National News Roundup
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is scheduled to announce this week that it will award up to $650,000 each to as many as a dozen communities to help improve their immunization rates for young children.
The foundation, the nation's largest health-care philanthropy, is announcing the $9-million campaign in response to data showing that at least 1.2 million children under the age of 2 have not been vaccinated against any disease. Federal officials believe the problem is particularly acute among poor, inner-city children from minority backgrounds.
As part of the "All Kids Count" campaign, up to 20 communities with populations of at least 200,000 can receive one-year planning grants to establish model programs to link hospitals, schools, public-health agencies, and physicians' offices electronically. From this group, as many as 12 communities will receive four-year implementation grants.
The grant program will require each community to develop a plan for entering the names of all children under age 5 into a centralized computer system as well as a method for updating immunization and demographic data.
The Family Resource Coalition, a nationwide network of people and organizations involved in support programs and services for parents and children, has received a $1.2-million federal grant to set up a national resource center.
The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow the Chicago- based group to launch a "National Resource Center on Family Support Programs."
The center is designed to raise public awareness of the availability and value of programs ranging from community resource centers for young families to parenting and adult-education classes. It will also help build support for expanding such programs.
Activities of the center will include: creating a national data base to gather and disseminate information on family- support programs; developing technical assistance and training materials for parents and communities as well as federal, state, and local policymakers; collaborating with other local and national family-related organizations; and forming a network of technical consultants to assist policymakers.
Besides complementing and building on the work of the Family Resource Coalition, the center is "introducing a creative new mechanism to better meet the needs of our constituents in this rapidly growing field of family support," said Judy Langford Carter, the coalition's executive director.