Voting is one of the tools we have in our hands to create a more just and equitable world. Our democracy depends on our participation. Voting matters, and elections have consequences for kids even though this has hardly been mentioned by any candidates.
Earlier this month, we arranged meetings between leaders from the programs we support across the country and congressional representatives from their communities to advocate for the needs of children.
On the top of our list was our core belief that ALL children should grow up in a society where everyone has equitable access to healthcare, food, safe housing, and all the things that create a joyful life.
In speaking with policy makers we put forward that concrete action is needed to create this kind of society, including anti-racist policies that acknowledge the injustices impacting children and famlies in communities of color.
When we think about children’s health and well being here’s what we think matters most for kids in this election:
Increasing Access to Healthcare
Health coverage should be provided for all children regardless of immigration status – full stop.
Too many children lack access to high-quality physical and mental healthcare, threatening their wellbeing for their entire lives. A child should not go without care because of their zip code, their race, their family’s income, or for any other reason.
There are several ways to increase access to care, including:
- Strengthening technology access that facilitates telehealth services to make sure providers and patients can connect.
- Expanding insurance coverage, like Medicaid, and making sure ALL CHILDREN have health insurance.
- Ensuring the availability of health professionals by supporting programs like the National Health Service Corps that brings medical providers to areas where doctors are in short supply.
Expanding Broadband Access
At a time when so many essential services rely on internet access, inequitable access to broadband is unacceptable.
Access to the internet is such an important communication tool that the United Nations declared it a human right. But a digital divide exists in this country, leaving many underinvested communities cut off. An estimated 16 million children, or 30% of all K–12 public school students, live in households without an internet connection, a device adequate for distance learning, or both.* Without broadband internet access, children and families like those served by our partners across the county are unable to access services that are essential during this pandemic, such as: online learning and telehealth access for primary care and mental health support.
The Safety of Children at the Border
Immigration authorities should not separate children from their parents nor place children in detention.
This issue is paused while the border is closed, but both the separation of children from their parents and the detention of children as a tool of law enforcement are inhumane, counterproductive, and threatening to the short- and long-term health of children.
COVID-19 has made it clear that we cannot ignore the inequities and injustices that harm children in marginalized communities. We urge you to listen carefully and see which candidates have the best interest of kids at heart, and who is just kidding.
This election is a chance for all of us to speak out about the kind of world we want to build for our children. We know that you, like us, will be thinking of them when you cast your ballot.
*Source: Common Sense Media