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4. Work with an Outside Certified Application Assistant to Help Families Complete the Application.

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“Our Certified Application Assistant (CAA) was very important because she was bilingual and grew up in the community. People felt comfortable speaking to her, and that helped us.”

resources__CAA_and_mom_talking_mtg.JPGSometimes it’s difficult for a family to know whether their children are eligible for affordable health insurance or to complete the application to enroll their children. Certified Application Assistants (CAAs) are individuals with expertise in navigating the eligibility and application process.

CAAs may be connected with a non-profit community group, may work with health plans or the county welfare or social services department, or be on staff at a hospital or be other city or county agency staff. The key thing to know is that CAAs are trained and certified by the State of California to assist families. Identify CAAs in your area by clicking here.

Having a relationship with a local CAA can be a very effective way to maximize your agency’s outreach activities as well as build new relationships with non-profit groups in the community. For example, if families complete referral cards indicating they want more information, the agency can give those cards to the CAA for follow up. Be sure to keep track of the number of referrals the agency gives to the CAA, and ask for follow-up information about the number of children and families enrolled.

Working with CAAs or non-profits who speak other languages is a good way to expand your agency’s resources and collaborate to assist families.

Another way to work with CAAs is to offer periodic “office hours” at agency community centers when a CAA is available to assist families. Publicizing the office hours and service offered helps to attract attendees. Your agency staff can also suggest to families who use a community center that the office hour resource is available. Making appointments in advance with families can be helpful.

Success Tip: If appointments have been made for a family to meet a CAA during office hours, be sure to call the family one or two days before the appointment to remind them and explain what materials they should bring. Offering transportation assistance can make the difference between a no-show and a completed application.

Success Tip: Think about scheduling office hours at times convenient to working families. For example, evening or weekend office hours may be more effective than work-day office hours. Be sure to talk with the CAA about what type of resources are needed, such as computer access, a copying machine and private space for families to talk with the CAA.

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