Maine Children's Alliance - June 2004 Charity-of-the-Month
The Maine Children's Alliance mission is to advocate for sound public policies to improve the lives of all Maine’s children, youth and families
Maine Children's Alliance
303 State Street
Augusta, ME 04330
Who we are:
The Maine Children’s Alliance (MCA) is a statewide not for profit advocacy organization with a strong policy agenda focused on improving the lives of children, youth, and families in Maine. MCA provides an ongoing and comprehensive source of information about the well-being and needs of Maine children through its annual Kids Count report, now in its tenth year, and utilizes this information to generate positive change for unserved and underserved children and families throughout the state. MCA is supported by a diversity of stable funding sources including grants, membership, corporate donors, and contracts, and collaborates with a variety of regional and national organizations that work on behalf of children.
MCA has been an effective public policy advocate for children through:
* Building partnerships with regional and national child advocacy organizations
* Strategic alliances with individuals and organizations making their resources available to collaborative advocacy initiatives
* Serving as a catalyst to bring Maine people together to solve the critical issues facing Maine’s children and families
MCA has successfully worked with the Maine Legislature to enact critical legislation pertaining to children and their families including: increased eligibility for MaineCare for children, youth and families, supplemental funding for home visitations to new parents, establishment of pilot sites for after-school care for children ages 13 to 15, the addition of new state child care licensing staff, increased state tax credits for parents and employers, and access to low interest loans to child care centers. We have also helped to increase budgets for the Maine Child Welfare system and support the creation of an Ombudsman Program. Based on its history and experience, MCA is recognized as the premier children’s advocacy organization in the state.
With your help, the Maine Children’s Alliance can reach the goal we all want to grasp: a child and family services delivery system that fixes problems, helps people, is efficient and accountable. We can’t reach that goal in a single leap. The first steps are underway and our continued work is to ensure that children and families have the services they need, when they need them and where it will be most accessible…this is good for kids and their families and the taxpayers. It will also serve as a model in the nation to create effective, efficient and accountable systems in other states.
MCA major projects include:
Publishing the annual Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book to continuously provide an accurate picture of the well-being of children and to provide data on outcomes for children that focus the attention of policymakers and community leaders on real, rather than perceived or assumed problems and providing a tool to assess the impact of policies and programs for children, youth, and families:
“Kids Count book can help state prioritize needs”
Kennebec Journal editorial headline; February 28, 2003
Organizing to support major improvements in Maine’s Child and Family Services System.
We are providing research, analysis and community organizing for the administration and legislature to support major improvements in the way we currently serve children and families. Our work is organized to improve our current system by support for:
* Focusing on the needs of children and families
* Improving access to services
* Coordinating state supported services so they are cost effective and non-duplicative
Major work within this project to facilitate improvements in our behavioral/mental health system for children and families that include an emerging dialogue regarding the best use of state and local resources in a number of areas including finances, policy, personnel and public education.
Improving Access to health care for children and youth: School Based Health Services
“…We need to start thinking of health and education as interlocking spheres. After all, isn't school the best place for a primary health care facility – available, convenient, confidential, and responsive not only to the adolescent, but to the family?"
- C. Everett Koop, M.D., Former U.S. Surgeon General
In 2001, MCA convened the school-based health centers, the Maine Bureau of Health, and the major commercial insurance providers to address funding and reimbursement issues faced by the school-based health centers. The commercial insurers responded by agreeing to a pilot project in which they would reimburse for school-based health care services, consistent with their existing contracts. The target population for the Maine School-Based Health Care Access Project will be the approximately 11,000 adolescents who attend up to 13 participating school health centers.
The current phase of the project is to evaluate the impact insurance reimbursement has on school-based health care services. Anticipated outcomes include documentation as to whether insurance reimbursement for school-based health center based services increases access to health care, improves clinical outcomes, and increases satisfaction with cost savings or cost neutrality. Should the results be positive, the commercial insurers have agreed to continue to reimburse services provided at school-based health centers.
We believe this could have a major impact in the state as well as nationally. The project could provide a new model of children’s health care reimbursement and delivery. Funding has been received for the first two years of the evaluation.
Providing Ombudsman services to Maine families. MCA provides Ombudsman services to Maine families seeking government assistance for their children. The Ombudsman is intended to be a fair and impartial source of help in resolving problems in the child welfare system. The focus will be on making the system work for children. The child’s best interest will guide the Ombudsman decisions, through a process that listens to all sides in a fair and objective manner. Information is available to anyone who calls.
If you would like to make a donation to the Maine Children's Alliance or would like more information on improving the well being of children and families:
Maine Children's Alliance
303 State Street
Augusta, ME 04330