On August 1st the annual Kids 1st Health Fair will mark its 20th year of providing health services to children in preparation for school. On one day every year for the past two decades, the fair has provided a wide variety of free services, from immunizations to dental screenings, with an estimated overall value of approximately $1.6 million to 30,000 Lake County children.
Sponsored by the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and United Way of Lake County, this year's Fair will once again take place at Miguel Juarez Middle School, 201 N. Butrick St. in Waukegan, on August 1 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Organizers are expecting more than 1,000 children to receive services this year.
"I am very pleased the Fair's sponsors and volunteers continue to make the health services available to students. Without those services, many students would not be prepared to enter school," said Roycealee Wood, Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools.
"We know that if these services aren't offered many children will be turned away on the first day of school and we don't want that to happen. Our goal is to have all children ready to learn from day one of the school year," added Kristi Long, President and CEO of United Way of Lake County..
The Health Fair began in 1993 thanks to the philanthropic leadership of the Abbott Fund, the foundation of the global health care company Abbott, which is based in Lake County. The Abbott Fund continues as a primary funder of the event. Prior to that, many children in Lake County were failing to receive required health services in time for school enrollment deadlines. The Health Department worked with local businesses and agencies to coordinate a group of physicians, health care providers and others willing to volunteer their time and provide the services at a one-day event. More than 700 nurses, lab technicians, health aids, clerical staff, doctors, dentists, community residents, corporate employees and bilingual volunteers now come together annually to help children of limited-income families receive the medical services they need.
"The convenience of providing 'one-stop shopping' of health services for children of limited income families has demonstrated its worth over 20 years," said Irene Pierce, the Health Department's Executive Director. "Year after year, this fair has prevented children from falling through the cracks and being denied access to school due to lack of required health care services such as immunizations."
The Fair is free for Lake County families who meet specific income guidelines. For example, a family of four with a gross income limit of $44,643 would qualify for Fair services. State required services provided at the Fair include dental screenings for children in Head Start, preschool, kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grades, physicals for children in Head Start, preschool, kindergarten, 6th and 9th grades, and immunizations for children entering preschool, kindergarten, 6th and 9th grades. Also, eligible children entering 6th and 9th grades will receive a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, which is a new state requirement for children entering these grades.
The Fair offers considerable savings for eligible families. For one child at the full-pay level, school supplies combined with the cost of a physical, dental exam, and two vaccinations at the Lake County Health Department would normally cost $228.00.
In addition to meeting State of Illinois preschool and school health requirements, the Fair provides a variety of other health screenings, including lead and hemoglobin. If a medical condition is found, referrals are made and the Health Department or another provider follows up. Families can also submit applications to All Kids, a health insurance program for children.
"Kids 1st allows our students to see the impact of health care and how, by working together as a team, physicians, physical therapists and other providers can best deliver care to the families who need us most, " Said Dr. K. Michael Welch, President and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University.
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science will provide expertise in podiatric medicine for foot and shoe assessments; physical therapy professionals to analyze the impact a students' backpack has on their gait and make necessary adjustments to the backpack fit for better weight distribution; and nutrition experts that can speak to families about properly-balanced snacks and meals.
Upon evidence of completion of all required health services, school age children will receive free books, a new backpack and age-appropriate school supplies. School supplies will only be given to children who qualify for and receive at least one of the required medical services while supplies last.
Additionally, a variety of social service agencies are represented at the Fair to provide families with information on issues such as child care, crisis intervention, education, health services, housing, employment, parenting, substance abuse, legal services, safety, family counseling and other community services. One of the goals of the Fair is to encourage families to become better health service users as they learn more about health systems available to them.
A few requirements must be met for families to receive services through the Fair. They are as follows:
- The immunization record for each child receiving services.
- All Kids Insurance Card or Public Aid (serves as proof of income and residency).
If you don't have All Kids or Public Aid, you need to provide the following:
- Proof of Lake County residency (current driver's license or utility bill).
- If employed, last two pay stubs or letter from employer indicating cash payment amount.
- If unemployed, last two unemployment stubs, dismissal letter from employer, or statement from family/friends providing current assistance.
For more information, please contact Deb Warner with the Lake County Health Department at: (847) 377-8870.
- The year the Fair had the highest attendance was 2009, when 2,785 children received services.
- The Fair has provided 7,937 free immunizations, 13,356 free physicals, and 14,817 free dental screenings since 1993.
- Since 1993, the Fair has handed out 28,283 free back packs.
- There are no charges for any services at the Kids 1st Health Fair. The estimated value for all the services provided over the years is $1,647,515.50.
The Lake County Health Department was established by referendum in 1956 as a state-certified public health department. It is responsible for the prevention of disease and disability, the promotion of health and assuring a healthful environment. The Lake County Community Health Center, a Joint Commission accredited agency, provides high quality, comprehensive healthcare that is accessible, coordinated, community directed and culturally sensitive. For more information, visit: www.lakecountyil.gov/health.
Formed in 1912 as the Chicago Hospital-College of Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a national leader in interprofessional medical and healthcare education, offering a doctor of medicine program through the Chicago Medical School, doctor of podiatric medicine program through the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, and a range of degrees through its College of Health Professions, including nurse anesthesia, nutrition, physical therapy, pathologists' assistant and physician assistant. The university also offers advanced biomedical degrees through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The university received pre-candidate status for its College of Pharmacy and welcomed its first class August 2011. For more information, please visit www.rosalindfranklin.edu.
United Way of Lake County (UWLC) is preparing our children to succeed in a changing world by focusing on education and building safe and stable families. We are focusing on four key educational programs: Success By 6 Program-prepare for kindergarten; Reading Success Program-read at grade level; Stay in School Program- graduate high school; and the Safe and Stable Families Program-empowering families. UWLC is overcoming reading and educational barriers by reaching children from preschool through high school, through these key programs. The overall effect and benefits are multiplied by the strong collaboration with agencies and our community partners. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org.