SCRANTON —Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett served as a special guest reader during the Lackawanna Children’s Library “Tales for Tots” story hour on Wednesday.
Corbett also joined Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Executive Director Franca D’Agostino to educate parents about the importance of the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“As a mother of four, I try my best to make sure that my kids are always safe and have what they need,” D’Agostino said. “That includes making sure they are eating right, sleeping well, and playing safe. In order to do that, I have a support system and a safety net. In Pennsylvania, CHIP is that safety net for some families.”
D’Agostino added that although the program is helping some families, there is a need for additional discussion on its benefits.
“CHIP has made a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “Kids in Pennsylvania are well because of CHIP, but we need to do more to get the word out. We want to be where families go for information, and we want to partner in their good health.
“With CHIP, families have peace of mind knowing their children have access to doctors, prescription drug coverage or even eye glasses.”
According to D’Agostino, Gov. Tom Corbett is pushing to get the program reauthorized. Gov. Corbett’s Healthy Pennsylvania plan seeks to eliminate CHIP’s six-month mandatory waiting period that exists for some children.
The plan has three key priorities: improving access, ensuring quality and providing affordability to quality health care.
Laureen Maloney, Head of Children’s Services at the Lackawanna County Children’s Library, believes the setting is conducive to providing important information to large groups of people.
“The library is one of the last places where parents and children can come on an equal level,” she said. “It doesn’t matter their economic or racial background. They all come together here. We have access to a lot of information in a comfortable place. We can make some information available they might otherwise by hesitant to get.”
Rich Brazill of Dickson City attended the story hour with his son and thought the presentation was effective.
“I think it’s a good message for the kids and parents alike,” he said. “Anything like this is a good thing.”
Corbett stressed the importance of libraries for a child’s learning growth.
“Libraries are a really good place to go,” she said. “They have books with lots of answers and if you can’t find the answer in a book, you can ask a librarian where to look.”
During the program’s history, more than one million children have been provided access to quality coverage and care through CHIP, and more than 188,000 children are currently enrolled in the program.