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Back to School

The Covering Kids & Families (CKF) 6th Annual Back-to-School Campaign was launched Tuesday, August 2, 2005 in Washington DC. Hip-hop artist Benny Cassette, Southern Institute on Children and Families President/CEO and CKF National Program Director Sarah Shuptrine, DC United Soccer Player Jaime Moreno, US Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President/CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey (pictured above from left to right) were among those who participated in the launch. Following the launch Back-to-School participants posed with children at the Kennedy Recreation Center where the event took place.


Covering Kids & Families

Supporting Families

Child Care/Early Education

Southern Business Leadership Council

Carolina Nutrition Alliance

Eligibility Process Improvement Center



2004 Annual Report

2004 Chartbook of Major Indicators

Other Publications


Government Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Victims

President Bush has announced that all residents of counties that have been declared disaster areas will be given evacuee status. These people will be eligible to apply for public benefits in the states that they are being relocated and will have a less burdensome administrative process to go through. They will be eligible for the full range of public benefits such as:

Bush also said that states should not have to carry the burden of providing these benefits, and he is going to be working with Congress to develop a plan to reimburse the states.

Any evacuee can contact the nearest state or local benefits office to get information about enrolling. And for those in shelters, state enrollment teams are set up or have established 1-800 numbers evacuees can call. Those with Internet access can go to

Covering Kids & Families Launches 6th Annual Back-to-School Campaign

August 2, 2005—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation kicked off its 6th Annual Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School campaign in Washington, DC, to encourage parents to enroll their eligible children in Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Speakers at the national launch event included U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Sarah Shuptrine, National Program Director of Covering Kids & Families and President/CEO of the Southern Institute on Children and Families.

The Southern Institute on Children and Families is National Program Office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Covering Kids & Families initiative. To learn more about Covering Kids & Families and the Back-to-School campaign, please visit

Natasha Metcalf Named to Southern Institute Board of Directors

The Southern Institute on Children and Families is pleased to welcome Natasha Metcalf as the newest member of its Board of Directors. Metcalf is Associate General Counsel and Vice President of Contract Management with Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville. She is the former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services where she had overall responsibility for the management and operation of more than 20 social service programs including TANF, Child Support, Child Care, Food Stamps and Vocational Rehabilitation.

Metcalf’s history with the Southern Institute includes service on the Southern Regional Task Force on Child Care. She was appointed to serve on the Task Force by then Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist, and she led efforts that resulted in several improvements to Tennessee’s child care program in terms of families’ access to quality, affordable child care and early education.

Metcalf earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee, College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Virginia.

Grant to Southern Institute Launches BlueCross BlueShield Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative

June 24, 2005 — The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation has awarded a $137,000 grant to the Southern Institute on Children and Families to conduct the first phase of the South Carolina Obesity Assessment Project.

The project is an initiative of the foundation to identify solutions that can help reduce South Carolina’s childhood obesity problem. Under the grant, the Southern Institute will conduct an assessment of state, national and international data related to childhood and adult obesity, and will identify strategies and practices that have demonstrated results in reducing and preventing childhood obesity.

Child, Family Indicators Show South Still Lags Behind Other Regions

Children in the South continue to suffer from poverty, child abuse and poor educational performance at a rate significantly worse than other regions, according to a new compendium of research unveiled Tuesday, August 24, 2004, in Atlanta, GA.

Some 5.2 million southern children are growing up poor, and Southern children are also more likely to die from abuse and neglect, lack basic reading skills or lack child health coverage, child care, according to the 2004 Chartbook of Major Indicators: Conditions Placing Children in the South At Risk (pdf, 1.5MB). The report was released by the Southern Institute on Children and Families during a meeting of the affiliated Southern Business Leadership Council.

Grant Awarded to the Southern Institute on Children and Families To Increase Food Stamp Participation and Improve the Accuracy and Efficiency of the Food Stamp Process in Three South Carolina Counties

The Southern Institute on Children and Families is the recipient of a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant will fund the Carolina Nutrition Alliance, which will simultaneously address the issues of increasing Food Stamp Program participation while increasing the productivity of eligibility workers, the accuracy and efficiency of the food stamp process and improving worker morale.

The Carolina Nutrition Alliance will improve the work processes of three South Carolina county Department of Social Services offices-Charleston, Beaufort and Richland. The Southern Institute will administer the Carolina Nutrition Alliance through partnerships with the State Agency administering the Food Stamp Program, the South Carolina Department of Social Services, and Agape Ministries of Charleston.

Read the USDA press release announcing the Southern Institute as the $1 million grant recipient.

Southern Business Leadership Council Formed to Address Issues Affecting Low-Income Children and Families in the South

Because southern states lead the nation with high rates of child poverty, uninsured children and infant deaths and disabilities, leaders from across the South announced the formation of the Southern Business Leadership Council (SBLC) at a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 9, 2002.

Under the auspices of the Southern Institute on Children and Families, the SBLC will work accross the Southern Region to address societal issues that impact productive and stable employment of lower income individuals and to support efforts to achieve greater opportunities for child development.

The Southern Institute released a chartbook, which uses leading economic, health, child care and education indicators to compare the health and well being of children in the South to that of children across the United States.

Richard Riley Returns to Southern Institute Board

We are delighted to announce the return of The Honorable Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of the state of South Carolina, to the Southern Institute on Children and Families Board of Directors.

Mr. Riley served as Chairman of the Southern Institute’s Board from 1990 to 1993. His presidential appointment as U.S. Secretary of Education in 1993 necessitated Mr. Riley’s departure from the Board. Mr. Riley resumed service on the Board in the fall of 2001.