There are several structured child advocacy groups and activities at UK as well as many opportunities to become involved with our local community groups striving to improve child health and wellbeing.
AdvoCats: AdvoCats is our resident/child advocacy group that started in 2010.
This resident-run group now plans a yearly trip to the state capital in Frankfort for Children's Advocacy Day. The group is currently concentrating on policy issues surrounding childhood obesity, including the need for exercise in schools. They have also started a QI project in our Continuity Clinics to examine how well we identify and treat overweight and obese children.
Child Advocacy Day in Frankfort: The snapshot above shows the advocacy group on the steps of the Capitol Building in February, 2013. Since 2007, our residents have been attending Child Advocacy Day in Frankfort where child advocates from around the state hold a rally at the Capitol Building. Each year our residents select a current issue being addressed by our state legislature and prepare talking points based on current research and best practices. On Child Advocacy Day, we meet at the Kentucky Chapter of the AAP for training on how to speak to our legislatures. Then we walk a few short blocks to the Capitol Building where we meet with our legislators to discuss important policy issues for child health. Afterward, we return to the AAP for lunch, along with our colleagues from the University of Louisville, to discuss the experience.
Child Advocacy Today (CAT) is our Medical-Legal Partnership at UK. CAT has three main objectives: 1) Our lawyers provide direct legal services to families where civil legal needs are preventing children from being healthy; 2) We train physicians to recognize civil legal needs affecting child health; 3) We engage in systemic advocacy in partnership with AdvoCats to improve policies related to child health and well-being.
Individual Initiatives: Many of our residents have become involved in other UK or community advocacy opportunities. These include:
- Kids Cafe - a national program providing free meals and snacks to low-income children through a variety of community locations
- Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky
- A CAT's Tale - an event that brings children's literature to life through interactive exhibits, with painted backdrops, costumes, activities and more
- Back-to-school assistance for local elementary school children
- Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program