Every Child Needs Health Insurance

In July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services awarded $1.48 million to Think Kids for a three-year outreach and enrollment project through the Connecting Kids to Coverage HEALTHY KIDS 2022 program. 

In West Virginia in 2019, 46.9% of the Mountain State’s children were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Georgetown University Center for Children and Families estimates that 3.5% of WV’s children did not have health insurance in 2019, representing an increase of 44% since 2016.

For the next three years, Think Kids will work with a great group of partners to provide enrollment and renewal assistance to children and pregnant women in Medicaid and CHIP to shore up potential holes in the insurance safety net. 

To do this, we use a three-prong strategy, supported by project staff and data management and technical support specialists:

We’re reaching out to large towns and rural places in WV to engage with young families, caregivers, pregnant people and professionals who care for kids. Visit our project website, Facebook page, and keep an eye out for pediatricians and stakeholders in your community sharing resources and support. 


WV Statewide Afterschool Network (WVSAN) is one of fifty afterschool networks across the country and works to sustain a statewide partnership to raise awareness of: the importance and accessibility of high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs, to share criteria of effective programs and best practices among providers and the public, and to promote the sustainability of such programs throughout the state.

WV Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is led by West Virginia pediatricians and welcomes physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants of our mountain state and contiguous areas. They are private practitioners, generalists, specialists, medical school faculty, public health practitioners, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and administrators seeking the optimal health and well-being of all the children of our state.

The Manahan Group (TMG) is a full-service public relations and advertising firm. Using a strategic, research-based approach to all campaigns, TMG has contributed to marketing successes for a wide variety of businesses and organizations in West Virginia for nearly 20 years.

To survive and thrive, all students need access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage. Unmet health and mental health needs can result in children falling behind academically. This is why we’re partnering with participating county school systems to train staff to help families enroll and re-enroll in Medicaid and CHIP. 


Kanawha County Schools is a public school district located in Charleston, WV. It has 24,721 students in grades PK, K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1.

Roane County School is a public school district located in Spencer, WV. It has 1,903 students in grades PK, K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 13 to 1.

We know that it takes a combination of broad and targeted outreach strategies to reach eligible families. Families/caregivers learn about Medicaid and CHIP through multiple avenues, including the staff in afterschool programs– trusted community partners. We know that having outreach materials and application forms available in plain language— sometimes in multiple languages— may reduce enrollment barriers. For those with limited reading proficiency, outreach coordinators are there to help. 


Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle is a 50-year-old youth service organization whose mission is to inspire all young people, especially those who need us most to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Our youth development staff provides programming in the arts; education and career programs; health and life skills; sports, fitness, and recreation; and character and leadership programs for children between five and 18 years of age.

The Partnership of African American Churches (PAAC) is a 501 (c) 3 collaborative, non-profit, faith-based community development corporation, based in Charleston, WV. While PAAC serves all communities, it intentionally targets African American communities in West Virginia. The PAAC is a specific initiative-driven organization focusing on community and individual well-being which involves both policy change and programmatic implementation.

Step by Step, Inc. is a grassroots, non-profit organization serving several counties across the state of West Virginia. Its mission is to assist people in working together to achieve their dreams in kindred communities through dialogue, education and the arts, wellness, local leadership, and service. It supports the philosophy of national service and is the second-largest AmeriCorps*VISTA program sponsor in West Virginia.

WVDHHR and WVPRC are invaluable partners that help us collect important data on enrollment numbers and provide technical support to outreach coordinators. 


The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) is the lead public health agency in West Virginia working to help shape the environments within which people and communities can be safe and healthy.

WV Prevention Resource Center is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number DP006391 and is committed to conducting applied prevention research, as well as supporting a wide variety of public health efforts across the state of West Virginia.  

Download the flyers

If you’d like to learn more or get involved in the project, contact Kelli Caseman.


November 2022: We’re excited to have Roane County Schools to partner with the project. From left are: Michelle Ash, director of Student Support Services; school therapist Melinda Parkins; Spencer Elementary School Principal Eric Staats; Superintendent Richard Duncan; and school social worker Jessica Bailey. They’re part of a growing team working to make sure eligible children have health insurance coverage through Medicaid or CHIP to receive well-child visits, immunizations, eye and dental care, and a host of other services.

Sept 2, 2022- Press release: Medicaid and CHIP Programs to Begin “Unwinding” After Pandemic; Program Participants Will be Required to Renew Coverage

Connecting Kids to Coverage West Virginia is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $ 1,480,345 with 100 percent funded by CMS/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CMS/HHS, or the U.S. Government.


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