students and schools in highest need.
While the nation has made significant progress expanding health
insurance for more children, nearly 4.5 million children under age 18—about one
in 17—remain uninsured. School-aged children (ages 6-17) are more likely than
younger children to be uninsured, and account for nearly three out of four
uninsured children in the nation. About
2.8 million uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid or the Children's
Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but are not yet enrolled. The children who
remain uninsured are often the hardest to reach because of various enrollment
and retention barriers, including immigration status and homelessness. Schools
and districts have an opportunity to help close these gaps.
Today’s announcement builds on efforts that began in January
2016 where, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services launched
their first toolkit entitled “Healthy
Students, Promising Futures.” The toolkit highlighted state and local
practices that can improve and expand school-based health services. Outlining
concrete resources to support communities and schools in providing or
connecting students to adequate health care will yield countless tangible
benefits for society.
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About The Children’s Defense Fund
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.
About AASA, The School Superintendents Association
AASA, the School Superintendents Association, represents, works
alongside, supports, and is the voice of superintendents and education leaders
across the United States. Thirteen thousand strong and 151 years old, we remain
committed to excellence and equity for each and every child in public schools.
Leveraging our 49 state affiliates and national partners, we focus on
developing school system leaders who can meet the challenges facing 21st
century students and beyond.