Women’s group tackles issue of health care for all children

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Women’s group tackles issue of health care for all children

Sept. 6, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
tparham@flumc.org  Orlando {0733}

NOTE: A headshot of Pam Davis is available at http://www.flumc.info/photo_gallery2.shtml.

An e-Review Feature
By Jenna De Marco**

United Methodist women of the Florida Conference want all children in the state to have access to adequate health care. And they're doing something about it.

Pam Davis

“There should not be any child that goes without health care,” said Pam Davis, social action officer for the conference’s United Methodist Women.

In July, Davis attended the School of Christian Mission, sponsored by the women’s group, at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach.

“There was a letter-writing advocacy event focused on making our voices heard about the lack of adequate health care in this nation,” Davis said. “We sent (more than 600) postcards to the Children’s Defense Fund, which will deliver these to our Washington, D.C., legislators. We want our nation to have a comprehensive health care package for all pregnant women, children and youth.”

This type of activism is taking place on a national level. The Women’s Division of The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has joined the “Healthy Child Campaign: Covering All Children in 2007,” sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund. Davis recommends Florida United Methodists visit the defense fund’s Web site at http://www.childrensdefensefund.org for more information about taking action. 

Davis’ lifelong career as a teacher drives her passion for children’s issues. She’s seen first-hand how adequate health care helps students.
“Healthy children learn better,” Davis said. “If we want our children to grow up healthy and we want our children to be our future generation that’s taking care of us … and to be part of God’s family, then we want the best for them.”

Paulette Monroe, president of the Florida Conference United Methodist Women, speaks to members attending a business session of the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event. Photo by Caryl Kelley. Photo #07-0662.

At the end of the 2006-2007 school year Davis invited Florida Rep. Kelly Skidmore (District 90) to visit her kindergarten class. Skidmore accepted the invitation and read to the students, observed them at work and participated with them in physical education class.
“Our efforts to develop ongoing relationships with our elected officials and just a simple, verbal, open invitation to come visit my class when I was in Rep. Skidmore’s office during Children’s Week made this visit possible,” Davis said. “Hopefully, this is the start of sharing our concerns and celebrations as we recognize the needs of Florida’s children.”

Davis shares this passion with Paulette Monroe, president of the Florida Conference United Methodist Women.
“I work in the public school system, and I see it every day — children suffering from various … little things that go on with them, and parents feel that they can’t take them to the doctor because they don’t have health insurance,” Monroe said. “I feel that’s unacceptable. They should be able to take them to a clinic.”
The goal of the women’s group is to advocate for increased, convenient, affordable access to health insurance, Monroe said. Although the group has not named a specific cost per year for adequate health insurance, Monroe said she would like to see continued improvements in access to and the price of the state-sponsored health insurance program called Florida KidCare, which is for children under age 19.
“I think (the application) should be given to every child so parents can be made aware,” Monroe said.

Applicants interested in the KidCare program may visit its Web site at http://www.floridakidcare.org. Eligibility is based on the child’s age and family income. 

As part of the 2007 Children’s Week festivities, children across the state were asked to make paper cut-outs of their hands and send them to the state capitol in Tallahassee to be hung in the rotunda during the week. Photo by Erik Alsgaard. Photo #07-0663.

Another children’s issue Florida Conference women plan to tackle is housing.
“Our next (plan) is to go into the housing part of it — adequate housing and in a safe place because so many of them spend so much time alone,” Monroe said.
Monroe encourages anyone who is interested in children’s issues to join United Methodist Women in its advocacy efforts. “It has to be a collective number of voices” to make a difference, she said. She also welcomes additional members to the women’s group.
“You do not have to be a member of The United Methodist Church to be part of United Methodist Women, and I encourage any women in Florida to join us and become part of our voice as it pertains to children,” she said. “It’s open to any women who share the same concerns that we have as it relates to children.”


This article relates to Outreach/Justice Issues.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**De Marco is a freelance writer based in Viera, Fla.

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