Health and Family Services Cabinet
Grant Aids Families of Children with Special Health Care Needs; Funding establishes centers where parents mentor families
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 30, 2009) – A federal grant of almost $100,000 will help Kentucky children with special needs and their families get the medical care and support they require.
The Kentucky Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN) has received a $95,700 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration to establish Family-to-Family Health Information Centers in 12 of its locations across the state.
The centers will be located in CCSHCN offices that provide direct medical and other clinical services. Hazard, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro and Paducah will be the first five sites, followed by Ashland, Barbourville, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Morehead, Prestonsburg and Somerset.
Part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, CCSHCN serves youth ages 21 and younger who have special health care needs.
Family-to-Family Health Information Centers are well received by families because they are typically staffed and run by parents of children with special health care needs themselves. Parents who have navigated the system are available to assist others.
CCSHCN Executive Director Rebecca Cecil said Commission staff and clients are excited about the one-year grant, which could be extended for two more years.
“The health care process becomes more complicated when a child has special needs, and having families mentor other families through this program is the most effective way to ensure that the child gets the services needed,” Cecil said.
Kentucky’s health information centers will be managed by two co-directors -- both parents of children with special needs who have expertise in navigating both public and private health care systems.
The co-directors will recruit and train family mentors, with the assistance of the CCSHCN Parent Advisory Council and CCSHCN clinical staff. The family mentors will help families understand their children’s health issues, provide technical support, offer a multitude of resources and tap into a network of other families and professionals for support and information.
“Families helping other families to increase their ability to be more self-assured and make informed choices about health care will result in improved health outcomes for their children throughout their lives,” Cecil said.
Cecil said Commission staff hopes to have all 12 programs running by this December.
For more information about the CCSHCN, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/ccshcn/.
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