CAT - Child Advocacy Today
A Medical Legal Partnership for Kentucky's Children
Bringing attorneys and pediatricians together to ensure the health of Kentucky's children.
Who will CAT assist?
- Families with chronically ill children who need legal assistance to ensure their child's health needs.
- Families who qualify for Medicaid or KCHIP but are not receiving the benefit.
- Families who may need legal assistance in dealing with substandard housing issues.
- Families who may have other legal issues impacting their child's health.
How will CAT assist?
- Health care professionals will be trained to identify the effect of legal issues on a child's health.
- Free preventative legal assistance will be provided for income-eligible clinic patients and families.
- Cases will be referred to other civil legal service agencies or volunteer lawyers.
- CAT will consult with health care providers regarding cases appropriate for referral.
The Objective of CAT
CAT seeks to improve the health and well being of Kentucky's children by addressing the social and environmental determinants of health.
What is CAT?
CAT is a medical-legal partnership. CAT brings pediatricians and lawyers together, drawing on the strengths of two powerful professions, to ensure that families can meet the basic needs of their children for health care, housing, family stability, education, and nutrition, all crucial to a child's health and development and all impacted dramatically by poverty. This innovative collaboration focuses on preventative law and creating healthier children for our future.
The Need for CAT
Our future strength depends on the healthy development of our youngest citizens but poverty is one of the most significant indicators of a child's well-being. Children living in poverty get sick more often and with greater severity than do those living in economically stable families.
More specifically in Fayette County:
- More than 14% live below the poverty line.
- More than 3,500 are eligible for Medicaid or KCHIP but do not receive support.
- More than 11% of children have no health insurance.
- More than 500 UK pediatric patients are uninsured and potentially eligible for KCHIP.
- More than 31% of families do not have affordable housing.
- 35-40% of tenant service requests go unmet.
- Rental assistance is provided to fewer than 1% of those that qualify.
- More than 5,000 families are evicted annually.
How CAT Serves
Pediatricians and lawyers will server together as a healthcare team to address children's health issues. In a medical-legal partnership such as CAT, the lawyer is on-site in the clinical setting with doctors who are well-positioned to screen patients for unmet legal needs through regular contact and their position of trust. The lawyer's knowledge, skills and advice to both the physicians and patients bring a new type of expertise to the health care setting. This holistic approach is more often able to prevent dire consequences before a point of crisis.
The current focus of CAT is to address the areas of health insurance and housing issues. In addition, education and public benefits cases may be accepted and referred to volunteer lawyers.
The assistance of the medical profession is needed to:
- Help identify pediatric patients who might be eligible for Medicaid, KCHIP or other public benefits.
- Help identify pediatric patients who are affected by housing instability and sub-standard conditions.
- Refer patients to the CAT program and encourage their patients to work with CAT.
The assistance of the legal profession is needed to:
- Train pediatricians to identify legal issues affecting patient health.
- Provide direct legal assistance to patients and families.
- Work with volunteers to provide pro bono legal services in support of CAT program objectives.
- Support CAT with their skills, talents and resources.
Support and commitment from strong community partners will make comprehensive medical care for impoverished children a reality.
See what you can do to help. Call CAT Today! CAT brochure PDF
Tom Young, MD, FAAP
UK Department of Pediatrics
Kimberly D. Northrip, MD, MPH
UK Department of Pediatrics
Jacqueline S. Duncan, JD
Kentucky Volunteer Lawyer Program
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Jan Clark, MPA, JD
CAT Program Coordinator
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University of Kentucky
Department of Pediatrics
Kentucky Clinic - J251
740 S. Limestone