Access to healthcare and the ability to visit a physician is essential in improving and determining children's health. As healthcare policy continues to evolve, we have seen thousands of pediatricians across the country take a stand to defend all children's right to quality health care. Recognizing the crucial importance of access to medical care, the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) annual advocacy campaign will focus on advocating for improved access to healthcare for all children, regardless of their medical conditions, living situation, country of origin, or affirmed gender or sexual orientation.
The Access 4 Kids campaign will focus its efforts on four populations of children, including:
- Children Living in Foster Care or Group Homes
- Immigrant Children (defined as children who are foreign-born or children born in the United States who live with at least one parent who is foreign-born)
- Children and Youth Identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, or Queer (LGBTQ)
- Children with Special Health Care Needs
The campaign is choosing to focus on these groups of children because they represent some of the most vulnerable populations in this country in regards to accessing medical care. For more information and statistics please refer to our Delegate Letter and PowerPoint (links provided below).
The Access 4 Kids campaign strives to educate and empower pediatricians-in-training to advocate on a community, state, and national level for access to quality health care for all of America's children during this important time. The campaign urges trainees to get involved and help address inequities for some of America's most vulnerable children. The resources below will be updated as the campaign moves forward through each quarter to reflect each specific population and the different legislative efforts occurring around the country. Please join all trainees as we open the health care door for all children!
1. Access 4 Kids PowerPoint on the
SOPT Collaboration site (AAP login required)
2. Program Delegate Letter on the
SOPT Collaboration site (AAP login required)
3. Access 4 Kids Publications and Written Submissions - Coming Soon! (AAP login required)
4. Access 4 Kids Text Message Signup and Prior Texts
a. Text "Access4 Kids" to 41411 to sign up!
5. Access 4 Kids Google Map
a. Submit your program's projects
b. Take a look at the up to date map
6. AAP Agenda for Children Strategic Plan: Access
7. Browse past SOPT Advocacy Campaigns!
AAP Council on Foster Care, Adoption & Kinship Care provides an enormous number of resources to help guide primary care pediatricians in caring for children in foster care and kinship care, and help with speaking to families about adoption.
Healthy Foster Care America is an initiative of the AAP and has a wealth of resources dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children and teens in foster care.
- AAP Section on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and Wellness
Human Rights Campaign advocates for LGBT equality
Healthy People 2020: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health aims to improve the health, safety, and well-being of LGBT individuals
- AAP Immigrant Child Health Toolkit
AAP Council on Children with Disabilities
American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine
Want to learn how to be a better advocate? The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a series of Advocacy Training Modules that you can use to better yourself and teach to other trainees in your program!
Also, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Advocacy & Policy Resources!
You Can Get Involved at the Clinic and Community, State, and Federal Levels!
Advocacy at the Clinic and Community Level:
Children in Foster Care and Group Homes:
- Check out these Tools and Resources for the primary care pediatrician to help care for children in foster care.
- Federal law mandates that every state work with Medicaid, child welfare agencies, and in consultation with pediatricians and other health care experts to create a plan for children entering foster care so their health care needs can be identified and met. This includes both mental health and dental services. The AAP has created a guide with recommendations and resources for these stakeholders working with the state (which could be you!) to ensure that every area required by federal law is met for children entering foster care.
- Utilize this tip sheet created by Healthy Foster Care America for helpful tips to consider before, during, and after a clinic visit with a child in foster care.
- This paper published in Pediatrics addresses the health care issues for children and adolescents in foster care and kinship care, and how we, as pediatricians, can best serve these children. Reading this article and sharing with others in your program and clinic can help you best serve these children.
- Post this flyer developed by the AAP in your clinic to help promote healthcare access for children in foster care.
- Consider utilizing this Children's Guide to Foster Care in your clinic, which allows and encourages children to be involved in their own health care!
- Children who are moved into the foster care system should be enrolled in Medicaid immediately, and ensured they receive Medicaid until the age of 21! This is something that should be done at the first clinic visit after the child has entered into the foster care system. Click here to view a state-by-state Medicaid provider directory.
- Caring for young adults who used to be in foster care? Did you know they are eligible for Medicaid until the age of 26? Check out this link to see how you can advocate for their continued access to care!
- Connect young adults who used to be in foster care with others. Visit Foster Care Alumni of America for more information.
