Child and Adolescent Health

Children and youth deserve quality, affordable, coordinated and culturally sensitive health services, mental health services and nutrition to learn, grow and thrive.

DC Action for Children is the leading organization evaluating and working toward improvements in the District's comprehensive health services for children and youth.


Where DC Stands

  • The health and education sectors play critical roles in promoting healthy outcomes for child well-being and long-term success in life. Excluding homes, child health systems and schools have the most direct influence on a child’s development.


  • While the District of Columbia saw a statistically significant decline in its child uninsured rate from 2016 to 2017, only 54 percent of children receive coordinated, on-going, comprehensive care within a medical home.


  • By nature of the amount of time children spend in school, schools play a critical role in helping students manage chronic diseases and improving care coordination between health care service within and outside schools and homes.


  • DC Health provides school health services to over 70,000 students in more than 175 DC public and public charter schools. The overarching goal of the District of Columbia School Health Services Program is to improve the health of students, enabling them to thrive in the classroom and beyond by creating greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between education and health.


Our Child and Adolescent Health Agenda

1. Ensure we don't lose ground on children's coverage

Medicaid and DC Healthy Families provide health insurance for DC children and youth; bring federal dollars into the state; and help our kids grow into healthy, productive adults. DC Action for Children is monitoring program policy and enrollment, as well as tracking the number of kids who are receiving consistent care in a medical home. Across the country, more than 840,000 children lost coverage in 2018. Let's ensure we don't lose ground on children's coverage in DC.


2. Evaluate the system of school-based care necessary for students to learn and thrive

In our 2016 needs assessment report, we found that students attending DCPS and DC PCS face a variety of chronic conditions in addition to common childhood ailments that can affect their ability to focus in the classroom. We're currently evaluating the school health services implementation with the goal of improving the coordination of care for all students.


What You Can Do

Join us and stay up-to-date on the results of our monitoring and evaluation of these critical health programs.





Lessons Learned from the 2016 School Health Needs Assessment 

Research from a range of disciplines provides compelling evidence linking the importance of student health with academic performance: when students are healthy, they are better learners. Since all children are required to attend school starting at age five, school health providers are in a unique position to regularly and consistently support student health.


Children’s Mental Health in D.C.: The Mismatch Between Need and Treatment

Child well-being is important for community and economic development in our city. Young children with strong mental health are prepared to develop crucial skills that help build the basis of a prosperous and sustainable society. When we ensure the healthy development of members of the next generation, they will pay that back through productivity and responsible citizenship.


Medicaid and CHIP Provide Coverage to More Than Half of All Children in D.C.

Medicaid and CHIP are crucial parts of the social safety net, providing health insurance coverage to more than half of all children ages 0–21 in D.C.1 and a third of children nationally.2 Without these two programs, more than 97,000 children in the District would have been uninsured in 2010.3 New research indicates that compared with the uninsured, Medicaid recipients are more likely to seek medical treatment, report better physical and mental health and experience less financial stress.4 Protecting Medicaid/CHIP is extremely important to safeguarding the health and well-being of our most vulnerable children. The difficult fiscal environment currently facing both D.C. and the federal government will almost certainly impact the future of public health insurance coverage for children and their families.


Visit our DC KIDS COUNT Data Center



We need you.

Let's work together to break down structural barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential.  Join Us!