COVID-19 Updates

>>>COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Updates2020-03-31T12:38:06-06:00

Health Care Equity and Access

We are working with our health advocate partners to call on local, state and national leaders for immediate steps to ensure all Texans can:

  • Stay home when they are sick, or to care for family members who are sick.
  • Stay home when schools are closed, to self-quarantine or otherwise comply with public health directives.
  • Access testing and treatment, without fear of economic costs.
  • Be protected from exposure to infection on the job.
  • Take all the life-saving steps above without families sustaining serious economic harm.

Caring for Each Other and Our Communities

At both the national and state-office levels, the Children’s Defense Fund is:

  • Asking all employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
  • Suspending all public meetings and gatherings and ending work-related travel.
  • Encouraging all employees to practice social distancing to help prevent community spread of the virus.
  • Making sure to support and care for each other, even from a distance.

While we make these changes in “how” we function, we are committed keeping all of our high-impact work moving forward.

Child Health Outreach and Enrollment

For nearly our entire existence we have worked directly in communities to connect uninsured children to affordable health coverage, through Children’s Medicaid, CHIP or other local options. Currently we have teams of community health workers in East Texas and in the Rio Grande Valley working every day to sign eligible children up for care. These efforts have a renewed sense of urgency as we work to ensure families will have the health coverage they need for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

The federal government is making new options available to states to make access to CHIP and Medicaid easier and more flexible. We want Texas to take full advantage of these tools. Our teams on the ground will be focused on making families aware of, and helping them take advantage of, these changes. At the same time we know our ability to host community health fairs or other in-person assistance events is likely to be severely limited. To overcome this limitation, we are quickly developing “virtual” assistance tools and a public education plan.

CDF Beat the Odds® and our 20th Anniversary Celebration

Based on guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as current Harris County guidelines regarding large gatherings, we are disappointed to report that our 20th Anniversary Dinner Celebration is canceled. This very special gathering, set for April 16, 2020, also included our annual Beat the Odds Scholarship Awards. Ultimately the safety and well-being of our scholars, donors, friends and guests is the top priority, so in the best interest of all, we will modify to a Virtual Celebration.

The Virtual Celebration will allow us to recognize our amazing 2020 Beat the Odds Scholarship honorees with an online presentation of their awards the evening of Thursday, April 16th, so you will be able to view their video stories, which we know will bring great light and joy when we need it most. We are also setting up a feature to make it possible for viewers to support these students with college essentials as they head off to college — watch for more details on that!

We will send you a link to the broadcast which we ask you forward to the guests you planned to bring to the dinner, or feel free to send us their email and we can reach out directly. (Please email Youth Programs Coordinator Clarissa Webb, cwebb@childrensdefense.org, with contact information or questions).

This event is our only annual fundraiser and the proceeds support not only our Beat the Odds Scholarship program but all our work to support children and families across Texas. The cancellation of this event does not change the need to support these deserving groups. Our attention now turns to assisting BTO scholars who have been sent home from college, many of whom don’t have the means to make a surprise plane reservation or perhaps the technology to continue their virtual at-home studies.

We are also working to connect uninsured children and families in Texas to the health care services they will desperately need in coming months. These areas of focus mean your support matters more than ever. To those of you who have already made donations and pledges, we thank you! To all those who follow and believe in our work, please consider giving today as we ramp up our response to this unprecedented public health challenge.

CDF Freedom Schools®

CDF-Texas helps oversee 15 CDF Freedom Schools sites across the state, serving nearly 1,000 students. This innovative program provides a summer literacy and cultural enrichment curriculum that boosts student motivation to read, generates positive attitudes toward learning, and connects children and families to resources in their communities. We are currently planning for the upcoming summer but will await guidance from our national office and any relevant directives from state and local public health authorities.

Our other priorities will also continue. We remain dedicated to ensuring that young Texans have a voice in our political system and get the support they need to get out and vote. We are also speaking up for migrant children and families who will be among those most at risk during this pandemic.

Sign up for our newsletters (immigration & youth civic education and engagement) to stay up to speed on these initiatives.

Resources for Families with Children

Coronavirus Information:

Educational Resources:

Take Action:

Local Resources

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. While we are all being asked to practice social distancing, let us not forget that it is social solidarity that will help us face this challenge together with creativity, compassion and kindness.

Thank you for your enduring support.

Explore Our Policy Priorities

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