There are over ten million injuries on the job each year. Over three million of those injuries result in disabilities and five thousand people lose their lives. The cost for injuries exceed $70 billion annually for workers’ compensation benefits alone. The actual cost to American businesses exceeds $500 billion!
There is an often forgotten group that suffers when someone is disabled or loses their life on the job. That is the family members and particularly the children of these workers. Each year the list of children left without a father or mother due to an on the job accident grows.
Of the five thousand deaths that occurred on the job last year at least half left one or more dependent children anywhere from not yet born to college age.
There are scores of thousands of children in this category, not to mention the children whose parents survive a work related injury but are never able to return to employment again. What happens to these children?
The benefits provided by the various state workers’ compensation programs replace today’s wages up to a limit but many times they are not sufficient to help the family with their most important responsibility, the education of their children.
In 1988 a group of individuals in Georgia got together and formed an organization to help children who were unable to continue high school or go on to a trade school or college due to a parent’s death or disability. The name selected was Kids’ Chance.
Since beginning in 1988 Kids’ Chance has spread to other states including Alabama, Utah, South Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, and Missouri. In 1998, Kids’ Chance of America was formed to assist all states in forming their own Kids’ Chance chapter.
In August 1998, Georgia’s Kids’ Chance celebrated it’s tenth anniversary and recorded total contributions of one million dollars. Throughout the United States several million dollars have been raised through the efforts of all the people involved in the workers’ compensation system: attorneys, employers, doctors, labor unions, rehabilitation counselors, insurance companies, administrators, and political leaders.
Children who would have otherwise been denied the opportunity to fulfill their parents’ dreams for them have finished their education. I’d like to share a few of their stories with you.
On November 17, 1985, emergency medical technician William David Godwin answered a call to rush to an accident site on Interstate 75 where a multiple vehicle accident left several motorist severely injured.
A road block was set up by the state police to slow traffic. A semi-truck ran through the road block, struck Dave Godwin, and pinned him against his ambulance. He was left with several life threatening injuries including a brain stem injury that left him in a coma. Dave had a wife, and two teenage children.
Workers’ compensation benefits and a part-time job help Mrs. Godwin make ends meet, but there was not enough to help with the tuition for their daughter Christie to go on to college full time.
In the spring of 1995 David Godwin died, having never come out of his coma for ten years.
Thanks to Kids’ Chance, Christie was able to attend college only working part-time as a waitress. Now she is a teacher passing on to other children what she has been able to receive with the help of Kids’ Chance.
A letter from Nicole
My dad was hurt on the job, December 13, 1989. Since that time he has had fifteen surgeries and will not be able to work again. After I was accepted at the University of Virginia my Dad started to worry about money.
Then God answered one of his many prayers. He heard about Kids’ Chance and the rest is history.
I am a Kids’ Chance scholar and I am doing well here at UVA. My overall grades have been very good. I have always thought that God is wonderful. I have always thought that I had the best father in the world, now that Kids’ Chance has given me this opportunity my life is even more wonderful.
Christopher Brian White:
A letter from his mother
To whom it may concern:
Regarding, Christopher Brian White, receiving financial aid. It is with much regret and sorrow that I write this letter. However, our situation demands such in order for him to further his education and set goals for the future.
His father’s sudden, tragic death not only left us in shock and devastation, but also left this family of seven children without a father figure who we all loved dearly, looked up to and respected highly. We were left totally unprepared to carry on our lives as before. Our income was totally cut off including no insurance or savings.
It was his father’s desire that all our children have the advantage of a higher education. We would appreciate it very much if you could see that there is a need for financial assistance to enable Brian to experience college and put that knowledge toward a prosperous future for himself and his future family. Thank you for your consideration.
Few things change a child’s life more than the death or serious disability of a parent. It is a tragedy that can sap a child’s confidence, create new and formidable responsibilities, and dull the luster of a bright future.
Children are an incredible valuable resource, the most valuable resource our society has. We all have an obligation to help them succeed in life. Kids’ Chance helps youngsters through tough times and on to a successful life.
If you would like to help please contact:
Kids’ Chance, Inc.
P. O. Box 623
Valdosta, Georgia 31603-0623
Doug McCoy: President and Chief Executive Officer of McCoy Consulting, Inc., Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043. Established in 1997, McCoy Consulting is an independent firm which provides consulting services to stakeholders in the workers’ compensation industry. Mr. McCoy has served on many committees in the past including the NCCI Fraud Study Committee, Governor’s Study Committee on Workers’ Compensation, Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation Advisory Committee and Learning Services Head Injury Center Advisory Committee. Mr. McCoy currently sits on the Rules Committee of the Chairman’s Advisory Committee and serves as a Board Member of Kids’ Chance, Inc. and Kids’ Chance of America. Mr. McCoy is a Workers’ Compensation Claim Law Associate, a Senior Claim Law Associate and is a member of the Society of Claim Law Associates. He may be reached at email@example.com.