Youth and Foster Care
AAP NJ Committee on Youth & Foster Care & Out of Home Placements
State Systems of Health Care for Children and Youth in Foster Care Chapter Project
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Pediatrics and Preventive Services, has awarded New Jersey Pediatric Council on Research and Education (NJ PCORE) a Chapter Planning Grant. The State Systems of Health Care for Children and Youth in Foster Care Program is a program designed to collaboratively work with New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) on their efforts to improve the department’s oversight of the healthcare needs of children in foster care. DCF is the State agency responsible for ensuring that the healthcare needs of children in out-of-home placement are met. Efforts will be focused on improving the provision, and coordination of healthcare services to children in Foster Care.
The program is designed to:
Improve communication and planning between key stakeholders involved in the provision of health care services to children in foster care.
Collaboratively work with identified partners on improving access to coordinated, continuous and quality primary and dental care within a medical home model. This includes the coordination of services that are age appropriate immunizations, services in compliance with Early, Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program, and appropriate and timely mental health assessments and services.
Assist with the integration of efforts of the Task Forces that are related with overlap in their purpose and goals to create a more comprehensive umbrella for foster care issues.
Provide continuing education and technical support to Foster Care Medical Homes related to improvements in the delivery of healthcare within the medical home framework.
There is a significant need to improve the coordination and access to healthcare services for children in New Jersey’s foster care. There are over 50,000 children involved with New Jersey’s foster care system with a significant increase of adolescents 13-18 entering the system. Children in New Jersey’s foster care system have many of the same health care needs as children in similar systems nationwide — well documented by the AAP as more complex and pressing than even the needs of the homeless or veterans returning from war. Caregivers responsible for providing foster care children with their health care needs face a plethora of challenges in this area of care provision. Both an inadequate statewide transportation system, particularly in rural areas of the state, and the uneven distribution of health care providers throughout the state contribute to the challenges faced by caregivers in foster care. Additionally, many of the state agencies responsible for the delivery of health care services operate within a silo further complicating the process of providing foster care children with coordinated access to these needed services.
Who is working on this state initiative?
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Health and Senior Services coordinate the provision of health care services to children in foster care. NJ PCORE and AAP NJ work in partnership to improve the provision and coordination of health care areas such as: improved access to children’s immunizations; prevention and intervention of child abuse and neglect; identification and care for postpartum depression; lead poisoning prevention; asthma management, and improvement of health care delivery within the context of the medical home.
Building on existing strong working relationships with both the Department of Children and Families and other key stakeholders in the health and wellbeing of children in foster care, PCORE will work with DCF and the American Academy of Pediatrics, New Jersey Chapter (NJAAP) in the development of the New Jersey System of Healthcare for Children and Youth in Foster Care.
The AAP NJ Chapter has reactivated an Ad Hoc Committee now co-chaired by Dr. E. Susan Hodgson and Dr. Cathy Ballance. Working within DCF’s “Coordinated Health Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Placement” framework, PCORE and AAP NJ will act as a catalyst to coordinate efforts to improve healthcare services for children in foster care.
September 2008 – August 2010