News Release

Grant will fund new models for meeting health needs of immigrant children, homeless youth

HARTFORD, Conn. (Oct. 2, 2017) – With a grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation, the Center for Children’s Advocacy will develop an in-school model for identifying the mental and physical health needs of immigrant children and helping them get the care they need.

The grant is one of eight awarded this quarter by the Connecticut Health Foundation, the state’s largest independent health philanthropy.

YMCA Scholars – Norris School East Hartford

The Center for Children’s Advocacy will develop the model in one public school system, with the goal of developing a framework that can be adapted and used by other schools. The $65,000 grant will also enable the Hartford-based Center for Children’s Advocacy to develop systemic reforms and processes to ensure that homeless youth can access mental and physical health care.

The number of immigrant children in Connecticut has been rising, and many arrive after fleeing abuse, neglect, or other life-threatening conditions in their home countries.

One aspect of the project will be to develop a school-based model to identify and respond to the health needs of immigrant children, with a focus on addressing traumatic stress, providing in-school supports, and connecting children to care providers in the community. This project will build on work the Center for Children’s Advocacy recently began – with funding from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund – to develop a model to address the educational needs of immigrant children.

“Schools are a touchpoint for nearly all immigrant children, and they could also be a successful resource for ensuring that their mental and physical health needs are met,” said Martha Stone, executive director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy. “There are very few models nationwide of school-based services for children with trauma histories and interrupted education, and schools do not know how to meet the many needs of these children. We are eager to develop and implement an effective model.”

As part of the grant, the Center for Children’s Advocacy will also work to better meet the needs homeless youth, who face challenges that can include a lack of insurance, limited knowledge of available health care services, and, for those who are on their own, difficulty receiving treatment that requires parental consent. The Center for Children’s Advocacy plans to develop and implement standard processes to identify homeless youth and young adults who need health care, match them to services, and help them navigate the health care system.

“This project focuses on two groups of children that have high needs and few support systems,” said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “This work has the potential to create lasting improvements to ensure that children, teens, and young adults get the care they need to address trauma and other mental and physical health challenges.”

Other grants awarded

The grant is among eight awarded by the Connecticut Health Foundation this quarter, totaling $575,000. The foundation has also awarded three President’s Discretionary Grants, totaling $74,000. The grants are:

Community Catalyst, Boston, $60,000
Community Catalyst will provide technical assistance to Connecticut community-based organizations to help them develop skills such as coalition building, grassroots organizing, strategic communications, and policy analysis. The organization’s work will focus on Connecticut Health Foundation grantees, with the goal of helping them develop the tools they need to advance policies and practices that promote health equity.

Connecticut Voices for Children, New Haven: $100,000
Connecticut Voices for Children will monitor and promote health insurance coverage and provide research on Connecticut’s most vulnerable families. The organization’s research will include analyzing data on access to health insurance and health care services, with an emphasis on the disproportionate number of children and families of color who lack coverage.

State of Connecticut Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Hartford: $80,000
Following the recommendations from a study of Connecticut’s health care landscape, the state is expected to reorganize many of its health agencies and functions into a centralized Office of Health Strategy. This is expected to allow the state to coordinate and align its health care work. This funding will help the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to hire a consultant to assist in developing an organizational plan and roadmap for the new office.

State of Connecticut Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Hartford: $120,000
Connecticut’s health information technology officer, Allan Hackney, has been tasked with creating a “data architecture” for a statewide health information exchange, which is intended to improve the collection, analysis, and reporting of health care data. This grant will support a pilot project focused on how to effectively collect data that is significant to addressing health equity issues. Collecting data on race, ethnicity, and language preference of patients is critical to holding the health care system accountable for outcomes.

Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, New London: $50,000
This grant will support the Reaching, Engaging, Amplifying and Partnering project, which brings together a diverse group of local constituents and consumers to advocate for health equity issues. Project leaders plan to build a campaign to revise the state’s definition of “community benefit” to focus on health equity and better target hospital resources to address health disparities in the community.

Hispanic Health Council, Hartford: $50,000
This grant will support the Hispanic Health Council’s Community Health Insurance Reform for the People (CHIRP) initiative, which educates consumers and fosters advocacy to ensure that health reform benefits people of color. As part of this work, the organization has developed a Community Advisory board made up of community health workers and newly insured consumers who can participate in policy advocacy and inform policymakers. This phase of the initiative is aimed at promoting health care policies to best serve the needs of people of color, particularly on issues related to health insurance coverage and the expansion of community health worker services.

Khmer Health Advocates, West Hartford: $50,000
This funding will support Khmer Health Advocates’ work to ensure that all minority groups in Connecticut are identified in health data and that members of the public have access to this data to improve the health of their communities.

President’s discretionary grants

Branford Walsh School Based Health Center, Branford: $25,000
This grant will support the school-based health center at Branford’s Walsh Intermediate School to open 45 minutes before the school day begins. During that time, the facility will serve as an urgent care center for students. Making care available on an urgent-care basis before school is expected to prevent extended absenteeism, unattended medical issues, emergency room visits, and missed school time. This addition to the school-based health center’s services is part of a partnership with Yale-New Haven Hospital.

New Haven Farms, New Haven: $24,000
New Haven Farms’ Farm-Based Wellness Program serves low-income adults at high risk of developing chronic, diet-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The program helps participants improve their diets and includes hands-on gardening activities, cooking and nutrition education, weekly meals, and harvest baskets to take home. This funding will support New Haven Farms’ Women’s Community Health Ambassador program, which aims to train 10 community health ambassadors in 2017 and 2018 to advocate for effective preventive health interventions with their families, neighbors, and program participants. The organization is also working to expand the program to additional low-income neighborhoods in New Haven.

Connecticut League for Nursing, North Haven: $25,000
This funding will support the Connecticut League for Nursing to relaunch its online population health course, which is targeted to health care providers and addresses population health, implicit bias, and diversity of the workforce. The funding will also support a centralized website to host all Connecticut nursing workforce data, which will inform the state’s workforce needs, including diversity.

For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at 860-724-1580 x 16, or

About the Connecticut Health Foundation
The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems. Since it was established in 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grantmaking, public policy research technical assistance and convening to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut. Over the past 18 years, the Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $59 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.

For more information about the foundation, please visit or 860.724.1580.