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City and County of Santa Barbara

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Community: Santa Barbara (County of Santa Barbara)

Population: 90,305

Summary

Collaboration between the Santa Barbara County Children’s Health Initiative and the City of Santa Barbara provided a unique opportunity to launch a new partnership. Working through the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the project used two city community centers to reach eligible families in surrounding neighborhoods with information about affordable health insurance  for their children and to enroll children. The effort also involved Teachers for Healthy Kids, area schools and health plans offering coverage in Santa Barbara. Two successful enrollment events at the community centers helped eligible parents enroll their children.

Program Highlights

  • Interest from the both the city council and the county board of supervisors helped facilitate the new collaboration between the city and the county Children’s Health Initiative.
  • The collaboration used two of the community centers in neighborhoods with potentially eligible families to serve as the conduit for information on affordable health insurance for children.
  • Because residents considered the community centers safe places by local residents and trusted the community center staff, the project was able to connect with families who otherwise might have been reluctant to seek health insurance enrollment assistance for their children.
  • The initial collaboration resulted in a lasting relationship between the Children’s Health Initiative and the city. Both agencies intend to continue working together.

The city and county Children’s Health Initiative also worked with nonprofits, schools, teachers and health plans help residents at the enrollment events.

Local residents regard city staff as a trusted resource by the residents surrounding the community centers. Sensitivity to resident concerns about any activity that might negatively impact their immigration status was a primary consideration in designing the activities. Consequently city staff helped inform residents about the events and affordable health insurance options, linking families to the Children’s Health Initiative when appropriate. For example, city staff telephoned residents and canvassed the neighborhoods personally to advertise the enrollment events and let residents know that the event would not affect their immigration status. Spanish-language radio helped reach residents who had limited reading skills in English and Spanish.

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