July 25, 2022

Resources for Impacts to Medicare and CHIP

Now that the public health emergency surrounding COVID-19 has expired, states will require eligibility renewals for most receiving Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the first time since March 2020.

Given that significant time may have elapsed since families were last required to renew, the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families issued a Dear Colleague letter in May explaining what the eligibility renewal means for Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and how to help families in danger of losing health care coverage. This situation impacts both families and child care providers and requires each group to take specific and targeted steps in order to prevent the loss of benefits.


In order to assist families during the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Public Health Emergency declaration (PHE), which offered flexibility and additional resources for families struggling during the pandemic. Since the PHE has expired this month, the flexibilities and waivers surrounding it have also dissipated, the most pressing of which requires the need to renew Medicaid and CHIP benefits.

Impacts to Benefits

At the beginning of the pandemic, HHS took steps to prevent ineligible recipients of Medicare and CHIP from losing benefits. This sharply increased enrollment from 16 million beneficiaries to over 70 million. Now that these steps have expired with the PHE, families required to renew their benefits. Since renewals have not taken place since 2020, the most proactive step that families can take to prevent their loss of benefits are:

  • Updating their contact information with state Medicaid program or CHIP
  • Checking their mail for a renewal form while completing and submitting the form in a timely manner.

Assistance with these key messages is available in a Medicaid and CHIP Continuous Enrollment Unwinding — Toolkit in English (PDF) and a toolkit in Spanish (PDF).

Additionally, there are key steps that child care providers can take to share this information with their families:

  • Train all front-line staff and ensure they are knowledgeable on steps families can take to renew their health care coverage.
  • Share key information on Medicaid and CHIP renewal as part of their application intake or renewal process for other programs.
    • States may use information from other programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to verify eligibility and facilitate renewals, though some actions will require a state plan amendment.
    • CMS encourages states to set a renewal schedule that spreads renewal volume over a full 12-month period and aligns renewal dates for individuals within households and with recertification timing for the SNAP and other human services programs.
  • Promote Medicaid and CHIP renewal on their websites, social media channels, and in physical offices. Medicaid Unwinding Toolkit graphics are available in English and Spanish.
  • Ensure that families know if they are no longer eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, they may be eligible for the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Direct them to or help them visit Visit disclaimer page, or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to get details about Marketplace coverage.


October 27, 2021

Patient Care Technician Training Available

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is offering a four-week paid training program for Patient Care Technicians. Training includes instruction on how to assist with activities of daily life; instruction in patient hygiene and comfort; and how to obtain and record vitals and other health indicators. Upon successful completion of the training, participants will be considered for part-time or full-time employment.

Additional Information

The four-week training takes place from Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Applicants much be at least 18 years old and:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
    Possess general computer skills
  • Pass a background check

Note that other conditions may apply. Interested individuals can contact 412.482.3365 or


September 3, 2020

Single Mom Defined: Babysitting Cooperative

Attention single moms! Single Mom Defined launched a new countywide babysitting cooperative to strengthen single mom’s support systems and provide mothers with temporary relief to address personal needs such as sleep, medical treatment, or alone time.


Through Single Mom Defined’s babysitting cooperative, mothers will take turns watching each other’s children and participate in online and in-person programs at no cost. Participating mothers will also receive training and certifications, such as CPR.


Single Mom Defined’s babysitting cooperative is open to mothers in Clairton, East Hills, Homewood (including Lincoln, Larimer, and Lemington), and the Hilltop (including Arlington, Beltzhoover, and Knoxville). Space is limited.

To become a member, complete the online Babysitting Co-Op Interest Form. After submitting the form, a member of the Single Mom Defined team will contact you to follow up.

More Information

For questions, email

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June 9, 2020

Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Medical Clinic

Don’t let your child fall behind on their needed immunizations. Visit the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile to access vaccinations for children ages two months through high school, receive WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) form assistance, learn important health and safety information, and more.

