Kentucky Coalition For Healthy Children Newsletter

Issue 4 | September 2022

Working collaboratively on policies and practices in and around schools that promote equity and improve the physical, social, and emotional health and well-being of children, youth, and families.
The opinions and viewpoints expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the positions of all coalition partners.
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KCHC Member Highlights

OP-ED | Children carry more baggage to school than their backpack can hold, here's how to help

Dr. Joe Bargione of the Bounce Coalition and member of the KCHC Steering Committee recently published recently published this op-ed in the Courier-Journal calling for and providing details on addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma.

Campaign | Start @ 9: HPV Vaccine Series

In connection with the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable’s recent call to action to encourage beginning the HPV vaccine series at age 9 for completion by age 13, several KCHC Steering Committee members are engaged in Kentucky’s “Start @ 9” campaign for HPV vaccination. Rates of HPV vaccination are low in Kentucky, despite clear evidence that vaccination for HPV is an important and effective way to prevent cancer. The American Cancer Society has set a goal for 80% of adolescents to complete the vaccine series by age 13.

Virtual Event | The 9th Annual System of Care Academy, September 27-29

Register for the 9th Annual System of Care Academy, which is taking place virtually September 27-29. Sponsored by KCHC Steering Committee member, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the event will provide insights into youth mental health, including specific sessions on disaster-related trauma, differentiating between poverty and neglect, health equity, moving from ACEs to PACEs (Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences), and more.

Event Series | ThriveKY Hosts Regional “Advocacy for Thriving Communities” Series

Catch ThriveKY, “a coalition of organizations who pursue systemic change to assure that the commonwealth meets the basic needs of every Kentuckian” led by KCHC executive partner Kentucky Voices for Health, on the road this summer as they give state and federal policy updates on issues impacting the health and wellbeing of Kentuckians. Dates this month include: September 6 in Hopkinsville; September 13 in Bowling Green; September 20 in Somerset; September 27 in Corbin. To see more details, click here.

Virtual Forum | 2022 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum - October 17

The Foundation for a Health Kentucky's 2022 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, Education as a Cornerstone of Kentucky’s Health Outcomes, will look at the connection between educational opportunities and health outcomes of people in the Commonwealth.

Policy Campaign | Launching the Journey to Success Campaign in Kentucky

Kentucky Youth Advocates and True Up recently launched the Journey to Success Campaign, a nation-wide effort for federal policy reform to better serve young adults exiting foster care. Goals of the campaign include providing targeted support available up to age 26 in order to help young people complete their education and workforce training, engaging young people with experience in foster care in decision- and policy-making processes, and otherwise fostering stability among young people aging out of foster care.

Event | 11th Annual Pediatric Behavioral and Mental Health Symposium

Geared towards those working in children’s health or education, this year’s symposium will address the impact of prejudice on pediatric mental health. Topics include weight and appearance discrimination, discrimination against LGBTQ+ students, and discrimination based on immigrant status. This event will provide continuing education credits for many attendees.

Event | Kentucky’s Farm to School Challenge 2.0

The Kentucky Farm to School Network recently launched the Kentucky Farm to School Challenge 2.0, which tasks schools with completing one activity in each of the three areas of farm to school: school gardens, education, and local procurement. The challenge began on August 15, 2022 and will run through April 30, 2023. For more information, visit the Kentucky Horticulture Council website and see more details about the Kentucky Farm to School Network below.  

What's New in Children's Health

Special Feature | Back-to-School: Federal Guidance for Schools and Advocates

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released two new informational bulletins of interest for our area. Information on School-Based Services in Medicaid: Funding, Documentation and Expanding Services discusses the unique roll that schools may play through school-based services (SBS) in enrolling eligible youth in various state and federal programs such as Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP in Kentucky) and in connecting them with necessary services such as behavioral health services.

Leveraging Medicaid, CHIP, and Other Federal Programs in the Delivery of Behavioral Health Services for Children and Youth is a refresher for stakeholders who are looking for information on how Medicaid and CHIP funding can be used to provide quality behavioral health services to eligible youth.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made this webpage available for those seeking information on child nutrition in the coming school year and published this FAQ for questions about school meal change.

Finally, the Census Bureau produced the 2022 Back-to-School Guide for Teachers, which is an interactive tool that teachers can use to introduce statistics into the classroom. 

Publication | Offering Sexual and Reproductive Health Services to Adolescents in School Settings Can Create More Equitable Access

This report relays findings that schools offering sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services is an important way for teenagers to receive this care, but that there are disparities in the type of services students receive based on race and ethnicity despite no differences in sexual experience or activity among the students. Researchers also found that adolescents could be better served by increasing the number of school-based health clinics (SBHCs) that provide confidential contraceptive services, providing full information on confidentiality and any costs associated with services, and comprehensive sexual education, among other recommendations.

Blog | A Reimagined Vision for Black Child and Family Well-being From National and Local Leaders

Check out this blog post and the webinar to which it refers for insights from leading advocates on racial and social justice on promoting the wellbeing of Black children and families. 

