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City of Santa Clarita – Local Agencies Linking Eligible Families to Affordable Health Coverage

Case Story

Community: City of Santa Clarita (Los Angeles County)

Population: 177,045


Partnering with the Communities for Healthy Kids program at the Institute for Local Government, the City of Santa Clarita increased opportunities for families to enroll their eligible children in no and low cost health coverage. Working through one of the city’s neighborhood community centers, and collaborating with schools and community organizations, the city distributed information about affordable children’s health insurance to parents and provided direct assistance in completing the health insurance applications.

Health Connection

Kids with health insurance are more likely to get the care they need to ensure healthy development and become productive members of the community. Healthy kids do better in school – and when they are in school, they are less likely to get into trouble. In the long run, investing in children’s health insurance saves taxpayers money.

Program Highlights

  • City identified the neighborhood community center as a safe gathering place recognized by the community as a focal point for outreach to families.
  • Outreach through diverse channels (bus ads, multiple community events, Boys & Girls Clubs, Worksource Employment Center, Community College childcare center, and inserts in paychecks through Temp Employment Agency) contributed to the success of the city’s efforts.
  • The city supported the education and training of a staff member to become a Certified Application Assistant (CAA) - trained to aid families in filling out Healthy Families and Medi-Cal health coverage applications – assisting families in completing the health insurance application forms.

Lessons Learned

  • Working through established community resources, such as a neighborhood center, is a great way to focus activities to the target audience, providing familiar places and faces to encourage participation.
  • It is essential to consider the potential literacy limitations of the target population and provide outreach that does not involve reading skills. Exploring the use of radio and other verbal messaging is a promising strategy.
  • Having a Certified Application Assistant (CAA) on staff provides families with the flexibility to come in as walk-ins and work through the insurance application process.

Resources to Learn More

The Rest of the Story…


The City of Santa Clarita saw the Communities for Healthy Kids (CHK) effort as a fit for the city and the answer to a need within the community. Estimates of uninsured children, age nineteen and younger in Los Angeles County in 2005 were 122,000 [California Health Interview Survey (CHIS)]. As a CHK community, the City of Santa Clarita eagerly undertook a wide variety of outreach activities to reach families of potentially eligible children.

The goal of the city’s efforts was to both educate families about the health coverage options available to them and to provide multiple and varied enrollment opportunities to accommodate the needs and preferences of residents. The city supported the education and training of a staff member to become Certified Application Assistant (CAA) who was able to help families complete enrollment applications. With guidance from CHK staff, the city partnered with local health plans and the county Children’s Health Initiative to engage in multiple outreach and enrollment activities. Enrollment events are opportunities for families to enroll in health coverage. Often, health coverage providers, local health care providers, and Certified Application Assistants are at these events to facilitate enrollment, provide resources and education, and answer questions.

Extensive outreach activities identified one of the city’s neighborhood community centers as a location viewed by residents as a place to learn about health coverage options and assistance. With the Newhall Community Center already identified as a safe place for community members to gather, it made sense for Santa Clarita to provide outreach and enrollment assistance at the center. Trusted agency staff members were able to personally invite families to participate and served as effective ambassadors for the activity. Offering application assistance and resources by appointment as well as for walk-ins proved successful in reaching the most residents.

Applicability to Other Communities

Cities can play a role in building awareness in the community about low- and no-cost health insurance for children. By collaborating with community groups and using existing resources to conduct outreach without creating expensive new programs, cities have the ability to be an effective conduit of information.

Flyers and surveys can be an effective way to get information to residents. Cities can piggyback on existing activities that attract potential enrollees, such as little league registration, using that setting to conduct outreach for other services, such as affordable health insurance for kids.

Find out more about ILG’sCommunities for Healthy KidsProgram

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