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How To: Advocating for Kids
last updated:
Tue, 7/26/2011 3:58 PM

At Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, speaking on behalf of our area’s kids in the public policy arena is part of our mission. We make sure that our kids’ needs and concerns are heard when important decisions are made.

The Casey family of Cordova, Tenn., believes in the power of advocacy. In fact, they’re in Washington D.C. today for Family Advocacy Day – an annual event hosted by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. In D.C., they get a chance to tell lawmakers on Capitol Hill why children’s health care is so important. In particular, the Caseys will be talking about CoverKids, a state Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides affordable, comprehensive health coverage for qualifying children 18 and younger.

The Caseys’ know how important accessible health care is for kids because of their experiences with son Shane. Now 5, Shane was diagnosed with infantile spasms, a rare form of epilepsy, as an infant. He was a healthy baby until – at age 4 months – he began convulsing violently. His seizures became worse and more frequent, and sometimes he would lose consciousness. Once diagnosed by a neurologist at Le Bonheur, Shane was prescribed drug therapy to calm his seizures. He’s seizure free now.

“This is why our family gladly advocates for children’s health issues for the entire Mid-South. Too many miracles have taken place within Le Bonheur for us to sit quietly,” said Tiffany, Shane’s mom.

For the Caseys, affordable health coverage is an important issue and one they plan to take to Capitol Hill. CoverKids helped Shane get the treatment he needed in the midst of his parents’ job changes.

“After losing our jobs in the throws of this downward economy, we found that private insurance companies would not cover our son due to his pre-existing condition, even though he had been cured and seizure free for two years,” said Tiffany. "That was when I found out about the reasonable monthly premium cost for Tennessee's CoverKids program.” 

You don’t have to go to Washington D.C. to advocate for kids, says Tiffany. You don’t even have to have had a hospital experience. Kids need adults to speak up for them when it comes to public policy issues.

Here’s how you can be an advocate for kids:

  • Write a letter to your elected officials. Here’s a great resource for finding out who your elected officials are and how to reach them.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest policies affecting kids’ health and well-being. Just being knowledgeable is important. You can check out the National Association of Children's Hospitals website for the latest public policy issues.
  • Join Le Bonheur’s Grassroots Network. Through the network, you will receive updates on the latest public issues and learn of ways to help.
  • Use personal examples in your advocacy efforts.


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Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center is a leading children's hospital in the Mid South, providing pediatric care to children from 95 counties in six states.
50 N. Dunlap Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 • (901) 287-KIDS