Children and Families
Philadelphia Health Partnership strives to provide every child with a healthy start. In doing so, we support multi-generational strategies that build on family strengths to promote optimal health and development, with a current focus on children, ages zero to five, and their parents and caregivers.
In Philadelphia County, public insurance programs play a critical role in connecting children to health care in response to high levels of economic need.
- According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 342,501 children under the age of 18 live in Philadelphia County, with almost one-third (31.9%) living in households below the federal poverty level. Over 96% of children have health insurance coverage (Philadelphia Department of Public Health).
- As of July 2018, 273,394 children in Philadelphia County were enrolled in Medicaid, and 25,054 were enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Pennsylvania Health Access Network).
- Health insurance coverage supports children in utilizing care: according to the 2015 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, 95.7% of all children in Philadelphia and 93.2% of children below the federal poverty level have a regular source of care.
High levels of coverage and care provide a positive foundation to build on; however, significant disparities in childhood health and well-being persist based on factors such as race, ethnicity, family income, and neighborhood. Challenges remain in accessing the comprehensive care and services that children need to thrive: from oral, mental, and behavioral health care for children to diverse caregiver and community supports for families.
From gaps in prenatal care and parenting resources to differential exposure to environmental toxins like lead, too many children in Philadelphia experience preventable barriers to healthy development. Child-serving providers and advocates need support to protect and expand coverage and care and to foster multi-generational approaches that promote physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional development.
Setting children on the pathway to lifelong well-being requires intensive investment in a child’s earliest years, from connecting children with high-quality early care and learning opportunities to supporting families in accessing the concrete resources they need to respond to and prevent adversity. For this reason, the foundation is currently focusing on early childhood health and development. Promoting the positive childhood experiences that are critical to child well-being provides an opportunity to bring together diverse community members, providers, and cross-sector stakeholders across issues and systems to improve results for young children and their families in Philadelphia County.
Highlights of Current Strategies
1) Home visiting programs to promote early childhood health and development. Current grantees:
- Maternity Care Coalition – Early Learning Capacity Building Initiative
- ParentChild + – South/Southwest Philadelphia
2) Integration and coordination of care and services in early learning and health care settings. Current grantees:
- Kids Smiles – Early Childhood Caries Prevention Project
- Supportive Older Women’s Network – Grandfamily Resource Center and Integrated Care Model
3) Medical-legal partnerships that integrate public interest law services into health care settings to address social determinants of health. Current grantees:
- Community Legal Services – Medical-Legal Partnership at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Karabots Pediatric Center
- Legal Clinic for the Disabled – PhilaKids Medical-Legal Partnership at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
4) Coalition building, public education, and organizing to advocate for systems, policies, and programs that promote childhood health and well-being. Current grantee:
- Public Citizens for Children and Youth