In Your Community

Kentucky Farm to School Network is a “win-win-win” as the Farm to School Challenge enters its second year

The Kentucky Farm to School Challenge 2.0 is underway. The Kentucky Farm to School Network is now a coordinated network with private, state, and federal dollars to facilitate coordination between farmers and schools. The network launched the Kentucky Farm to School Challenge last fall and saw significant participation; sixty schools participated in the challenge, and twenty-three completed the challenge. Over the course of the school year, participating schools are called to complete one activity in each of the three areas of farm to school:

(1) Procurement/Cafeteria, (2) School Gardens, and (3) Agriculture Education. Schools completing the challenge are then entered into a drawing for recognition and prizes. 

Connie Lemley of Frankfort Independent Schools spoke positively about her schools’ involvement in last year’s challenge; the schools served local foods many times throughout the year, including fruits, vegetables, and grains students helped grow and harvest. At Second Street School, students installed a raised bed and planted chard and garlic and started an after-school garden club.

Toni Jackson, the food service director for Trimble County Schools, echoed these sentiments. One project she found the students particularly enjoyed was one in which a nearby greenhouse donated seedlings for the students to pot in reused milk cartons. Some students ended up with plants that were over a foot tall by the end of the school year. “My long-term wish… is that one day in the future, one of these children as an adult, will remember what the school nutrition program did for them and the joy it brought them.” said Jackson.

The challenge is not the only tool the network has used to connect Kentucky’s youth to local food and food producers. The network received a NIFA Food and Ag Service-Learning Project Grant last fall, which has allowed the network to award taste-testing mini grants to enable schools and community partners to conduct taste testing activities with local fruits and vegetables. The network will also offer promotional signage for National Farm to School Month this October.

“Farm to School is good for the students, good for the farmer, and good for the community—it truly is a win-win-win,” explained McKenzie Fox, the Kentucky Horticulture Council’s lead on farm to school initiatives. “By purchasing and serving local food in school cafeterias, food service staff are keeping money in their own community and serving students high quality fresh food. Through education and school gardens, students can learn about where their food comes from and how to eat healthy. We believe farm to School builds lifelong supporters of KY agriculture, which means long-term, these young students will grow into adults who shop at the farmers market and who may also, in turn, serve their children healthy local food.” 

Click here to register for the Kentucky Farm to School Challenge 2.0.

To keep up with the Kentucky Farm to School Network, check out and follow their active Facebook page, and contact McKenzie Fox to receive a monthly newsletter be invited to bi-monthly Zoom meetings. 

Dates to Know:

September 16: Taste Test Mini-Grant Applications Deadline


National Farm to School Month

KY Crunch

Take Action!

KCHC Steering Committee 2022-2023 Priority Issue: Children’s Mental Health 

The KCHC steering committee recently voted to prioritize child and youth mental health in their policy and campaign activities this year. Mental health practitioners and researchers have been sounding the alarm on children’s mental health since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and while the pandemic did not create the children’s mental health crisis, it has exacerbated existing problems and laid bare many of the challenges in addressing the emergency. Existing problems include a focus on treating rather than preventing poor mental health, insufficient funding, a serious shortage of children’s mental health providers and inconsistent provider quality, geographic constraints and concentrated poverty, and systemic discrimination against marginalized groups, among whom early research during the pandemic shows that anxiety and depression have spiked significantly. The NIH recently reported that suicide has become the second leading cause of death among children between the ages of 10-14 in the US.  

To lay the foundation for its work on the topic, the steering committee has invited speakers from among its members to present during monthly meetings. Dr. Joe Bargione and Dr. Beverly Winsch of the Bounce Coalition presented on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed care and creating supports to resilience in children and youth, as well as addressing Adverse Community Environments. Dr. Vestena Robbins, Senior Executive Advisor for Innovation & Implementation Support at the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, presented on child and youth mental health programs available at the federal and state level. Dr. Sheila Schuster, a leading mental health and health care advocate in Kentucky and Executive Director of the Advocacy Action Network, with assistance from PhD candidate Vanessa Lamoretti, shared her expertise on understanding and improving children’s mental health, the mental health systems, as well as being an advocate for Kentucky’s youth.

2022 Interim Session

Keep up with the Kentucky General Assembly during the 2022 Interim Session. The committee meeting schedule can be found here, and you can watch meetings live on YouTube (EDT).

In Case You Missed It

CNN | More kids to get access to mental and physical health treatment under new Biden plan

WFPL-FM | Ky. students urge legislators to act on youth mental health recommendations

Public News Service | Natural Disasters Compound Mental Health Issues for KY Kids

KY Policy | Most Kentucky Teachers and School Staff Start Year Without Meaningful Raises

Kentucky Health News | Kentucky children’s well-being ranks 37th in U.S., foundation says

Cook With Us!

Follow along as we make healthy, kid-friendly recipes with a focus on seasonal ingredients.

Treat yourself to something cool: Peach-Yogurt Ice Pops


Contact Us!
Do you have an upcoming event or exciting news to celebrate with our coalition? Please email Chloe Atwater at to be featured in an upcoming KCHC Newsletter!
Amalia Mendoza | KCHC Newsletter | 502-326-2583 |
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