Singer/songwriter Paul Simon, pediatrician and child advocate Dr. Irwin Redlener, and program designer Karen Redlener founded Children's Health Fund in 1987 after touring the Martinique Hotel, a shelter for homeless families in New York City, and witnessing the conditions under which homeless children lived. The New York Children's Health Project launched with one "big blue bus," a state-of-the-art mobile medical clinic that would bring care directly to those children with the least access.
Over the years, Children's Health Fund has replicated this approach across the country. Today, the National Network provides care through 24 innovative pediatric care programs and affiliates that serve children in poor rural and urban communities across the country. Each program is affiliated with a major teaching hospital or community health center, and reaches out to children in federally designated health professional shortage areas. This network has cared for over 350,000 children in some of the most disadvantaged rural and urban communities in the nation.
ADVOCACY AND PARTNERSHIP
Children's Health Fund has also campaigned in support of expanding health insurance coverage for low-income children, as well as public health programs that provide a critical safety net for millions of medically underserved children. Children's Health Fund has worked in partnership with the White House and Congress to promote access to health care and solutions for homelessness, asthma, poor nutrition and obesity.
In 1994, Children's Health Fund launched Kids First, Kids Now!, a public education and advocacy campaign that focused national attention on the need for a true health care safety net for all of America’s children. Kids First, Kids Now! played a key role in the national advocacy effort that resulted in the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the most important advance in child health care access since the inception of Medicaid in 1965.