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Public Programs

Kids Welcome Here®



About Kids Welcome Here®

Pediatric vision care has been a programming priority for POA since 1999. Kids Welcome Here®, implemented in 2001,  is a multi-pronged education campaign designed by the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) to educate the public about the importance of comprehensive vision care for children.

The Kids Welcome Here® campaign consists of the following major elements:

  • Materials to educate parents and others who provide care to children about the importance of early, regular eye examinations for their children. In addition to being used by optometrists as educational tools in their offices and communities, posters and brochures were distributed to state health clinics, Head Start centers, hospitals and daycare centers.
  • Posters and flyers highlighting the importance of regular exams for school-aged children, which were distributed to all public and private elementary schools in Pennsylvania.
  • Continuing education in pediatric vision care for optometrists.
  • Consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to revise the commonwealth’s vision screening procedures for school-aged children, effective September 2002.
  • Program to educate school nurses about the revised screening procedures, including rationale for the revision, how to administer the new tests and referral criteria. Volunteer POA members have been providing this program at no cost to nurses across the state since 2001 during in-service programs for school districts as well as during Intermediate Unit programs and other regional nurse meetings.
  • Program to educate school nurses and teachers about children's vision, demonstrating the link between vision and learning and providing information about eye and vision conditions common among school-aged children. This program, which has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide Act 48 education credits for nurses and teachers, is presented by volunteer optometrists at no cost to school districts, Intermediate Units and other school nurse organizations.

Printed Materials Available to POA Members

The POA has the following printed materials available at no charge to POA members.

Materials can be requested by emailing Kelsey@poaeyes.org or calling (717) 233-6455. The "White Pupil/Retinoblastoma" flyer can also be downloaded.

 

Additional Achievements Through Kids Welcome Here Programming

  • In 2004 the POA/VCI added the national InfantSEE® program to its overall Kids Welcome Here campaign. InfantSEE is a public health initiative of the American Optometric Association to offer a one-time FREE eye and vision assessment to infants under the age of one year. Four hundred and fifty Pennsylvania optometrists across the state have volunteered to provide this public health service.

  • Developed a relationship with the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners, providing education at statewide meetings.

  • Developed a relationship with the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and its member agencies to educate Prevention of Blindness staff that provide vision screenings for pre-schoolers about the revised screening procedures. We continue to work with PAB to standardize the organization's pre-school screenings and referral criteria.

  • Worked with the Governor's Office to ensure that pediatric vision care was included in Governor Ed Rendell's Cover All Kids initiative, which resulted in the expansion of Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover all uninsured children through the age of 19 regardless of family income. POA partnered with CHIP to develop materials highlighting the vision care benefit.

Education Programs for School Nurses and Teachers

Children's Vision: A Guide for School Nurses & Teachers
The POA has available an exclusive education program, Children’s Vision: A Guide for School Nurses & Teachers, that is available for members to present to school nurses, teachers, parents, civic groups or any others who provide care to children. This program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for 2 hours for Act 48 credits.

Pennsylvania's School Vision Screening Procedures
After working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to revise the school vision screening procedures, implemented in September 2002, the POA developed an education program for school nurses, providing training on the revised school vision screening guidelines.

Contact Lens Education Program
The contact lens program is designed to educate school nurses and others working with children about contact lenses, and provide them with the confidence needed to handle contact lens related eye problems successfully.

Licensing Information ~ State Optometric Associations

State optometric associations that are interested in using the POA's Kids Welcome Here® (KWH) materials in their state can license the program from the POA. There are eleven states, in addition to Pennsylvania, that have licensed Kids Welcome Here so far.

The license provides for:

  • Kids Welcome Here®/Children's Vision 1-3-5®Poster
  • Kids Welcome Here®/Children's Vision 1-3-5® Brochure
  • The "White Pupil/Retinoblastoma" flyer

Materials, which must be purchased through the POA, are personalized for each state, including the name, logo, address, etcetera of the state association as well as the name and logo of a sponsor (if appropriate).

For additional information and samples, please contact Kelsey Rodkey, POA communications coordinator.