- Check out this great advocacy opportunity to help a worthy cause! Comfort Cases was started by a man formerly in foster care with the goal of collecting goods that children need and filling duffel bags or backpacks with these goods. The headquarters services the Maryland, DC, Virginia area, but has tips on how to create your own donation drive in your community.
Story on Comfort Cases from Upworthy.
- Check out the AAP Council on Community Pediatrics Immigrant Child Health Toolkit for how to address common matters related to immigrant children!
- The American Immigration Council published a comprehensive report on children arriving at the border that includes helpful terminology and policies.
- The Department of Health & Human Services maintains a database of health centers that provide care even for those without insurance.
- Read the AAP's statement on Protecting Immigrant Children.
- Learn about how to support immigrant children who have previously been detained.
- Find more resources from the APA about immigration's effect on children and families!
- Get the facts about migration worldwide from the Migration Policy Institute.
- Check out this article published by the AAP's Committee on Adolescence for information on the best office-based care for LGBTQ youth!
- This AAP policy offers recommendations for caring for LGBTQ youth!
- Use this document from the AAP, HRC, and the American College of Osteopathic Physicians to learn more about how to support transgender children.
- Download this resource guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help families support their LGBTQ children!
- Promote education about caring for LGBTQ patients through learning modules from the National LBGT Health Education Center.
Children with Special Health Care Needs:
- Check out these resources from Healthychildren.org on children with developmental disabilities. Many of these resources are very readable and easily printed and handed out to parents in clinic.
- Consider watching this webinar produced by the AAP's Council on Children with Disabilities on managing children with medical complexity in your practice.
- Refer to this AAP statement on advocating for Early Intervention Services when seeing patients with developmental disabilities in clinic. Early referral to intervention services is vitally important for these children!
Advocacy for all children at the Community Level:
- As a pediatrician, your voice means a lot! Consider writing a Letter to the Editor or an Op-Ed in your local newspaper.
- Want help getting your voice heard and promoting your work? Consider contacting one of the Co-Chairs, Zachary Laris, or Ami Gadhia with the AAP Washington, D.C. Office for more information.
Advocacy at the State Level:
- Check out your state's health care coverage fact sheet here, which includes both a Medicaid fact sheet and a CHIP fact sheet:
- Contact your state chapter leaders to find out how they are working to improve healthcare for our kids.
- Youth who identify as LGBTQ are at increased risk and incidence of bullying. Check out the AAP's policy stance and resources on bullying prevention that can be used to advocate on the state level to end bullying!
Advocacy at the Federal Level:
- Check out the AAP Federal Affairs website (AAP login required) for updated policy statements on federal legislative items.
- One of the AAP's main federal advocacy initiatives is Improving Children's Access to Care. Keep yourself updated on advocating for continued healthcare for all children!
- The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is financed through September 30, 2017. Visit the link here to familiarize yourself with the program and join the AAP in urging Congress to extend funding for this vital program for many of America's children.
- Learn about the AAP's stance on improving mental health care for children, including many legislative bills the AAP has endorsed and helped pass to improve mental health services for all children.
- The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2017 aims to allocate and allow funding to be used toward prevention policies with the goal of keeping families together and preventing the need for foster care in the first place. The Act also advocates for reform and stricter oversight of group homes. The Act is endorsed by the AAP, and has recently been re-introduced in the House of Representatives. Read the AAP's endorsement of the legislation here.
- Read more about the Family First Prevention Services Act and the reforms the Act advocates for here.
- Read about and get involved in ongoing federal legislation for LGBTQ youth and families via the Human Rights Campaign.
- Check out these community pediatrics grants, and consider applying to bolster the work you are already doing by receiving funding from the AAP!
Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program is a grant program that awards funds to innovative, community-based projects to improve access to health care and promote preventive health services. Continue the great work you are doing, and consider applying!
Social Media & Advocacy:
- Use your social media accounts to advocate!
- Like the SOPT Facebook page
- Like the AAP Facebook page
- Follow us on Twitter @AAPSOPT
- Use and follow AAP and SOPT hashtags: #Access4Kids, #PutKids1st, #DontCapMyCare, #FutureFAAP, #FAAPulous, #Tweetiatrician, #TweetiatricianSelfie
Rachel Lieberman, MD
Christina Kratlian, MA
The Access 4 Kids Advocacy Campaign is funded through the generosity of the AAP Insurance Program.