Faith-based approach to insuring children

    Today in Wilmington, Senator Tom Carper and Lt. Governor Matt Denn announced a plan to create a faith-based coalition to increase awareness and enrollment.

    One out of every 10 kids in Delaware does not have health insurance.

    A government program designed to change that is called the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage to all uninsured children and teens that are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance.

    But one of the problems with CHIP in Delaware, state leaders say, is that not everyone knows about the program.

    And that’s why today in Wilmington, Senator Tom Carper and Lt. Governor Matt Denn announced a plan to create a faith-based coalition to increase awareness and enrollment.

    Denn says they’ve applied for a two-hundred-thousand-dollar grant to be used over a two-year period.

    “In the big scheme of things it’s not a huge amount of money,” Denn said. “But one of the hallmarks of these groups is that they do an awful lot with sometimes very small amounts of resources. And we think some of these faith-based groups can do with that amount of money a lot of things that some other groups might not be able to.”

    The coalition would be comprised of the Interdenominational Ministerial Action Council, the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families and Voices Without Borders.

    Rev. Robert Hall of the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families discusses how faith-based organizations can help get more Delaware children enrolled in insurance program.
    [audio: /delaware/090814bcfaith.mp3]

    Denn says the state has stepped up its awareness efforts in recent years, but that this new proposal takes it a step further.

    “What the grant would allow us to do is to actually have people working on a full- or part-time basis in these organizations who will be recruiting the volunteers to go out and knock on the doors,” Denn said. “And there’s not really any substitute for that.”

    What these organizations bring to the table, says Robert Hall of the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families, is trust.

    “Most people understand the church to be a place where they can hear honest information,” he said. “They tend to trust the clergy and people who work for churches. Plus it’s an institution that really reaches deep into the community, it’s not a government organization that changes every so many years.”

    The groups would target legal immigrants or children living in households with mixed immigration status, Hispanic children, rural populations and health disparity communities in Delaware.

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