Key Points

To help close the children’s health insurance coverage gap in the United States, in 2011 the Atlantic Philanthropies created the Kids- Well Campaign. KidsWell’s theory of change posits that if advocates could leverage new funding and coverage opportunities created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they could expand the number of children with health insurance coverage.

This article presents the major results of the KidsWell evaluation, which found substantial progress in achieving KidsWell interim policy changes and coverage outcomes. But advocates still have a full agenda, which means grantees and funders need to redouble efforts to educate the larger field about the type of advocacy that can legally be supported by funders, the gains in children’s coverage achieved in part with such support, and what remains at stake for children’s coverage.

While other funders may not be able to make investments comparable to Atlantic’s, advocacy networks and capacities have already been built and valuable knowledge has been gained through the KidsWell effort. Funders could target future investment to states and activities needing a short-term boost to exploit windows of political opportunity or to fight threats to children’s coverage. Such support is still needed to continue momentum toward universal health insurance coverage for all children.

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