Fostering Health Program

Children in foster care experience a high prevalence of medical, behavioral health, and developmental health conditions. Family separation is a traumatic experience, and many children in foster care have experienced additional trauma. Children in foster care also experience unique barriers to health care, and prior health care may have been fragmented or incomplete.

Nationally there are over 400,000 children in foster care and in Philadelphia there are over 5000 children in care. The Fostering Health Program (FHP) is here to help meet the special healthcare needs of children in foster care. FHP is an outpatient assessment program led by a multidisciplinary team of specialists at CHOP who work together to assess and provide care coordination for the healthcare needs of children in foster care.

What we do

FHP serves children of all ages in foster care. We provide comprehensive health assessments to identify medical, behavioral, emotional and developmental needs. Assessments include careful review of medical records, standardized screening tools, history, physical examination and occupational therapy developmental evaluation. Our team of experienced providers creates a plan to help with the child’s care moving forward. We create a health passport document to help communicate the child’s medical needs. Our nurse care coordinator ensures that all patients are linked to a medical home for ongoing care. When additional health services are needed, our multidisciplinary team can recommend treatments and referrals. We can provide anticipatory guidance and support in meeting health care needs.

We collaborate with community agencies including Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and its Community Umbrella Agencies (CUAs) with the goal of ensuring access to continuous, coordinated and high-quality care during this crucial period of childhood. We can provide vital information about health care needs and immunizations to the child’s family and care team.

About our team

The members of the Fostering Health Program team are leaders in the field of child healthcare and welfare. Our team includes general pediatricians, child abuse pediatric specialists, nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and a dedicated social worker.

Our team members are also part of other CHOP programs, including Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health, and the International Adoption Health Program. Their research and expertise in the areas of child maltreatment, foster care, and adoption are nationally recognized.