Home » Publications » The Influence of Health Care Policies on Children's Health and Development

The Influence of Health Care Policies on Children's Health and Development

Samuel L. Odom (lead & issue editor), Kelly L. Maxwell (editor), Iheoma Iruka (editor), & Stephanie Ridley (assistant editor)
Social Policy Report

Available here.

From the Editor: "The health of children in America has primary implications for the future of this country. In this report, the Drs. Perrin, Boat, and Kelleher review the progress made in providing health care to children, the changes that have occurred in children’s health conditions, the impact of current policies, and potential innovative approaches to providing health care. Children’s health could be seen as a success story of policy and practice. Greater than 90% of children in the United States have some type of health insurance coverage, which is the highest it has ever been. Major childhood diseases, epidemics, and severe malnutrition, previous primary causes of childhood mortality have largely dissipated. These have been replaced by conditions such as childhood obesity, asthma, mental health, and neurodevelopmental disorders, which are the result of interactions between genetics and social and environmental factors. The overlay of poverty, despite progress in children’s health coverage, still creates health disparities between poor and non-poor children. The authors describe a range of factors that may address this disparity. These include new models of health policy, health economics, and funding (e.g., the Affordable Care Act, social impact bonds), new models of health care (e.g.,chronic condition management, behavioral health integration), innovations in health care delivery (e.g., mHealth approaches), and changes in pediatric training (e.g., emphasis on integration of health and other social services). In their commentary, two children’s health leaders also focus on the continued effect of poverty on children’s health..."

Abstract: "Rates of health insurance for children have improved significantly over the past few decades, and more children have insurance than ever before in U.S. history. Health care does improve child health and well-being, but growing understanding of social and community influences has led health care practitioners to work toward more comprehensive and community-integrated child health services to improve child and family well-being. High rates of poverty affect children’s health—poor children have more acute and chronic illness and higher mortality as well. Children and youth also have more diagnosed mental health conditions than in years past. This paper reviews the current state of health insurance for children and youth and contrasts health services with the needs of children and families. It then describes new models of health care, including ones that actively connect health care with other community services, and suggests promising trends in child health care."


Perrin, J. M., Boat, T. F., & Kelleher, K. J. (2016). The influence of health care policies on children's health and development. Social Policy Report, 29(4).