Good health during the early years lays a solid foundation for children’s success later in life. When children grow up healthy, we collectively benefit from better educated adults, a healthier workforce, and active and engaged communities. But the opposite is also true–we all stand to lose when our children are not healthy.
Child health does not develop in a vacuum, it is shaped by the families in which children live. Healthy parents are more likely to have healthy children and stable, nurturing, and financially secure homes provide resource-rich environments that impart measurable health benefits to children.
Strengthening parent health and access to care not only bolsters the well-being of adults, it improves outcomes for the entire family. Strategies that enrich family supports and expand parents’ access to health insurance would yield significant returns for our children and state. Low-income families with uninsured parents are three times as likely to have eligible for what? but uninsured children as families with parents covered by private insurance or Medicaid. A highly effective way of boosting coverage among these uninsured children is to increase their parents’ access to health insurance. Research shows states that have broadened access to health care for low-income parents under the Affordable Care Act have experienced significantly greater gains in enrollment among eligible children than states that did not expand parents’ access to health insurance coverage.
North Carolina has a rich tradition of collaborating to improve child health. From the development of the state children’s health insurance program in the late ‘90s to the success of the Child Fatality Task Force over the past two decades in cutting child deaths, North Carolina has been a leader in child health innovations. Together advocates, health care providers, and policymakers can work in partnership with parents and communities to promote the healthy development of children.