Kausha King’s work as the parent health liaison at the Care Parent Network in Contra Costa County is deeply personal. Nearly everything she teaches parents about advocating for their children with special health care needs, she has experienced herself. “It’s a world all our own, and we came into it blind and had to learn,” she says.
Karen Fessel is known throughout California for her passionate advocacy to get insurers to pay for the services families need for their children on the autism spectrum. Now, she’s branching out to serve children with other special health care needs.
Dr. Mark Edelstein oversees mental health treatment and social services for some of California’s most troubled kids. With his staff at EMQ FamiliesFirst, Edelstein works to keep children with significant mental health issues in their communities – an important task at a time when the rate of mental health-related hospitalizations of California children and youth is rising.
From her position as director of the Division of Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs in the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Bonnie Strickland takes a national perspective on our fragmented system of care and steps that might be taken to improve it.
Janice Milligan once had to sell her car to pay for a wheelchair for her adopted daughter, who had spina bifida. She had just moved to California and didn’t know that she potentially could qualify for California Children’s Services (CCS) and aid from the state’s system of regional centers for people with disabilities. That was two decades ago. Today, Milligan is director of strategy and development at Health Net of California.