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Improving Access to Public Benefits

Low-income families who access public benefits such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Earned Income Tax Credit and child care subsidies receive substantial assistance in meeting the basic needs of their children. However, many low-income families are not aware of available public benefits. The Southern Institute on Children and Families is respected for developing and implementing initiatives to increase awareness of and improve access to public benefits for low-income families and children.

Our leadership is evident in cutting edge research on improving access to public child health care coverage programs that led to significant reforms on the local, state and national levels. We also directed the nation’s single largest effort to enroll eligible children and adults in public health coverage [Covering Kids (1997-2002) and Covering Kids & Families (2002-2007)]. Additional examples of our efforts to improve access to public benefits appear below:

  • Retention Initiative: Achieving Stability in Medicaid and SCHIP Coverage (Current Initiative): The Retention Initiative is a two-year initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which began in April 2007. The Southern Institute is leading teams from eight states in their efforts to increase the rate of retention of eligible children and adults in Medicaid and SCHIP by encouraging Medicaid and SCHIP programs to adopt changes in policies and procedures designed to improve retention rates. (Learn more)
  • Southern Business Leadership Council (Current Initiative): The Southern Business Leadership Council (SBLC) is a unique effort initiated by the Southern Institute to engage business leaders in the development and promotion of public and private sector strategies to address barriers to stable employment in the low-wage workforce and to achieve greater opportunities for child development. The SBLC is co-chaired by former United States Secretary of Education and former South Carolina Governor Richard W. Riley and Wachovia Executive Vice President Anne Doss. SBLC members represent businesses, corporate philanthropy and local, state and national business organizations. (Learn more)
  • South Carolina Enrollment Broker Project (2007-2008): The Southern Institute partnered with MAXIMUS, a private sector firm, which provides managed care enrollment services to South Carolina Medicaid beneficiaries. The Southern Institute provided specialized consultation and technical assistance on developing a network of community-based organizations across the state that will assist Medicaid beneficiaries in enrolling in the most appropriate health plan available to them; and assisting MAXIMUS and the community-based organizations in identifying barriers to individuals and families self-selecting their health plan in order to reduce the number that are auto-assigned to a plan.
  • Carolina Nutrition Alliance (2004-2007): The Carolina Nutrition Alliance was a grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program, participation through the faith community while improving eligibility processes in three South Carolina Department of Social Services County Offices. The Southern Institute led the alliance, which included Agape Ministries of Charleston and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. (Learn more)
  • Southern Regional Initiative on Child Care (2000-2006): The Southern Regional Initiative on Child Care was a region-wide initiative involving 17 southern states and the District of Columbia that resulted in development of two regional action plans specifying action steps for states, the federal government and businesses to significantly improve access to quality, affordable child care and early education. The Southern Institute tracked both action plans over multiple years to document actions taken by southern states. This effort set the standard for a regional initiative that fosters collaboration across states and achieves significant results. (Learn more)



© 2005-2011 Southern Institute on Children and Families
90-F Glenda Trace, Suite 326
Newnan, GA 30265
(803) 779-2607

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