Just like foster children need a real home to call their own, they also need a "medical home" they can turn to for their health care: doctors who know them, their health history and what’s going on with them physically and emotionally. That’s key, considering about half of kids entering foster care have a chronic physical or developmental condition.
Why Do Foster Children Need a Medical Home?
Being a foster family can be incredibly rewarding. You have the opportunity to make a positive impact on a child’s life, offering the hope, stability, and nurturing environment every child needs. Of course, the experience also can be overwhelming and confusing as everyone gets used to each other and the new home dynamic.
When children in foster care have a "medical home," it helps give them regular, familiar faces (and a place) that they can get to know, trust and feel comfortable with, which is key for kids who’ve often been through so many changes and challenges in their young lives.
A medical home also ensures that:
- foster children’s health care is coordinated on an ongoing basis
- any red flags (physical and emotional) are addressed as soon
- foster parents and schools are aware of any issues and advised about what to expect developmentally at every age and stage and what might be cause for concern
Children are especially vulnerable when they transition into and out of foster care or between home placements; they run the risk of having their health needs go unnoticed or unmet altogether. To help prevent kids from falling through the cracks, federal mandate requires states to develop "a plan for the ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for any child in foster care placement."