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'Covering Kids' Wins $1M Grant

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
USF Magazine
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida Covering Kids and Families, which has helped thousands of uninsured children in Florida get enrolled in a health plan, has won a $1 million federal grant to expand its outreach.

The program, which is sponsored by University of South Florida's College of Public Health, will use the grant to add to its network of enrollment assistance centers throughout the state, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Covering Kids links up with other organizations to find uninsured children and get them into KidCare -- either Medicaid or a private subsidized health plan through the Healthy Kids program. The project received much of the credit for a big reduction in the rate of uninsured childrenin Florida between 2009 and 2011. But Florida still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation.

Jodi Ray, project director for Covering Kids, has received national awards for her work on behalf of children, as Health News Florida reported in 2011. More information on her project can be found on the USF website.

The USF grant was one of 41 nationwide, totaling $32 million. Two multi-state grants will also benefit children in Florida.

One goes to the National Alliance for Hispanic Health for the "Nuestros Ninos" project. The $992,409 grant will be deployed in Arizona, California, Georgia, New York and Texas, in addition to Florida.

The other grant, $777,468, will go to Farmworker Justice, which will work with rural organizations in Arizona, California, Florida and North Carolina. The project will train community health workers, called "promotores de salud," to reach out to eligible families.

For more information on the grants, see the HHS site.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.