Meet Rhonda Seltz!
I have been a child advocate for over 13 years in Virginia and was honored to be hired as one of the Central Virginia Directors of Every Child Matters (ECM) Strong Kids Strong Virginia campaign. I believe the ECM name itself speaks volumes of this organization’s commitment to all children because every child does indeed matter. To make sure that the voices of our children and grandchildren are heard, we must educate ourselves and others about the issues children are facing and then empower ourselves by registering to vote and asking political candidates how they intend to address our issues. We can and do make a difference in the lives of our kids, but with funding for children’s services continuing to decline, we must raise our voices louder than ever.
I am reminded of a disabled mother who contacted me because her daughter, whom she deemed a miracle baby, was uninsured and needed medical treatment that she could not afford. This mother was severely disabled as a result of the complications she suffered during the birth of her two month premature baby. Although a healthy tween now, the daughter had seriously injured her leg and required an MRI, physical therapy, and possibly surgery. “I cried all the way home from the hospital. I cannot afford all of that…Mothers are supposed to take care of their children but I cannot afford to help my child.” I almost cried too, but I knew how to get her daughter the help she needed and assisted her with a Children’s Medicaid/FAMIS application, which will cover her medical costs and provide ongoing health care access so she can remain healthy, giving her a head start on becoming a healthy and productive adult.
Although both Children’s Medicaid and FAMIS are great health care safety nets for eligible children, there are still over 100,000 kids without health coverage in Virginia, and these programs are often put on the chopping block along with other children’s services every time our legislative leaders make budget reductions. It takes ongoing support from parents and other child advocates to make sure that every child has access to health care, education, pre-school readiness, after school care, and that they are protected against abuse and neglect and have a way to escape poverty. Our kids should not be lost in the political mire.
Contact Rhonda Seltz, Central Virginia Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 315-0951 to see how you can get involved. Be sure to notify us also about community events in which we may participate in educating others about children’s issues and about the work we are doing through our Strong Kids Strong Virginia campaign.