Connecticut Voices for Children
Supporting public policies and investments to promote the well-being of Connecticut’s children and their families.
Understanding the fast-changing dynamics of health policies and the state budget is a daunting task for anyone. Connecticut Voices for Children (CT Voices) helps advocates, policy-makers, providers, and the public to make sense of public policies, how they are implemented, and how they can be improved to benefit children and families.
CT Voices has an ambitious goal: Assuring that all the state’s children and families have timely access to high-quality, affordable health care, which is aligned with all CT Health priority areas: children’s mental health, health policy/advocacy, oral health, and racial and ethnic health disparities.
For example, families who have trouble understanding and responding to notices from the Department of Social Services (DSS) often lose their health coverage, even though they remain eligible. Community outreach workers and health care providers who have trouble keeping up with complex state and federal rules struggle to help these families. As part of its goal of ensuring that the state’s low- and moderate-income children and families have timely access to quality, affordable health care, CT Voices helps to cut through this confusion and build communication between stakeholders in the health care system.
Beginning with a $5,000 grant in 2000, CT Health first began providing financial support to CT Voices to meet their objectives. With a $50,000 grant in 2002, CT Voices developed and implemented a social marketing campaign to encourage support of children’s health during the legislative session.
Aided by an additional three-year $463,635 general operating support grant from the foundation in 2007, CT Voices made greater inroads toward their overarching goals.
The means to achieving these goals were just as ambitious:
- Analyzing state and federal policy and budget proposals and opportunities, including reform options that could expand access to health care
- Research using health-related datasets, including studies of well-child care, dental care, asthma prevalence, behavioral health care, birth outcomes, and emergency care among children, parents and pregnant women on HUSKY, Connecticut’s Medicaid program for children and families
- Strategic communications to inform policy-makers, media, advocates and the public
- Coordinating the Covering Connecticut’s Kids and Families coalition, which brings together state officials and service providers to improve enrollment in and access to HUSKY
In addition, CT Voices is committed to building and mentoring the next generation of advocates, so they are prepared to address new challenges. Its paid fellowships offer full-time positions to recent college and law school graduates with an interest in public policy.
“The foundation’s support has helped to give us the flexibility to respond to changing policies and encourage creative solutions to problems facing our state,” said Jamey Bell, Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children. “We hope our analyses help make the HUSKY program work better for children and families, to make a healthier Connecticut.”