Parents’ role in kids’ mental health

By Chloe Smith, Senior Program Officer, Children’s Health Fund

When it comes to addressing their children’s mental health, parents and caregivers must be able to put on their own “oxygen masks” first. Having their own needs addressed makes it easier to fully be there for their children. But during the pandemic, so many challenges have made it hard for parents to do this.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2020 found that the pandemic had worsened the mental health of both children and parents, especially for families who had been impacted in multiple ways from stressors like financial…


Susan Heinlen Spalding, MD, Senior Medical Advisor, Children’s Health Fund

COVID vaccines are now available to children ages 12 and older in the U.S., and trials for younger ages are underway. But misinformation about the vaccines’ safety is still widespread. When it comes to vaccinating children, concerns can be even more intense, especially for parents and caregivers. So what is true and what isn’t? We address five common myths about COVID vaccines for children.

Myth: Vaccines have long-term detrimental effects on children.

Fact: No licensed vaccines have been found to have an unexpected long-term safety problem that was found years…


By María de los Angeles Corral, Associate Vice President Marketing and Communications, Children’s Health Fund

Bruna Carrera and Dulce Juárez Álvarez from the Nevada Health Centers

Women immigrants are among the unsung heroes of this country’s response to COVID-19. As a major component of the healthcare workforce, women immigrants have been invaluable as the country struggled to respond to the greatest health crisis of our time. A majority of these health providers are women of color whose unique strengths to this work are critical to serving diverse communities.

With healthcare becoming more responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of patients, foreign-born providers are playing a critical role. Immigrant providers step…


By Susan Heinlen Spalding, MD, Senior Medical Advisor to Children’s Health Fund

It feels like we are turning the corner. There are now three effective COVID vaccines and pharmaceutical companies are increasing production to create enough supply to vaccinate all U.S. adults by the end of May.

Yet in underserved neighborhoods, home to many families of color, it’s taking longer to get around that corner. In every state that is reporting vaccine demographics, Black individuals are vaccinated at a lower rate than their percentage of the population. …


By Nadia Khasawneh & María de los Ángeles Corral, Children’s Health Fund

Scroll down for the full written version of this Love Letter to Black Children.

Children need consistent, loving messages affirming their beauty, their potential, and their worth to know what is possible for them and to fully believe in their innate value. This can be especially true for Black children, who are less likely to see positive, uplifting messages about themselves and their communities in mainstream culture.

With the news being dominated by stories of how Black Americans are being harmed — particularly through acts of anti-Black violence…


COVID-19 inequities are impacting children’s access to dental care, and children in underinvested communities are impacted the most. Community healthcare and corporate action can help.

By: Dennis Walto, CEO Children’s Health Fund

There is no dispute, the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted children’s education. What is less well understood is the impact school closures have had on health services for students. Schools have become logical and influential places to reach children with medical, mental health, and dental services. Especially in low-income neighborhoods, these in-school services provide care their families are hard-pressed to access otherwise.

At the onset of the pandemic, oral…


By Dr. Wenimo Okoya, Assistant Vice President, Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative, Children’s Health Fund

In the last two months, conversations that I never thought would make it to the mainstream are suddenly circulating through social media graphics, news pieces, and corporate messaging.

America is finally admitting that inequities stemming from white supremacy and racism have systematically cut off Black and Brown people from resources and political power, creating conditions that make them more susceptible to violence, harm, poor health, and trauma.

I have long hoped that our country would reach a moment like this. But in the journey…


By Wenimo Okoya, Associate Vice President, Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative, Children’s Health Fund

As a Black woman and an educator, I have been feeling many emotions since hearing of the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Primarily despair, grief, rage, and exhaustion.

I look at my community and see so much beauty, vibrancy, and life. I am the aunt of four Black nephews, and when I think about what is being done to us and what it means for them, I am filled with heartache and a heaviness I can’t clearly express.

At any…


By Dennis Walto, CEO, Children’s Health Fund

As children’s health advocates, we can’t ignore the relationship between education and health: a child’s physical and mental health directly impacts their ability to learn. Similarly, the quality of education is a strong predictor of health and wellbeing well into adulthood.

Recently, I returned with one of our early investors to PS 36, an elementary school in Harlem, New York. As we walked to the entrance, we were greeted by two brightly colored murals framing the main entryway, near a playground of padded rubber mats and climbing concoctions of all kinds. Inside, bulletin…


By Dennis Walto, CEO, Children’s Health Fund

“How can I unenroll my son from Medicaid?” said an anxious voice on the phone.

It was the father of Carlos, one of the young patients at a clinic in New Orleans. He had called his son’s pediatrician in a panic. Medicaid has been a lifeline for Carlos to ensure he receives consistent primary healthcare that has been vital to his development. Withdrawal would potentially put his health at risk.

Children — many of whom have legal status — are being stripped of their basic human rights.

But Carlos’ father was afraid —…

Children’s Health Fund

Through advocacy, a national network of health centers & a school-based program, we work towards a future where all children get the care & support they need

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