ACF: Addressing Poverty Today Among Those Facing Social and Economic Challenges for a Healthier Tomorrow
At the Administration for Children and Families, we help to promote the social and economic well-being of millions who are struggling to get into the middle class.
ACF administers more than 60 programs that include family assistance, Head Start, child welfare and other programs for families and children.
Our efforts to help lift people out of poverty got extra help from the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. This bold new legislation created comprehensive health insurance reforms that will take full effect in 2014. The law also provided crucial funding for health programs to help most in need and served by ACF programs.
In ACF the Affordable Care Act funds:
- Programs that improve the health outcomes of at-risk children in Native American communities through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program,
- Partnerships with states, Tribes and local programs through the Personal Responsibility Education Program to prevent unplanned pregnancy and prepare adolescents for adulthood,
- Work with states to promote abstinence and HIV/AIDS education among teens in the State Abstinence Education program,
- And an innovative effort that connects out-of-work Americans with health careers that are in demand. The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) provide education and training to people receiving Temporary Assistant for Needy Families and other individuals struggling to get into the middle class. These health care positions pay well and are expected to experience labor shortages. As more people get access to health care in the coming years, there will be a growing market for:
- Home care aides
- Certified nursing assistants
- Medical assistants
- Pharmacy technicians
- Emergency medical technicians
- Licensed vocational nurses
- Registered nurses
- Dental assistants
- Health information technicians
Anticipating this growth, the Affordable Care Act gave ACF’s Office of Family Assistance funding for 32 HPOG programs throughout the nation. Grantees that educate this future workforce partner with community organizations to enhance supportive services for HPOG students, such as transportation, dependent care and temporary housing.
As you can see below, for many of these future medical professionals, this opportunity is a second chance at life.
- Luz Torres was out of a job, living out of a car and couldn’t provide for her family of four in the Seattle-area — until a Food Bank worker referred the young Latina to an HPOG program administered in Washington State.
- Quinton Sanders dropped of out of high school to take care of his elderly grandmother. Having no diploma or career prospects, this African-American teenager was determined not to become another statistic and sought help from a South Carolina works program that showed him a pathway to self sufficiency.
- Van Dinh Kuno has probably the best story. This former Vietnamese immigrant gets to help other new citizens fulfill their American Dream on a regular basis. Kuno’s Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest center has successfully placed 50 HPOG students in good paying jobs with full benefits since 2011.
ACF is working hard with communities of color to help promote these great opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act. For more HPOG success stories, visit the HPOG Community.
George L. Askew, M.D., serves as the first chief medical officer for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role he provides expert advice and consultation to the assistant secretary for children and families on the development of plans, programs, policies, and initiatives that address the health needs and strengths of vulnerable children and families