Making sure KIDS COUNT

By Hilary Gee, Director of Health Policy at Kansas Action for Children

Kids walking to schoolEach fall, Kansas Action for Children releases a report on child well-being for the state of Kansas, as well as for each of the 105 counties. These reports cover how Kansas kids are faring in more than 20 different measures of child well-being, including health, education and economic stability.

These yearly reports are an important resource for advocates, policymakers, and others throughout the state. In my role as director of health policy, I interpret the data and work with partner organizations around the state.

Here are some notable data points from this year’s release:

  • After years of progress, the on-time immunization rate for 2 year olds has dropped dramatically from 72 percent to just 61 percent. Immunization protects not only children but infants who are too young for vaccinations, and anyone with compromised immunity.
  • Enrollment in Medicaid, an important program that provides health insurance to poor children, is declining. Administrative changes to Medicaid appear to be making the program harder to access for Kansas’ poorest children.
  • Although child poverty has grown from 17 percent to 21 percent over the past five years, far fewer children are able to access TANF, a program that benefits our poorest families. Policy changes have led to decreased caseloads, even though the childhood poverty rate hasn’t decreased significantly.

At Kansas Action for children, the data from KIDS COUNT is the foundation for our policy work. This year our priorities are:

  • Establish registered dental practitioners
  • Restore the Children’s Initiatives Fund
  • Improve Child Care Assistance Policy

As the state is confronted by growing budget shortfalls, we’ll be speaking up for Kansas kids. To learn more about KAC, visit or sign up for updates.



@Bryan I agree with you, we should guide our kids to help them achieve their goals in life.

Child Care is one of the noblest works that we can contribute to our society. Helping the kids to make their dreams come true and seeing the smile on their faces’ worth the effort to raise the foundation. My deepest appreciation to this foundation at Kansas!

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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



About Bridget's Blog

Bridget McCandless

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP, HCF President/CEO

Bridget McCandless is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She shares her thoughts and perspectives on health and policy issues that impact the health of the community as a whole.

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