- December 2015
- Vol. 16, No. 9
December Special Initiatives: Focus on National Health
Being healthy is an important part of maintaining one's well-being. This December, there are three national initiatives that highlight important issues related to health: World AIDS Day (December 1), National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 4–10), and National Handwashing Awareness Week (December 6–12).
Since 1988, World AIDS Day has been held on December 1, providing people around the world with an opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have passed.1 More information about this observance day and ways to get involved can be found on the World AIDS day website at http://www.worldaidsday.org/events/.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is a chance to feature the importance of everyone, especially young children, getting vaccinated for the flu. After November, the number of administered flu vaccinations drops, even though flu season peaks between December and February.2 Resources and facts about vaccinations and the flu are available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/. In addition to getting vaccinated against the flu, washing your hands is an easy and effective way to prevent getting sick. The Henry the Hand Foundation provides four easy-to-remember principles of hand awareness, programs, and other materials to help spread the word about hand hygiene. Check them out at http://www.henrythehand.com/news-events/national-handwashing-awareness-week/.
The first step to improving the health care of children in foster care is making sure they have access to health-care coverage. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which expanded Medicaid to cover youth formerly in foster care until age 26, provides youth and families involved in child welfare and youth who have aged out of foster care with opportunities to get the coverage they need. Below are a few resources for youth, families, and professionals that can help:
- Rural Children Increasingly Rely on Medicaid & State Child Health Insurance Programs for Health Insurance focuses on the differences between rural and urban children in terms of recent trends in health insurance coverage and type of health insurance. Data are examined for States, counties, and congressional districts. It is available at http://firstfocus.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Ohare_Draft6.pdf (2 MB).
- Children's Defense Fund Children in the States 2015: Notes and Sources lists the references used to provide statistics on key indicators of child health and well-being in the United States for 2015. References include sources for child population, child poverty, child hunger and homelessness, child health, early childhood and education, and children facing special risks. It is available at http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/state-data-repository/cits/2014/cits-notes-and-sources-2015.pdf (334 KB).
- Healthy Foster Care America focuses on improving the health and well-being outcomes of children and teens in foster care. Available at https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/healthy-foster-care-america/Pages/default.aspx.
For more resources on the ACA and its effect on youth in foster care, see this month's Children's Bureau Express (CBX) Spotlight section.
The May 2014 issue of CBX also highlighted "Former Foster Care Youth and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Toolkit," which presents an array of resources for service providers related to the new health-care provisions.
1 World AIDS Day. (2015). About World AIDS Day. Retrieved from http://www.worldaidsday.org/about-world-aids-day.php.
2 Center for Disease Control. (2014). 2014 National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) Key Points. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/nivw/nivw-keypoints-2014.pdf (90 KB).