During difficult economic times, many California counties have expanded health insurance coverage for low-income children. These Children's Health Initiatives (CHIs) enroll children in public programs and provide new health insurance, Healthy Kids, for those ineligible for existing programs. This article describes the policy issues in implementing the Santa Clara and San Mateo County CHIs, as well as the children's enrollment levels and utilization of services. These CHIs are among the first of the thirty California counties planning or implementing such initiatives. Their success depends on leadership from county agencies that have not traditionally worked closely together, as well as the development of a diverse public and private funding base. This effort to provide universal coverage for all children is important to national policymakers desiring similar goals.
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