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Pallone Honored for His Work Supporting Information Centers for Families of Children with Special Health Care Needs

May 1, 2013
Press Release


Newark, NJ - Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., (NJ-06) was recognized today by National Family Voices and Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) for his strong and ongoing support of the network of Family to Family Health Information Centers (F2F HIC), family-led organizations that provide information, training, and support to families of children with special healthcare needs, across the country.

National Family Voices, whose motto is “keeping families at the heart of children's healthcare,” presented Pallone with the award during the Congressman’s visit to SPAN in Newark, New Jersey.  SPAN is the federally funded F2F HIC for New Jersey, working to enhance access to quality healthcare and other services for children, youth and young adults with special healthcare needs and their families.  Congressman Pallone toured the facility, met with staff and parent leaders, and discussed his legislation to extend funding for the F2F HIC program.

“SPAN in New Jersey and Family to Family Health Information Centers across the country are playing an vital role in their communities to assure that families of children with special health care needs are informed about the health care resources, treatments and services available so that they may make informed decisions for their children,” said Congressman Pallone.  “The Centers make the health care system more effective and efficient for children and their families, and that’s why I’m working in Congress to make sure these Centers remain funded in the future.”

“National Family Voices is extremely pleased to present an award to Congressman Pallone for his unfailing support of children with special health care needs and their families.  It is clear that he really understands the struggles parents face in trying to make sure their children get the care they need to survive and thrive.  And he also understands how difficult it is for most families to pay for that care including families with insurance who often face exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses for copays, uncovered therapies, medications and other expenses.  Congressman Pallone has helped these families in the past, and is continuing his support. By sponsoring legislation to extend funding for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers he not only touches on the lives of New Jersey families.  His reach is to all these centers, located in every state and the District of Columbia that help families find resources to meet their children’s health care needs.  In supporting these centers, Congressman Pallone is supporting the well-being of the most vulnerable children among us and the families that care for them,” said Dr. Lynn Pedraza, Executive Director of National Family Voices.

“Congressman Pallone has been an ardent advocate for New Jersey's children and families, especially those who face the greatest challenges.  SPAN especially values his commitment to families who have children with special healthcare needs, who are more likely to be poor and who need to access services from multiple systems,” said Diana MTK Autin, Executive Co-Director.  “As the Family Voices State Affiliate, we are proud to join National Family Voices in presenting Congressman Pallone with an award in recognition of his leadership in sponsoring legislation to continue funding for the vital network of Family to Family Health Information Centers across the country.”

As the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Pallone has been a strong supporter of the F2F HIC program and a leader on the issue in Congress.  Last month, Pallone introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to extend funding for F2F HICs through 2016, as the program’s funding is set to expire at the end of this year.  With the support of Pallone and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), funding for this program was been extended through 2013 as part of the deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

F2F HICs are state-wide organizations that provide information, education, training, outreach, and peer support to families of children and youth with special health care needs and the professionals who serve them.  They are staffed by people who have firsthand experience navigating the health care system, because they also have children with special health care needs and are thus in a unique position to help families and children receive the best health care counsel and support available.  Since the Centers were created in 2005, they have served hundreds of thousands of families nationwide.

In addition to serving as New Jersey’s Family to Family Health Information Center, SPAN’s projects include being a New Jersey Parent Training and Information Center and Military Family 360 Support Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

SPAN’s parent leader groups Winning Angels of Hudson & Bergen County; Hispanic Information Center of Passaic's Parent Organization; and Jewish Renaissance Foundation Family Success Center in Perth Amboy also participated in the event with the Congressman.