Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
 Happy 2020! 

 January marks the time of year when legislators return in both Kansas and Missouri for the start of their respective state legislative sessions. As with personal resolutions, our hope is for a year healthier than the last and both governing bodies have the opportunity to deliver for their most vulnerable citizens. At the top of Nurture KC’s policy wish list is greater access to health care for those we serve. In Kansas, this means expanding Medicaid (KanCare) eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level so that our mothers have access to care before and after pregnancy, improving their health and that of their children.  Missouri and Kansas are 2 of only 14 remaining states that have failed to take this important step in prioritizing maternal and infant health. The data is clear. Medicaid expansion states have experienced a decline in infant mortality that is double that of non-expansion states. In Missouri, the road to expansion is through the referendum process, which is currently underway. In addition to expansion, flaws within the current Medicaid eligibility system must be addressed. In Missouri, over 100,000 Medicaid recipients have lost eligibility since 2018, a majority of them children. According to Kids Win Missouri, the jump in the uninsured rate percentage for Missouri kids went from 3.6% in 2016 to 5.3% in 2018, an increase of 46%, making it the highest percentage rate increase in the nation. Barriers to enrollment must be eliminated to ensure our children access to appropriate care.

Another key priority for Nurture KC in the upcoming legislative session is to maintain strong immunization requirements. Vaccination has transformed public health in stopping preventable disease, improving the health of families. Efforts to roll back this progress and endanger our children will be met with scientifically proven data that vaccination is key to providing a healthy environment for mothers and children. We support policies that strengthen immunization compliance and oppose policies that hamper this important disease prevention tool. 

Stay tuned for more policy updates throughout the legislative session as well as information on local initiatives. The Nurture KC website will soon feature an enhanced legislative page where you may find updates on bills of interest, identify your state lawmakers, and connect to partners who share your interest in good public policy. 

Tracy Russell,
Executive Director, Nurture KC
Bipartisan Medicaid Expansion Deal

This month, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and GOP Senate Majority Leader, Republican Jim Denning together revealed a plan for expanding Medicaid in Kansas.
“We’re excited to see this bipartisan solution to expand Medicaid health insurance coverage to 130,000 deserving Kansans,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “This is the first step in a lengthy process, but promising progress. In looking at other states that have expanded Medicaid, the data shows improved health outcomes for moms and babies – which is what Nurture KC is all about.”
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported this plan links “elements of Medicaid legislation passed by the 2017 Legislature and vetoed by Gov. Sam Brownback, a bill adopted in 2019 by the House, a proposal shared by Denning in October and ideas long championed by the governor. It would extend health coverage to as many as 150,000 people and apply to Kansas families with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $29,435 for a family of three. Their bill called for implementation by Jan. 1, 2021.”
Read the full article to learn more. [Photo from The Topeka Capital-Journal ]
Partner Spotlight: Happy Bottoms helps fill a big need for families we serve

Meet Enimia. She’s raising 4 incredible kids, ages 1 to 10, while making ends meet as a part-time cook. Her husband is a painter. How has Nurture KC’s Healthy Start program impacted their lives?
“By the time we pay rent, groceries, utility bills, car payment and daycare, we have almost no money left,” Enimia says. “We do not qualify for child-care assistance or food stamps, so having access to resources through Nurture KC is crucial for us. We are especially grateful for the diapers they provide us with each month through Happy Bottoms. It makes a big difference!”
Nurture KC’s work is made possible by the generous financial support of our partners, such as Happy Bottoms. Check out all our partners at
Healthy Start Participant Pays It Forward

A Healthy Start participant named Elena was grateful to reach her 2019 goals, thanks to the program … and the people behind the program providing one-on-one support. So, she decided to give back to other Healthy Start participants and donated five gift baskets for the holidays. Recipients were chosen at random. (Pictured at right is one of the lucky winners, Jaqueline.)

“I’m so proud of all Elena has accomplished this year,” says Marcela Metcalf, Nurture KC Community Health Worker. “She is taking ESL classes and working now. Also, she went on her postpartum delivery doctor’s visit, is looking out for her and her baby’s health and passed her driver’s license test. It was an amazing moment when she told me she feels empowered and motivated to succeed in life!”

As the quote by Oscar Wilde says: "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."
Mark Your Calendar

Wednesday, February 12:
PICH Meeting, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
825 Euclid Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64121

Thursday, February 13:
MAIC Steering Committee Meeting, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Nurture KC Office Conference Room
1111 W. 39th Street, Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64111

Wednesday, March 4:
MAIC Quarterly Spring Meeting, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
KCMO Health Department
2400 Troost Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Friday, April 3:
Child Safety Initiative Conference, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110
Nurture KC appreciates the support of our members and partners who renewed their memberships this past month:

Renewing Individuals:
Amy Blunt and Daniel Havens

Renewing Organizations:
Project Eagle and Infant Loss Resources ($250 Donors)
JOIN US and help support families
Join or renew your membership today.
Thank you for your support!
Donations in any amount will help us continue our work of improving the lives of KC mentro area families. For detailed information about our programs, CLICK HERE.
1111 W. 39th St., Ste 100
Kansas City MO 64111