Speak Now for Kids a place for parents to connect



The Children’s Hospital Association recently launched a new online community to give people who care about children a place to connect and be part of movement to affect positive change for children’s health care. Speak Now for Kids is a nonpartisan, online advocacy network designed to help raise public awareness of the unique challenges children and families face in our changing health care system. Advocates are encouraged to: interact with other champions for children’s health by learning about issues affecting kids’ health; exchange information through an online forum; and take action in support of public policies that benefit kids and families.
The foundation of the network is stories told by advocates — parents, patients, grandparents, health care providers and others — who have been moved to act on behalf of a child, such as the parents of Lily Putney. Lily was born healthy and developmentally normal in 1998 but everything changed when Lily was 15 months old. Hospitalized for a series of seizures, Lily was eventually diagnosed with “presumed viral encephalitis” (an inflammation of the brain) which led to a seizure disorder, developmental delays and cerebral palsy. As Lily began to face challenges within the health care system, her parents became advocates for her health care needs.
“While the U.S. health care system is currently undergoing change, it remains focused on addressing the health care needs of adults,” said Mark Wietecha, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Association. “By joining Speak Now for Kids, patients, families and caregivers can tell their personal stories and take action on key legislative issues, keeping Congress informed about the challenges children face and public policy solutions that can address those challenges.”

Individual advocates are encouraged to visit www.speaknowforkids.org and become a champion for children’s health by submitting their names and zip codes. This action places the advocate on a U.S. map and aligns the advocate with his or her congressional district and local children’s hospital. Champions are asked to submit a story on why children’s health care is important to them in print, video, audio or pictorial format and read what others in the community have to say about their experiences.

Champions are welcome to further explore the site by learning about current issues impacting children’s health through news clips, blog posts and an issues page; and interacting with other advocates and experts on an online forum.  Champions also have the option to communicate with Congress, asking their legislators to take action on a specific piece of legislation that has impact on children’s health care.

Since launching in the beginning of November, Speak Now for Kids currently counts nearly 200 people among its advocates and has collected dozens children health care stories.

Speak Now for Kids is a program of the Children’s Hospital Association and counts more than 200 children’s hospital partners nationwide. In addition, Speak Now for Kids lists the following organizations as supporters: Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Miracle Network, the Children’s Partnership, Families USA and First Focus.

The Children’s Hospital Association advances child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. Representing more than 220 children’s hospitals, the Association advances public policy enabling hospitals to better serve children, and is the premier resource for pediatric data and analytics driving improved clinical and operational performance of member hospitals.