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Mel Gravely

Health Care for Every Child in Head Start

head start healthcareTwo places in the Head Start Performance Standards that talk about guiding families with health insurance and Healthcare:

1302.42 Child health status and care. (a) Source of health care.
(1) A program, within 30 calendar days after the child first attends the program or, for the home-based program option, receives a home visit, must consult with parents to determine whether each child has ongoing sources of continuous, accessible health care – provided by a health care professional that maintains the child’s ongoing health record and is not primarily a source of emergency or urgent care – and health insurance coverage.
(2) If the child does not have such a source of ongoing care and health insurance coverage or access to care through the Indian Health Service, the program must assist families in accessing a source of care and health insurance that will meet these criteria, as quickly as possible.

1302.46 (2) Family support services for health, nutrition, and mental health. A program must provide ongoing support to assist parents’ navigation through health systems to meet the general health and specifically identified needs of their children and must assist parents:
(i) In understanding how to access health insurance for themselves and their families, including information about private and public health insurance and designated enrollment periods;
(ii) In understanding the results of diagnostic and treatment procedures as well as plans for ongoing care; and,
(iii) In familiarizing their children with services they will receive while enrolled in the program and to enroll and participate in a system of ongoing family health care.

Many children in the US don’t have health insurance. Affordable and free programs are available for those who qualify. The two most accessible, common programs:

Medicaid offers health insurance for those with limited incomes, including parents, kids, disabled, pregnant and seniors. Children can be eligible even if parents aren’t legal immigrants, but they are legal immigrants or citizens.

Child health insurance program (CHIP) is federally funded, and administered by state health coverage for kids under 19 in working families, based on income. This is helpful for parents who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

These insurance programs have different names, and run differently in each state. Speak to your local Department of Health for more information.

Important Health Resources for Head Start families:

  1. 1877-KIDS-NOW for CHIP or
  2. 1800-318-2596 or for Medicaid and more.
  3. Partner with the community to help parents find both health insurance and healthcare.
  4. Your local Department of Health can be a reliable source of help. They will let you know about insurance in the county etc.
  5. Compile a handout of helpful resources for parents as you go along.
  6. Speak to other Head Start parents to hear how they manage with healthcare and insurance.

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