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California Earns Poor Marks For Children’s Well-Being

San Diego schools score high for health clinics

Photo caption: A child is comforted by an adult, Sept. 6, 2005.

Photo credit: Dan Zen/flickr

A child is comforted by an adult, Sept. 6, 2005.

A new report card on children's well-being gives California bad grades, except in one important category: health insurance.

When it comes to providing health insurance to children, California gets an A-.

But a new report card on children’s well-being from the Oakland-based advocacy group Children Now gives the state poor grades in many other categories.

The report looks at 31 different aspects of children's well-being, from infant and toddler care to juvenile justice.

The A- for health insurance is the highest grade in this year's report.

Children Now's director of research, Jessica Mindnich, said the state is close to making sure all children have health insurance. Later this year, California will expand the Medi-Cal program to some 170,000 children of parents who are in the country illegally.

But as Mindnich explained, having health insurance doesn’t guarantee access to care.

“We know that kids that are on Medi-Cal can have longer wait times, have trouble finding physicians who are taking new patients," she said. "This is especially problematic with oral health.”

The report gives the state a “D plus” for the fact that 98 percent of the state’s schools don’t have a health clinic on campus.

Mindnich said there are some exceptions.

“Like San Diego, for example, has great school-based health services," she said. "But it’s because San Diego as a community has prioritized that, not because it’s something that’s supported across the state.”

Central Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, and Monroe Clark Middle School in City Heights have full-service medical clinics.

The report card says kids who have access to a clinic on campus are more likely to receive immunizations and treatment for chronic illnesses like asthma.

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