Preparing for Your Foster Child's Appointment

When your child is placed into foster care, the Department of Human Services (DHS), Community Umbrella Agency (CUA), or healthcare provider may refer your child to CHOP’s Fostering Health Program (FHP). You will get a call from the FHP’s care coordinator to introduce the program and schedule a time for the initial evaluation at CHOP’s Main Campus.

The goal is to schedule the appointment within 30 days of your foster child’s placement in your home. The evaluation typically lasts one and a half hours. Your child may see a series of specialists, including pediatricians, occupational therapists, and others. Foster parents are expected to attend the evaluation, and biological parents may be invited to attend as well, as appropriate.

In advance of the appointment, our care coordinator will work with your foster child’s DHS case worker and any prior providers to gather all medical records and relevant background information. Identifying missed immunizations or previously diagnosed medical conditions is an important step towards helping us generate an accurate health picture to guide coordination of care moving forward.

Please be prepared to provide copies of any records you have received, including medical records or information from the child’s school, such as lists of allergies or medications, and any DHS or court-related information to help us provide the most complete evaluation for your foster child.

During your appointment, you should be prepared to discuss any questions you have about:

  • Your child’s medical history based on the background information provided by her/his DHS or CUA case worker.
  • Behaviors or medical issues you’ve observed in your foster child. Behavioral problems might include discipline, bullying, trauma and attachment issues and/or sleep issues.
  • Basic medical screenings that will be performed during the evaluation, including vision, hearing, a complete physical exam and TB screening.
  • Developmental, behavioral, and emotional screenings that may be performed. Among other things, the specialist(s) may assess speech and language skills, gross motor skills, cognitive skills and school or learning challenges.
  • The next steps in the FHP program, such as when all medical records and information from the child’s medical history will be sent to the PCP and any follow-up appointments that may be needed.
  • How you, the PCP, the DHS or CUA, and the CHOP team can work together to make sure there’s follow through at the PCP’s office with treatments and referrals.
  • From the initial FHP evaluation, a clear, concise medical summary, or “medical passport” of your child’s health and background will be developed. This information will be shared with you (the foster parent), primary care physician, and DHS or CUA case worker to ensure coordinated, streamlined care.

We will work together to establish a care plan moving forward, including a plan for routine well-child and sick visits, as well as referrals and appointments with any necessary specialists. The FHP’s nurse coordinator can help you manage any challenges or concerns you have.

With any change in your child’s placement — return to biological home, adoption, or a different foster care placement — your child may be scheduled for a follow-up health assessment at the Fostering Health Program. This will help ensure a smooth transition for your child and make sure his or her healthcare is well-coordinated during these transitions.