The Highmark Caring Foundation
The Highmark Caring Foundation has been a champion for children for more than twenty years, working to identify the unmet needs of children in our community and create innovative programs to meet those needs. An affiliate of Highmark Inc., the Highmark Caring Foundation operates as a charitable organization that has been committed since 1985 to caring for children in need in western Pennsylvania and more recently in central Pennsylvania.
The Highmark Caring Foundation provides support to children and their families, listening and responding to the needs of the underserved, at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Five guiding principles
The Highmark Caring Foundation provides support to children and their families by:
The Highmark Caring Foundation is a non-profit organization supported by the Highmark Foundation as well as by community contributions that are matched by Highmark. The Highmark Caring Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
In 1985, before "the uninsured" became an issue, the Caring Foundation began to respond to the needs of uninsured children who were falling through the cracks of the health care system. The Caring Program for Children was the first program of its kind in the nation, offering primary and preventive health care coverage to uninsured children from low-income families.
The Caring Program for Children was replicated throughout the United States and became the model for Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which was in turn a model for the federal CHIP program. Every year millions of uninsured children across the country receive health care coverage through CHIP.
Serving grieving children
In 1996, the first groups of grieving children and families were offered peer support services through what would become known as the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families. On December 2, 1997, the first Caring Place facility opened its doors in downtown Pittsburgh. As the Pittsburgh program continued to grow through partnerships with the community both in the peer support groups and out in the schools, workplaces and throughout the community, additional facilities were opened.
Partnership with schools: Caring Team for Children
A special program of the Highmark Caring Place is the Caring Team for Children, a unique partnership with area schools that raises awareness and support for children in need.
Serving children with special heath care needs
The families reported limited coordination between all providers while physicians reported not having adequate knowledge of the specific community support services available to the children. At the same time, community-based service providers reported a lack of collaboration and communication among all of the systems working with the children and families.
After hearing the families, physicians and providers of care, the Highmark Caring Foundation developed the Caring Program: Care Coordination for Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Families, an innovative program to address the issues faced by the children and their families.
At the heart of the Caring Program is care coordinationa process that links children with special health care needs and their families to services and resources in a coordinated way to maximize the children's health and quality of life.
The program has been so successful that the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has mandated similar coordination programs for all of its CHIP contractors, and Highmark itself has determined that the program could serve more children more efficiently by moving within Highmark where the Caring Program continues to serve children in need.
Throughout its history, the Highmark Caring Foundation has continued to be a champion for children, working to identify the unmet needs of children in our communities and create innovative programs to meet those needs.
- Get Support
- About Grief
- In Their Words
- Grief Awareness Day