Gov. Scott ‘Hopes’ Congress Finds Permanent Solution To Kids Health Program Funding

Congress has passed a funding measure that keeps the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) going through March — the program insures hundreds of thousands of kids in Florida.

But without a permanent solution in place by the end of January, many families could see their coverage lapse and Governor Rick Scott won’t say whether they should be worried.

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Opioid epidemic: Kids suffer collateral damage

TALLAHASSEE — Ciara sobs as she recounts how, as a middle schooler, she helplessly witnessed her mother’s downward spiral into drug addiction, an affliction that left Ciara at times wishing her mother would simply die to end their suffering.

Ciara, now 20, is one of the countless child casualties of an opioid epidemic Florida lawmakers are struggling to curb.

With a 35 percent jump in opioid-related deaths in 2016, legislators are considering a variety of options to stop the spread of drug addiction and to keep patients from getting hooked on prescription medicines that can lead to the use of even more lethal street drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl.

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Healthy and outside the box lunch ideas

With children returning to school after a long winter break, Dr. Vidhya Viswanathan, a pediatric endocrinologist at Advocate Children's Hospital, provides seven tips to keep your child's lunch healthy and fun:

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Oregon teens struggle with mental health more than ever, according to survey

In Oregon, the kids are increasingly not all right. A report from the Oregon Health Authority shows that middle- and high school-aged children feel they struggle more with mental illness and cope less well with the stress of their lives than was the case as recently as two years ago.

Compared with 2015 and particularly 2013, more eighth- and 11th- graders reported they have unmet mental health needs on the biennial Oregon Healthy Teens Survey. This year, almost 19 percent of eighth-graders and 22 percent of 11th-graders reported that unmet need on the survey, given to more than 12,000 students in each grade at public schools throughout the state last spring.

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Half Of U.S. Kids 3 And Under Await Congress On Children's Health Funding

As Congress begins in 2018 to address the long-term future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and entitlement cuts, the medical care of almost half of U.S. children three years old and younger is in limbo.

An Urban Institute analysis shows that 49% or 7.7 million children ages 3 and younger relied on CHIP or Medicaid insurance for poor Americans in 2015 . That’s more than any other form of insurance coverage for the 15.7 million young children that year.

“Because young children and their parents rely on Medicaid at higher rates than older children and their parents, contractions of Medicaid funding would have outsize effects on families with young children,” Urban Institute researchers wrote in the report.

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Family meals may boost kids' physical, mental health

It's lovely, isn't it? Gathering around the table at Christmas time and enjoying the company of our loved ones. But family dining shouldn't be limited to the festive season; a new study suggests that eating with family on a regular basis could benefit children's health and well-being.

Researchers have found that children who often ate meals with their family at the age of 6 years old had better social skills and general fitness by the age of 10, compared with those who rarely spent mealtimes with their family.

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Smart technology to help local elementary school families stay healthy

Maxwell Hill and Cranberry-Prosperity elementary schools will soon be utilizing technology to help stop the spread of flu and other illnesses.

As two of 200 schools accepted into the "FLUency" health program, all families at both Maxwell Hill and Cranberry-Prosperity will receive free Kinsa Smart Thermometers.

The thermometers will connect via Bluetooth to an app, available on both Android and iPhone, for parents to monitor their children's health.

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Children's Health Advocate: CHIP Funding Should be 'Non-Negotiable'

SEATTLE – A last-minute deal in Congress to provide short-term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program hasn't done much to alleviate stress for states and parents going into the new year. 

CHIP is one of the main funding streams, along with Medicaid and state funding, for Washington state's insurance program Apple Health for Kids, which covers about half of the state's children. According to the Hospital Corporation of America, about 58,000 kids on Apple Health receive some percent of CHIP funding. 

Litonya Lester, the health policy director of the Children's Alliance, says that funding helps kids with chronic health-care needs, but also routine check-ups.

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This school librarian teaches students about (actual) fake news. Here’s how parents can, too.

Recently, congressional committees summoned executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google to Capitol Hill to explain their company’s roles in the national security issue of fake news planted by the Russians to manipulate our last presidential election. Congress wants something done to protect U.S. citizens from fake news, and if the tech companies can’t come up with a technology solution fast enough, then they will step in and impose regulations.

As a school librarian, I disagree with either solution. The only reliable way to protect citizens from fake news, alternate facts, or hate groups is for all of us to learn how to navigate digital information with discernment and skepticism. Teaching that is the job of every librarian, teacher and parent.

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Psychologist warns against kids spending too much time on electronic devices


Listen up gamers: the World Health Organization is looking to add "gaming disorder" to its lists of diseases.

Some experts are looking at whether playing video games for hours on end is actually a mental health problem.

Psychologists like Dr. Carolyn Ievers-Landis, of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, warns that if you don't limit your child's time on their electronic devices, your child could suffer some unhealthy consequences.

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