Oakland Schools To Participate in Pilot Program Designed To Increase Medi-Cal Enrollment Among Children
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a pilot program for seven Oakland schools to allow low-income parents to apply for Medi-Cal for their children on the same application they use to apply for free and reduced-price school lunches, the Tri-Valley Herald reports. Officials estimate that about 4,000 uninsured children in Alameda County qualify for Medi-Cal but are not enrolled.
According to Cassaundra Reed of the Oakland Unified School District's food services, many parents may not know that if their children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, they likely are eligible for Medi-Cal as well. Reed estimated the district will receive 1,500 applications from the pilot schools.
In the 2004-2005 school year, 26,000 Oakland school district children were eligible for free lunches and another 4,100 were eligible for reduced-cost lunches. The pilot program will be staffed by parent volunteers who will be trained by county social service workers.
Supporters of the program hope to expand it to all Oakland schools by the next school year and elsewhere in subsequent years.
According to Martha Duenas -- a spokesperson for Oakland Community Organizations, which helped establish the pilot program -- a similar program already exists in five California school districts (Marcucci/Chang, Tri-Valley Herald, 8/3).