Mission: To ensure that America's most disadvantaged children have access to high-quality health care.
About the Organization: Founded in 1987 by singer-songwriter Paul Simon, pediatrician and child advocate Irwin Redlener, and Karen Redlener after they visited a New York City homeless shelter, Children's Health Fund works to expand access to pediatric care, reduce health-related barriers to learning, address the needs of children affected by public health crises, and improve children's health and well-being through advocacy and public education efforts.
Current Programs: Launched with a single mobile medical clinic and the intention to bring high-quality health care directly to children with the least access to it, Children's Health Fund's national network today serves children in poor rural and urban communities through twenty-four pediatric care programs, each affiliated with a teaching hospital or community health center, as well as fifty mobile clinics. The organization's comprehensive medical model seeks to address the healthcare needs of the whole child, including primary and preventive medical and dental care, mental health support, and referral to specialists, while its Pregnancy Group and Well-Baby Group combine basic medical care and peer support in a group setting. In addition, the organization's Terra Firma program, a partnership with Catholic Charities, provides integrated medical, mental health, and social services, as well as enrichment activities, to unaccompanied immigrant children.
Launched in 2014 with the goal of removing health barriers to learning (HBLs) that often affect children living with persistent adversity or chronic stress, the Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative addresses issues such as asthma, dental pain, fatigue, hearing and vision loss, hunger, and behavioral problems in high-poverty schools. The fund's mobile unit also enables it to respond in areas affected by disasters and public health crises and to provide professional support and training for mental health providers in such areas.
The organization's advocacy work supports the expansion of health insurance coverage for low-income children as well as public health programs that provide a critical safety net for millions of medically underserved children. Policy priorities include strengthening the Affordable Care Act, addressing transportation barriers to healthcare access, immigration reform that includes access to health care, and putting child poverty on the national agenda.
Website: Visitors to the Children's Health Fund website can see where the organization's national programs work, learn more about the organization's issues and programs, and/or find out how to get involved.
Funding: Children's Health Fund is supported by individuals, foundations, corporations, and nonprofit partner organizations.