End Notes

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The explosive growth of mobile communications in developing countries is transforming the delivery of health care. Some organizations in India will now use cell phones to help the millions of malnourished children who live in the country's poorest and most remote areas.

India's Ministry of Women and Child Development plans to use mobile phones to monitor the Ministry's Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) food program for children birth to age 6. ICDS, one of the world's largest and most unique programs for early childhood development, provides children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers with supplementary nutrition through a network of Anganwadi Centres.

The government's decision to transition to mobile monitoring comes in response to the need for restructuring and strengthening the delivery of India's child development services that focus on health and nutrition. Initially, the mobile monitoring will be used on a trial basis to collect, coordinate, and communicate information on the ICDS food program operating in some Anganwadi Centres.

For India and many other developing nations, the far-reaching capabilities of mobile phones puts widespread access to improved health care in the palm of a hand and gives remote health care workers the ability to monitor and gather information quickly across wide areas in the field, both manually and automatically. As the convergence of health care and mobile communications intensifies, the paradigm shift will undoubtedly revolutionize the reach and the quality of health care worldwide.

The Australian government reports that almost $200 million in rebate money to help parents with the cost of child-care is yet to be claimed by nearly 100,000 eligible families. Consequently, many families are missing out on an opportunity to claim as much as $7,500 yearly per child. If an eligible family with two children spends $30,000 a year on day care, family day care, or afterschool care, they could receive up to $15,000 in rebates paid quarterly or annually.

The Australian government provides two types of financial assistance to help families with child care costs -- the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate. Child Care Minister Kate Ellis concludes that many families may not realize they are eligible for the rebates because of misunderstandings about the differences between the two. "A whole lot of parents who know they are not eligible for the Child Care Benefit just assume they are not eligible for the rebate," Ellis said.

The Child Care Benefit is based on income guidelines, while the Child Care Rebate is not. To secure the rebate, parents' income must first be assessed for the Child Care Benefit. If the family is not eligible for the Child Care Benefit because of income, they could still be eligible for the Child Care Rebate.

Rhea Perlman, a four-time Emmy Award-winning actress best known for her role as the feisty Carla on the NBC sitcom "Cheers," is helping the Children's Action Network (CAN) to champion the adoption of older children in the foster care system.

A longtime advocate for children, Perlman is working with CAN to produce a series of videos called "Change a Child's Life" to help foster children in Los Angeles find permanent homes. CAN has produced 40 videos so far in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Perlman's blog on the Huffington Post features new videos in the series and is accessible at www.huffingtonpost.com/rhea-perlman. The "Change A Child's Life" series of videos can be viewed at www.childrensactionnetwork.org.

Best practices for providers serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are homeless is the focus of a three-part training video series, Larkin Street Stories: Serving Homeless LGBTQ Youth.

The videos were produced for the Homelessness Resource Center, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Once homeless, LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for victimization, substance abuse, mental health problems, and suicide. While some specifically inclusive shelters exist, they are few and far between. Each of the six- to nine-minute video episodes features true stories about the dangers and difficulties of homelessness through the eyes of LGBTQ homeless youth and the help they have found at Larkin Street Youth Services' Haight Street Drop-In Center in San Francisco.

In the first episode, youth talk about the family rejections that led them to leave home. Larkin staff members share insights about the importance of support for this particular homeless population, and reflections on their approaches to helping these youth recognize their strengths and reach their full potential despite the challenges they have experienced. Episode two features discussions about how to create a safe and welcoming environment for LBGTQ youth and effective approaches to handling homophobia and hate speech. In the third episode, a transgender youth is counseled about how to prepare for a job interview, and staff members discuss the importance of respecting an LBGTQ youth's identity. To view the video series, visit http://bit.ly/kRpJl8.

SAMHSA's Homelessness Resource Center is an interactive learning community to share state-of-the art knowledge, evidence-based practices, and resources to prevent and end homelessness. The Resource Center's website is located at homeless.samhsa.gov.

More information about Larkin Street Youth Services can be found online at www.larkinstreetyouth.org.

Health Beat

In recognition of the unique health care needs of collegiate foster youth, Qliance Medical Management, Inc., has formed a partnership with the Seattle Central Community College Foundation that will give former foster youth enrolled in the college's Success Program full and free access to high-quality health care. Qliance, which operates insurance-free direct primary care clinics in Washington State, will donate 10 one-year primary care memberships to eligible students through its Community Works Program. Additional financial support from Soroptimist International of South Seattle, a volunteer organization of business and professional women, will underwrite the cost of 10 additional one-year memberships.

These free memberships will enable 20 of Seattle Central's students to have unbridled access to comprehensive health care services that include primary care, preventive care, and chronic illness management at any of Qliance's clinics in Seattle, Kent, and Mercer Island, Washington. There are no co-pays, no deductibles, no co-insurance, and no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

In an effort to expand the program, Qliance is seeking the support of other partners and donors. Those interested in becoming a partner or a donor may contact Philip Mertz, Director of Membership Development for Qliance, at pmertz@qliance.com. For more information about Qliance, visit www.Qliance.com.

Tech Trends

Online photo sharing has exploded, and so has the circulation of child pornography. In response, Facebook is cracking down on the distribution of child pornography shared through or stored on its site. With Microsoft's new Photo-DNA technology, Facebook won't have to rely on complaints to police the site, where more than 500 million users upload images every day.

PhotoDNA's image-matching technology is designed to quickly scan millions of photos for pornography and missing children--even if they are edited or otherwise manipulated. Working with Dartmouth College, Microsoft developed PhotoDNA and donated it to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). PhotoDNA's unique "fingerprint technology" digitally analyzes photos to search for matches against 10,000 photos in NCMEC's database.

Images that exploit or endanger children can easily be identified and removed. Uploads of pornographic images can be blocked as well. The technology can also be used to report evidence of child pornography to law enforcement and NCMEC so they can take immediate action.

Facebook is the first social network to start using this free technology. Microsoft has already implemented PhotoDNA into its search engine, Bing, and its online file storage service, Skydrive. For more information, visit Microsoft's PhotoDNA Newsroom at www.microsoftphotodna.com.

Have an opinion on child welfare issues in the news, especially the comments above? Send a letter to the editor to voice@cwla.org.

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