Children’s Health Fund (CHF) was founded by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and pediatrician/child advocate Irwin Redlener, MD in 1987 to provide health care to homeless and medically underserved children. CHF launched its first program, the New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP), with one “big blue van,” a state-of-the-art mobile medical clinic that would bring medical care directly to those children with the least access. The NYCHP offers a medical home to families, ensuring that they have medical care that is accessible, comprehensive, and culturally competent.
Over the years, CHF has replicated the program model across the country. Today, the National Network provides care through 24 innovative pediatric care programs and affiliates that offer a medical home to children in poor rural and urban communities across the country. Each program is affiliated with a major teaching hospital or community health center, and reaches out to children in federally designated health professional shortage areas. Health care is delivered to children via mobile medical clinics, school-based clinics, and shelter-based clinics.
Children's Health Fund has also campaigned in support of expanding health insurance coverage for low-income children, as well as public health programs that provide a critical safety net for millions of medically underserved children. CHF has worked in partnership with the Executive and Congressional branches of government in response to concerns about access to health care, homelessness, asthma, nutrition and obesity, and immunizations. In 1994, CHF launched Kids First, Kids Now!, a public education and advocacy campaign that focused national attention on the need for a true health care safety net for all of America’s children. Kids First, Kids Now! played a key role in the national advocacy effort that resulted in the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the most important advance in child health care access since the inception of Medicaid in 1965.