About the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown are partnering to bring needed vaccines, safely, to western Pennsylvania communities through the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

Appropriate physical distancing measures will be maintained. Please give yourself adequate time in case of a wait. Adults and children over age two are asked to arrive wearing a mask. A mask will be provided if you do not have one. Children must be accompanied by one parent or legal guardian.

Services Provided

The following services will be available:

    • vaccinations, ages two months through high school;
    • WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) form assistance;
    • health and safety information;
    • kindergarten registration information;
    • at-home activities for summertime; and
    • food and infant formula resources.

Available Dates and Locations

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is scheduled at the following locations and times:

Always call the Care Mobile prior to coming to any clinic at 412.352.1059 or 412.352.1060 for updated information about any weather or mechanical difficulties. No appointment is necessary at most sites.

More Information

For questions, contact the Care Mobile at 412.352.1059. To view the updated schedule, please visit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh website.

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May 7, 2020

Keeping Our Children Well During COVID-19

Join former American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) president, Colleen Kraft, MD, FAAP, for a discussion on how early care and education (ECE) providers can support families’ medical care during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


ECE programs can support families’ access to needed medical care. The AAP recommends children under 24 months maintain their Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) immunization schedule to prevent the breakout of communicable diseases. Many pediatricians are conducting well-child visits through telehealth appointments. However, families may be struggling to access these services. To learn how ECE providers can support families’ medical care during the pandemic, register to attend this webinar.


To register, visit the event webpage. The registration link can be used for both the live event and on-demand viewing. The recording will be available to watch on-demand starting 30 minutes after the live event ends, until May 31, 2020. Because access to the live event is limited and the session may be full, event hosts recommend watching the webinar on-demand.

A version with English closed captions will also be posted on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) in the future.


August 5, 2019

For Children’s Long-Term Success, Families Need Paid Leave

When a family introduces a new child into their life, the last thing they should have to worry about is if they have the time and money to properly care for and bond with their child. However, families across the Commonwealth are in that exact situation, with many caregivers involuntarily reducing their work hours, changing jobs, or leaving the workforce entirely.

Early Interactions Matter

While many may associate childhood learning with the education system, learning and development begin much earlier than a child’s first classroom experience. Parents and caregivers are children’s first teachers, and to support the long-term success of the next generation, we need to ensure that all caregivers are afforded the opportunity to care for and bond with their children.

In Pennsylvania, there are more than 870,000 children under the age of six. Of those children, 41 percent live in low-income households. While about 51 percent of children birth to age five are in non-parental care for at least 10 hours per week, accessing such services can be difficult and expensive. Due to high costs, limited seats, and child care deserts, families across the Commonwealth are left without access to the affordable, high-quality child care services they need.

The difficulties don’t stop there. Without child care access, families have limited options. They can rotate their child through a list of available family members and friends; reduce or shift their work hours; change their profession; or leave the workforce entirely. More often than not, these challenges disproportionately affect women who make up 94 percent of workers that involuntarily work part-time due to child care problems. While these options exist, all of them can lead to negative outcomes, including financial insecurity, inconsistent caregiving, increased family stress, and difficulties reentering the workforce.

Research shows that positive interactions with consistent adult caregivers are important during children’s early development, as they optimize the development of brain pathways for the visual and auditory senses, motor and language processing, higher cognitive functioning, and emotional regulation. This challenge is more than just having someone around to look after a child. It’s about establishing the conditions children need to experience success later in life.

Current Policy

In the current family leave system, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. FMLA was designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities, providing this benefit to employees at public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. However, just because unpaid leave is available does not mean that it is accessible. In January 2019, the National Partnership for Women and Families reported out that unpaid leave under the FMLA is inaccessible for 59 percent of working people.

