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.

Context

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.
  • 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).
  • High levels of coverage have translated into children 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.

Gains in coverage and care provide a positive foundation to build on, yet 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.

Foundation Efforts

Highlights of Current Strategies

1) Integration and coordination of care and services in early-learning and home-visiting settings. Current grantees:

  • Kids Smiles – Early Childhood Caries Prevention Program
  • Maternity Care Coalition – Early Learning Capacity Building Initiative

2) Integration and coordination of family services and supports in medical settings. Current grantees:

  • Legal Clinic for the Disabled – Medical-Legal Partnership at St. Christopher’s Hospital
  • Supportive Older Women’s Network – Integrated Care Model for Grandparent-Headed Families

3) Coalition building, public education, and outreach to advocate for stronger municipal policies to prevent lead poisoning. Current grantee:

  • Public Citizens for Children and Youth – Philadelphia Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition