NJ Citizen Action

In 2021, the State of New Jersey launched the Cover All Kids initiative, with the aim of ensuring that no child in New Jersey should be left without the support and security of health care coverage. Medicaid coverage would apply equally to all children regardless of status – including undocumented youth.

Reaching those families to enroll their children in Cover all Kids requires dedicated, on-the-ground outreach of organizations like New Jersey Citizen Action. In 2022, HFNJ provided New Jersey Citizen Action with a $130,000 grant to launch the Health Care for All Kids Education and Outreach Project.

Through this funding, NJ Citizen Action hired a new full-time Bilingual Outreach Specialist, Ivette Fernandez. Over the first six months of the project, Ivette and other staff conducted 57 workshops and 74 outreach events to disseminate information about NJ Family Care, Cover All Kids, and Medicaid redetermination. She also created and distributed print and digital outreach materials. She conducts two canvassing events each month – reaching 750 residents by knocking on doors or handing out flyers and community events. In total, NJ Citizen Action estimates that over the first six months of the outreach they have reached over 107,000 individuals with information about Medicaid eligibility, and have generated 1,471 referrals of consumers, of whom 95% received coverage.

The work has had a demonstrable impact. When the Cover All Kids legislation was passed, initial estimates are that it would reach 80,000-90,000 children, of whom 16,000 would be undocumented. By mid-2023, there were already 84,000 eligible children enrolled, of which 24,000 were undocumented – greatly exceeding estimates for this traditionally hard-to-reach population.