Focus on Wellness: Children's Health
Important Information on New York State Laws, Programs & Services
The State Senate has a long tradition of sponsoring programs and services that promote good health and help prevent disease in children. If you would like more information, please call the NYS Health Department's toll-free Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006.
Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP)
This program provides low-income women with health care and counseling during pregnancy and for two months after giving birth. PCAP also covers hospital services during childbirth and follow-up health care for the first year of babies' lives. In addition, this program helps new mothers in obtaining services such as Medicaid and food assistance.
Newborns are screened in New York State for a number of hereditary diseases before they leave the hospital. From a blood sample, a doctor can detect the presence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Early diagnosis allows a doctor to begin treatment that will help keep a baby with HIV healthy for a longer period of time. This hospital screening also detects phenylketonuria (PKU), which results in mental retardation if left untreated. Health insurance plans are required to cover the cost of the special formulas needed to treat PKU. State law encourages the tracking of tested infants and follow-up reviews.
Beginning in 1998, eligibility for the state's Medicaid program for low-income New Yorkers was expanded to provide complete health care for infants and children through age 19 depending upon their families' monthly income. For further information on Medicaid programs, please call the Medicaid help line at 518-486-9057.
Child Health Plus Program
This program is a subsidized health insurance program that provides health care to children whose family income is too high to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but too low to afford private health insurance. The program provides coverage for children up to 19 years of age. Authorized insurers that provide these health services charge modest yearly premiums and reasonable co-payments for prescription drugs and certain emergency room services. For more information on how you can apply, visit www.health.ny.us, or call 1-800-698-4KIDS (1-800-698-4543).
A full series of immunizations is required under state law before children can be admitted to public or private school, a day care center, or nursery school. All children must have shots to prevent: * hepatitis B
* haemophilus influenza
* haemophilus influenza type B (HIB)
* varicella (chicken pox)
The immunizations that are required by law may be obtained free or for a small fee. Contact your county health department for further information. While the state's statutory requirements have resulted in very high vaccination levels for school-age children, the Department of Health is working to have at least 90% of New York's two-year-olds appropriately immunized.
Programs for Children with Health Problems and Disabilities
Many programs for children with special health problems and for those with physical and mental disabilities are funded and operated by the state. Contact the State Health Department's toll-free hot line, 1-800-522-5006, for more information on these and any other state health program.
New York State has several programs that educate children about proper nutrition. For more information, please call the NYS Division of Nutrition's Child and Adult Care Food Program at 1-800-942-3858.
Reduced Priced Breakfast & Lunch
Nutritious breakfasts should be eaten by all children at the start of each day. To achieve this goal, the law provides programs that offer free and reduced priced breakfasts in elementary and high schools for children from low-income families. These children are also eligible for free or reduced lunches. Contact your child's school for more information about how to apply for this program.
Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC provides nutrition counseling and supplemental foods for pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to age five who are at risk of not having enough food to eat, or for those who do not eat properly. This program is administered by the State Health Department.
Team Nutrition Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a nutritional program for schools called the Team Nutrition Program. This program seeks to improve children's lifelong eating and physical activity habits through nutrition education. To find out more information about this program, visit the USDA on the Internet at .