Family Advocacy Day 2022: “Virtually Unstoppable”
As thousands of children and teenagers are suffering from mental health conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and families are navigating care for other complex and rare diseases, it has never been more important to advocate for policies that would strengthen kids’ health.
On June 12 to 14, 2022, Children’s Hospital Association’s Speak Now For Kids gathered nearly 50 patient families from over 30 children’s hospitals in 17 states to participate in its annual Family Advocacy Day to share their virtually unstoppable stories with federal lawmakers.
Patient champions and their families met with Congressional champions from across the nation to advocate for stronger mental health policies for kids and urge federal lawmakers to invest in children’s health and health care delivery. This virtual event allowed children and families who may not be able to travel the opportunity to strengthen their advocacy skills, many of whom have never spoken to an elected official.
Throughout these meetings, families mentioned specific legislation and policies, including the Strengthen Kids Mental Health Now Act, Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, and the vital role of Medicaid and CHIP, to emphasize how Congress can take action and make a difference right now.
This year, patient families logged over 150 meetings with their members of Congress. The impactful stories of our patient champions showed federal lawmakers why they must invest in current and future generations of kids and their health care needs.
Along with Congressional meetings, our patient families got to engage in other activities and meet other kids going through similar experiences. On Sunday, our champions attended a kick-off event featuring actor Jacob Bertrand from the Netflix series, Cobra Kai. Congressional champions, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), spoke to our patient champions on Tuesday about the importance of advocacy and telling their stories.
Speak Now For Kids looks forward to continuing to advocate for critical policies impacting children’s health and urges other advocates to support our 2022 Family Advocacy Day patient champions by taking action through our advocacy center.
Watch our 2022 Family Advocacy Day Recap!