Friday Update 3-21-14

Greetings faithful readers. With only 10 days left to sign up for health care, we have encouraged, cajoled, pleaded and begged. Okay, time to pull out all the stops and enlist the help of your pets. Some serious pug rappin' goin' on in this one. Watch the video, sign up (or help a friend sign up) for health coverage and then get to readin' Friday Update! 

Most important reads for this week

Network faithful - weigh in on the Keeping All Student's Safe Act! 
Yep, we're running this post again... and again... and again. As we announced last month, Senator Tom Harkin has introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASA), vowing to push forward with this bill "either as a stand-alone piece of legislation or by incorporating it into a bigger bill." The bill puts the contentious issue back on the front burner in Congress after the House passed a similar bill in 2010 and a previous Senate bill stalled. Make no mistake; getting the KASA bill through will be an uphill battle so your continued advocacy on this issue is important. While we think the introduction and passage of this proposed bill should be a no-brainer, much more public support is needed. And that means you! We have made it super easy for you to do so take 5 minutes and let your voice be heard. 

Use the Families USA resources to help people get health coverage by March 31 
Network faithful should note that we are days away from the end of the first open enrollment period for marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. March 31 will be here before we know it. With time left and the numbers of enrolled surging past 5 million we should not stop now. Let's promote the heck out of this and stay focused on the target of 6 million by March 31. 

Rhode Island comes up with unique approach to enrollment - Nagtoolkit.com 
Apologies in advance to the young adults of Rhode Island... The state's exchange, HealthSource RI has launched NagToolkit.com, a website devoted to offering a social media tutorial for parents to help reach their kids on Twitter, Snapchat and Vine, and even stalk them on OKCupid or Tinder with messages about enrolling in health care. Heads up youth in Rhode Island - You have been warned. Get coverage! 

My experience with Obamacare 
A must-read comic strip by Jen Sorensen, Kaiser Family Foundation. In a humorous way, Jen walks through her process for getting health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. 

Cracked, not broken: The Kevin Hines story - Featured at the Georgetown Training Institutes 
Kevin Hines is a reminder that every life is a gift, and he has reached many national and international audiences with his story of an unlikely survival and will to live. When Kevin was 19 years old, two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he attempted to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of 33 to survive the fall and is the only survivor who is actively spreading the message of living mentally healthy around the country and the globe. Kevin has become an award-winning international speaker, author, and mental health advocate. He has been featured in the critically acclaimed film, The Bridge, and has appeared on Larry King Live, 20/20, Anderson Cooper 360, and Good Morning America, among others. You can hear his story in person by registering for the Georgetown University Training Institutes taking place in Washington, DC July 16 – 20 in Washington, DC. Check out the incredible lineup of speakers by visiting the Training Institute website. It's gonna be a good one. See you in July! 

RWJ webinar: County Health Rankings 2014 
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will be releasing its County Health Rankings 2014 next Wednesday, March 26th.  Learn all about it on a webinarscheduled on the 26th from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (EDT).  "For the first time ever, this year's Rankings release will include a Key Findings report highlighting trends at the regional and national level.  This report will offer an in-depth look at how five featured measures-children in poverty, college attendance, preventable hospital stays, smoking, and physical inactivity-are influencing health nationwide." 

Groundbreaking new website launches, giving public access to measures of child wellbeing and equity throughout the U.S. 
The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management has launched a new online data and analysis tool, providing unprecedented insight into wellbeing and equity among the ever-more diverse child population in the United States. The site, diversitydatakids.org, allows users to create customized profiles, rankings and maps that make data visual and digestible. It also features a neighborhood-level child opportunity index, the first of its kind, developed in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. This index allows users to view interactive maps of the opportunities that are available to children in their own neighborhoods; a story that is often strikingly different by race/ethnicity. This one is well worth checking out! 

Enrolling eligible children & teens in Medicaid and CHIP year round 
Individuals who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP can enroll in health coverage any day of the year. The Open Enrollment period for qualified health plans in the Marketplace is coming to a close – but it's important to be sure families with Medicaid-eligible children and teens know that it's not too late to apply for coverage. Parents who are eligible for Medicaid can sign up as well! 

Request for Wraparound Evaluation and Quality Improvement Assistance Available due April 1 
The Technical Assistance Network for Children's Behavioral Health (The TA Network) and the National Wraparound Initiative (NWI), along with the University of Washington Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team (WERT), are offering an opportunity for current SAMHSA-funded system of care grantees to receive individualized, focused, hands-on technical assistance to increase programs' evaluation and quality improvement capacity, to include creating an evaluation plan, collecting and analyzing outcomes data, and determining next steps for areas of improvement. Sounds like a great opportunity – get on it grantees!

Paul Gionfriddo named President and CEO of Mental Health America 
The Children's Mental Health Network extends a hearty welcome to Paul Gionfriddo, newly appointed President & CEO of Mental Health America. Judging by the press release we just received, Mental Health America should be in good hands. We can't wait to see what new child mental health initiatives emerge from one of the oldest and staunchest supporters of mental health in America. Good on ya Paul. We raise our coffee mugs in salute!

Items still cooking for next week 
2015 budget review and Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. Hang in there Network faithful!


Is Friday Update workin' for ya?

A big THANK YOU for reading and participating in Friday Update each and every week. Our promise to you is that we will work to improve and expand our coverage of pertinent issues for children's mental health advocates, families, policy makers and just plain folk who care about making our communities stronger. So in the spirit of innovation and change what would you do to improve Friday Update for 2014? Send us your ideas. We are grateful for any and all feedback especially for ideas of how we can improve upon what we offer you. Not signed up yet to receive Friday Update every week? Sign up now and get the latest information you need to help you improve services for children and families. Forward a copy of this Update to a colleague and be a part of spreading the love about children's mental health far and wide. Just be sure to give us a wee bit of credit, okay? 

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO 

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