Legislators welcome $1.5 million from Wolf administration for north Philly schools' pilot health program

PHILADELPHIA, June 12 – State legislators representing four north Philadelphia schools are welcoming $1.5 million from Gov. Tom Wolf's administration to leverage and connect schools to the large array of health-related services that are available for Philadelphia’s children.

The funding is intended to improve health, school attendance and academic achievement for children who attend community schools in the North Philadelphia Health Enterprise Zone, or HEZ.

The four schools are James Logan Elementary, William Cramp Elementary, Edward Gideon Elementary/Middle and Bethune Elementary.

"This investment is another example of how we are putting people -- in this case, our children -- first," said Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila. "Investing in the health and wellness of our children is one of the most effective uses of state funding, and I applaud the governor for his commitment to James Logan Elementary and the kids in our community."

Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., said, "Governor Tom Wolf continues to be a strong partner in restoring the education cuts of the Corbett years. I and my Democratic colleagues will keep working with him to reinvest in our kids. I am glad to see that Gideon School will be included in this pilot program."

Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., said, "Helping students to be healthy helps them to succeed in school as well, and I welcome this opportunity for students at William Cramp Elementary."

Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-Phila., said, "Part of helping our kids to be ready to learn every school day is making sure they can get the health care they need. I thank the governor and his administration for including Bethune Elementary in this program."

The community schools model works with schools to implement a strategic, coordinated plan with expanded supports and aligned services to address the broader set of needs of the whole child. The funding from this initiative provides critical additional support to bolster and make more effective the services and activities offered at the school and through the children’s Medicaid coverage.

According to the Wolf administration, the funding will be designated for two main purposes:

  1. Connecting kids to care:
    • Making sure insured children can access the services their health care coverage provides, especially dental and vision care;
    • Providing care for children who are uninsured;
    • Tackling one of the largest health challenges Philadelphia children face: asthma. By making sure children’s home and school environments are free of triggers; and
    • Making sure all eligible families are enrolled in health care coverage and other benefits, such as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  1. Testing expanded supports for a trauma-informed school to build resilience:
    • The model will help create a safe, resiliency-based climate in and around the school by supporting and training all school staff, providing screening and assessment tools, group sessions and individualized counseling, and educational sessions for students and their families.

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