About 550,000 children are currently in foster care in the United States, with 19,000 foster children in Ohio. The vast majority of children are placed into care due to neglect, physical abuse, parental substance abuse or abandonment. Almost 40 percent of these children will remain in foster care for more than two years.
Obstacles to Healthcare
- Most children entering foster care do not receive comprehensive developmental or psychological evaluations during placement.
- State Medicaid insurance provided to children in foster care is not accepted by many community providers, so many foster care parents are forced to use emergency departments and urgent care centers for routine care.
- Nearly one quarter of foster care children experience three or more placements while in care. One third of children re-enter the foster care system after being returned home. In most cases, every time a child goes into a new home, he or she is taken to a new doctor with no records of previous healthcare.
- Lack of continuity results in this high-risk group receiving inadequate preventive care as well as under-diagnosis and under-treatment of healthcare problems.
Special Population Needs
- Between 30 percent and 80 percent of foster care children have chronic medical problems.
- Up to 70 percent of foster care children have behavioral concerns.
- As many as 60 percent of foster care children have developmental delays.
- Children in foster care who receive specialized comprehensive care have more medical and mental health problems identified, are more likely to receive medical and mental health services, and are more likely to continue to receive follow-up care.
- No existing program in Cincinnati currently meets the complex medical needs of foster children.
In Need of Care
When children are pulled emergently from unsafe situations and placed into foster care:
- They generally have few or no personal items
- About 80 percent have no medical information
- They have a bag of medicines or no medicines at all
When a record review is attempted:
- The primary care doctor is unknown
- We find multiple providers
- The children have different names
- Records are incomplete