Immigration advocates are starting a new outreach effort in Kern County to enroll undocumented children in Medi-Cal. This is the first year undocumented kids can enroll in the government-sponsored insurance program.
There are an estimated 170,000 undocumented children living in California and a recent change in state law means that for the first time they can sign up for Medi-Cal insurance.
The Dolores Huerta Foundation is launching an outreach effort called "Health For All Kids" to find and enroll the children.
Yesenia Contreras with the foundation says they are going to start by going door-to-door this week in east Bakersfield.
“With the implementation of the Medi-Cal expansion, California will be the fifth state in the nation and the state with the largest immigrant population to expand affordable quality health care to low-income, undocumented immigrant children,” Contreras said.
Children who enroll now will only have access to limited scope Medi-Cal until May when they are automatically moved to full-service Medi-Cal.
The foundation also hopes that by reaching out to undocumented families they can be ready if the state ever decides to expand the program to cover undocumented adults in addition to their children.