Fostering Good Health and Happiness

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is ensuring every foster child has access to coordinated, compassionate and high-quality care during a crucial period of childhood.

Supporting a vulnerable population

Mother holding child Judy Dawson, a nurse on the Fostering Health team (a program within Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health), knows this scenario all too well.

Along with several pediatricians, child abuse specialists, occupational therapists, psychologists and a social worker, Judy partners closely with foster care families and Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and its Community Umbrella Agencies (CUAs) to advocate for every foster child.

This vulnerable population – more than 5,000 in the Philadelphia region alone – often lack routine healthcare due to frequent changes in placement, and many have chronic health conditions and behavioral and emotional problems needing coordinated care.

Once referred to the Fostering Health clinic, children receive comprehensive mental, physical and developmental evaluations. These appointments often last more than an hour which can be very draining and most families bring along several foster children so they could spend the entire day in clinic. At the conclusion of the evaluation, the team develops a care plan, or a ‘medical passport’, to empower foster parents to continue to advocate for the health of their foster children.

The goals of the program include:

  • Prompt, comprehensive evaluations following foster care placement
  • Establishing a primary care medical home for consistent health supervision
  • Reducing preventable hospitalizations and visits to the emergency department
  • Making earlier connections to the services children can benefit from
  • Aiding the child’s transition into a new living situation
  • Assisting the foster parents in accessing services for unique healthcare needs

You can support the Fostering Health program

Currently, the Fostering Health staff treat approximately 300 patients each year. This free service is critical, but the demand is much more than CHOP has the capacity to address. Through your support of For Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs, you will empower CHOP to help more children and families in more communities. You may choose to support the Fostering Health Program or invest in another area that touches your heart. Please give today.