Improving children’s health on the front lines of care
Children’s HealthWatch is a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers, and children’s health and policy experts committed to improving children’s health in America.

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Extending the Child Tax Credit to Break the Cycle of Poverty

Although taxes may seem outside the scope of medical practice, poverty may be the most important factor affecting the health of patients. Physicians have the unique perspective to demonstrate how economic opportunity enables children…
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U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is 2021 Children's HealthWatch Champion

Originally posted on Woodbridge Town News. Children's HealthWatch, headquartered at Boston Medical Center, has named U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro their 2021 Children’s HealthWatch Champion.  The annual award is given to “a champion…
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More than 101,000 New York City public school students faced homelessness last year

Originally posted on CBS News. A stunning new report by New York City officials highlights a major crisis facing thousands of public school students: the lack of available permanent housing. Dr. Megan Sandel, Boston Medical Center's principal…
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Can the Hunger Vital Sign™ act as a prescreen for other social needs?

Over the past decade, the health care community has demonstrated growing interest in and commitment to addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) and patients’ social needs – the midstream manifestations of the impact of SDOH1 – in…
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Failure to Thrive or Growth Faltering: Medical, Developmental/Behavioral, Nutritional, and Social Dimensions

Practice Gap Beyond recognizing the medical and nonmedical dimensions that often interact to cause childhood growth faltering and malnutrition, it is important to understand the role of pediatric feeding disorders, to screen for and address…
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Housing and Neighborhoods as Root Causes of Child Poverty

Understanding how housing inequities among families with children are rooted in structural racism is important for identifying opportunities to engage in ongoing and collective work as pediatricians to lift children out of poverty. This article…
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Written Testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

On October 1, 2021, Children's HealthWatch submitted testimony in strong support of An Act to lift kids out of deep poverty (H.199/S.96) and An Act concerning public assistance for working families and the creation of a pilot program to address…
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Written Testimony to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means

On October 1, 2021, Children's HealthWatch and the rest of the Healthy Families EITC Coalition submitted testimony to inform the distribution plan for the $4.8 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in Massachusetts. On behalf…

Our Policy Focus Areas

Children’s HealthWatch research and policy analysis specifically focuses on the child health and developmental impacts of economic hardships with a particular focus on food insecurity, unstable housing, health care hardships and inability to afford adequate household energy.

  • Consistent access to food for all family members is crucial for ensuring children are healthy. Food and nutrition assistance programs are an essential cornerstone in supporting the health and well-being of low-income families.

  • Stable housing supports healthy growth and development among young children, and means families are not behind on rent, moving frequently, doubled up, overcrowded, or homeless. Policies that create affordable housing options that provide access to safe, stable housing help ensure young children and their families can thrive and be successful in life.

  • Maintaining consistent utility services so homes are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer is critical for children’s health and safety. Energy supports protect families from the harmful health effects of having their utilities shut off.

  • Health Care Hardships

    When families are forced to choose between paying for health care, such as medical care and prescriptions, and other basic needs such as food, rent, child care, or utility bills, that decision can have an effect on the health and wellbeing of young children. Providing supports necessary to care for children, especially those with special health care needs, is crucial for improving child health.

  • Alleviating economic hardships for families with young children will require comprehensive policy solutions including improvements to nutrition assistance programs, increasing access to affordable housing, providing energy assistance, making work pay through reducing cliff effects and increasing  and expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, providing affordable child care to all children, and supporting the health and development of all children.

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