Donielle Rooks, CCHI Program Coordinator
The idea that schools are a link to successful children and families is not new. Growing up, my parents received all types of information from my school about academics, fundraisers, before and after school programs and community organizations that helped provide basic services. Most families understood that if you had a question on just about anything you can receive an answer or at the very least a referral. Now that I am parent of three school age children I know that while technology and information may have changed the importance of schools as a communication link has not.
The emergence of the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of Medi-Cal and all the new health coverage options has once again put schools in position to connect children and families with needed information. Recently CCHI, with the help of our local member organizations and the ALL IN campaign (a project of The Children’s Partnership) has participated in and hosted events to educate families on health coverage. All the events provided the opportunity for families to receive information on the Affordable Care Act, Covered California and Medi-Cal, ask questions, set appointment to speak with an enrollment counselor and enroll.
The most rewarding part about the experience was not about convincing the schools that health coverage is important, but how accommodating schools have been in opening their doors and providing space for families to learn and engage. During a St. Hope Elementary School event in Sacramento, I had a student helper who assisted in staffing our table. With a brilliant smile and kind voice he asked passersby, “Do you need information about health insurance?”
At Beamer Elementary, a bi-lingual school there were informational sessions offered in both Spanish and English to meet a wider audience. Schools don’t have to be the experts, our member organizations are here for that, but schools can continue to be a strong bridge, bringing information to families which helps create a culture of coverage and health for students who are ready to learn and succeed. These two schools are great examples of this commitment to be “All In for Families” and I look forward to continuing to make the connection between education and health stronger than ever.