The Family Care Act

If Pennsylvania passes the Family Care Act, families will no longer have to choose between remaining financially stable in the workforce and caring for their young child in the most critical period of their life. The Family Care Act establishes a statewide insurance fund, similar to Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation fund, which allows individuals to draw down a portion of their salary for:

    • Up to 12 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition
    • Up to 12 weeks to care for a covered service member as covered under FMLA
    • Up to 20 weeks to care for their own serious health condition
    • Up to 20 weeks to care for a new child after a birth, adoption, or placement through foster care

In Pennsylvania, families should come first. To ensure caregivers’ financial security, healthy relationship development, and workplace success, we need to make sure that they have access to the paid leave they need to care for their family. For the long-term personal, academic, and professional success of our youngest generation, we need to pass the Family Care Act.

Take Action

Paid family leave is not only a family value, it’s also a Pennsylvania value–and that’s a fact. Use your voice to advocate for families by encouraging the state government to pass the Family Care Act. Visit the campaign page to learn more.

To stay up-to-date on advocacy opportunities, sign up for Trying Together’s Public Policy newsletter or visit our Take Action page.


July 5, 2019

General Assistance Program Ending August 1, 2019

As required by Act 12 of 2019, which amended 62 P.S. § 403.2(a), the General Assistance program will end on August 1, 2019. No General Assistance cash assistance will be dispersed after July 31, 2019.

Additional Benefits Information

Current General Assistance recipients were notified of this change via mail. If they are currently receiving other benefits like Medical Assistance or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), those benefits will continue. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will notify clients before making changes to other benefits for any reason.

This change will likely result in an additional need for resources from charitable and social service organizations around the commonwealth. DHS is working closely with their partners to identify potential resources for people affected by this change.

Receiving Benefits

If you, someone you know, or someone you work with currently receives or thinks they qualify for General Assistance, they may qualify for other benefits. Individuals can contact their local County Assistance Office or apply online via COMPASS at

More Information

For more information, contact the DHS Helpline at 1-800-692-7462.

TDD Services are available at 1-800-451-5886.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services


May 7, 2019

Email Congress in Support of the FAMILY Act

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on paid family and medical leave, with testimony from expert witnesses, including advocates, a business owner, a state official, and researchers. But without your expertise, they will miss the voice of crucial stakeholders – babies!

What You Can Do

In advance of the hearing, babies need you to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support comprehensive paid leave for working families – the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. The Family Act is:

  • Inclusive: Provided to all working people, no matter where they live or the nature of their job;
  • Comprehensive: Offers extensive coverage of personal family caregiving and medical needs;
  • Meaningful: Gives a meaningful duration of leave to allow people sufficient time to meet their care and health needs – at least 12 weeks – and a wage replacement rate and benefit level that makes taking leave financially possible for everyone;
  • Sustainable: Funded in a way that is affordable for workers, employers, and the government without harming other essential programs; and
  • Secure: Protects workers from retaliation or adverse employment consequences for requesting or taking leave.

With public demand for comprehensive national paid leave stronger than ever before, now is the time to urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor the FAMILY Act.

Take Action

Email your Members of Congress now in support of our nation’s babies and families!

*Information provided by Zero to Three


March 29, 2019

Hello Robo: Early STEM Robotics

Robots provide unseen services across industries, including transportation, medical, and manufacturing. Early learners need the foundational STEM skills that allow them to imagine and build the robots of the future.

About the Event

Join the Carnegie Science Center Teaching Excellence Academy for a professional development workshop where participants will use resources from NAEYC and other STEM experts to examine developmentally appropriate concepts to prepare students for robotics technologies. Educators will discover hands-on, standards-aligned activities they can do right away, even if they don’t have a robot — yet!

This professional development opportunity is for pre-K through 2nd-grade teachers.

About the Academy

Carnegie Science Center’s Teaching Excellence Academy offers opportunities for educators in all grade levels, with specific workshops in STEM, early learner education, and digital fabrication. Act 48 credit is provided upon successful completion of each workshop. In addition to onsite workshops, the Science Center offers multiple opportunities for professional development to be delivered at local sites throughout the academic year. For more information, visit their website.

Registration & Questions

To register or ask questions, contact Toni Stith at or 412.237.1616.