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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kentucky Medicaid has joined efforts with Wednesday’s Child, a Louisville-based non-profit, to fulfill “wish list” requests for 28 college-bound high school graduates who are in Kentucky’s foster care programs. Anthem’s support has enabled Wednesday’s Child to procure 28 laptops that were preloaded with widely used software and presented to each of the foster youth. Computers are among foster youths’ top wish list items, and are expected to help the youth succeed academically as they transition from foster care to college life.
“We have seen research and case studies that demonstrate the formidable challenges many foster children have to overcome to graduate from high school, perform well in college and succeed in life, and we felt that our support was the right thing to do to give them a little boost,” said Cecelia Manlove, Medicaid plan president for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky. “We are proud of the academic successes these underserved youth have already achieved and look forward to seeing them build brighter futures.”
National statistics indicate that more than 20,000 youth aged 16 and older transition out of the foster care system each year. Only 50 percent will have graduated from high school. Over half will be unemployed, and a quarter will be homeless for one or more nights. An overwhelming number of foster youth report that they want to attend college, but most do not achieve that goal, primarily because they do not have access to the resources they need to succeed.
“We are proud that 28 of our 42 local, graduating foster program youth are moving on to higher education,” said Liz Everman, chairman of the Wednesday’s Child Board of Directors. “These kids do not have all of the supports that are common among traditional families, so it takes a little extra help from compassionate organizations such as Anthem to arm them with the resources they need to keep up with their peers and to excel in life. We are thankful for Anthem’s sponsorship, which nearly doubled the support we were able to provide for the wish list program.”
There are more than 8,000 foster care youth across Kentucky. Approximately 90 percent of teens in the U.S. have a computer in their home, but less than 20 percent of foster youth own a computer, with even lower rates in rural areas. This disparity often impacts foster youth’s dropout rates and college graduation rates.
Anthem has been serving the commonwealth’s Medicaid program since 2014, when it launched services to Medicaid-eligible adults, and has since been contracted by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to provide statewide Medicaid benefits and services to children enrolled in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance program (KCHIP) and Medicaid-eligible children in Kentucky’s foster care programs.
ABOUT ANTHEM BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD KENTUCKY MEDICAID
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves approximately 119,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky. Every day, members of the Anthem team can be found in Kentucky communities listening to our members, interacting with our providers and partnering with community-based organizations. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield began serving Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky in 2014. To learn more, visit https://mss.anthem.com/ky/Pages/AboutUs.aspx.
ABOUT WEDNESDAY’S CHILD INC.
Wednesday’s Child, Inc., is a non-profit, primarily volunteer organization, funded by private and corporate donations. Its mission is to recruit adoptive parents for special needs children, to sponsor support services for families who adopt special needs children, and to assist children who are waiting to be adopted. Wednesday’s Child, Inc. grew out of the WLKY-TV weekly news segment, which highlights older foster children waiting for that special family to adopt them. Since the program’s inception in 1980, more than 4,000 special needs children have been matched with their “forever families.” Every child deserves a loving family and a safe place to call home. Wednesday’s Child, Inc. believes that there are no unadoptable children, just unfound families. To learn more, visit http://www.wednesdayschild.com/.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kentucky
Dionisia Malecki, 813-830-6986
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