Foster Care Pediatrics

Information for Foster Parents

  • Our staff is dedicated to providing your foster child with quality health care and medical services.
  • We are a team. Your cooperation and input are very important to us. Together we can make the process as painless and pleasant as possible.
  • All appointments are scheduled in advance for a specific day and time. It is very important that you come on time.
  • In scheduling appointments, please be aware that we are able to schedule a maximum of TWO children per foster family per day. Please bring ONLY the children who are to be seen.
  • Admission evaluations and Well Child Care visits require at least one hour—please allow enough time.
  • Please call us as soon as possible if you cannot keep your appointment.
  • When you come for your foster child’s appointment please check in. Please give child’s name, date of birth, Medicaid number, caseworker, foster parent’s name, address, and phone number. (This is vital information that needs to be accurate.)
  • Please bring an appointment calendar and immunization record book with you for EACH visit.
  • Please let us know if your child is receiving services from a counselor, therapist, or specialist.
  • Please check out before leaving and return the encounter sheet to the clerk.
  • Please make future appointments BEFORE leaving.
  • Please bring enough changes of diapers for the visit, and dispose of them in the red bagged trash can.
  • Never threaten any child with a shot.
  • Please remember to keep your own record of visits for reimbursements.
  • If you have a child on medication you need to call ONE WEEK prior to running out. This is very important to allow for mailing. Some medications CANNOT be phoned in to a pharmacy.
  • Allow at least five business days for completion of ALL forms.

Available Services through Foster Care Pediatrics

All the services that are needed to insure that each child can grow and develop to his or her potential are provided through the Monroe County Foster Care Pediatric Clinic.

These include:

  • Well child physicals
  • Vision and hearing screening
  • Acute illness visits
  • Immunizations
  • WIC referrals
  • Management of chronic illness
  • Referrals to specialists when necessary
  • Management of learning, hyperactive, emotional and behavioral problems

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Overview of the Child in Foster Care

Children and adolescents in foster care have a higher prevalence of physical, developmental, dental and behavioral health problems than any other group of children, including other poor children.

Typically these health care problems are unidentified and under-treated at the time of admission to foster care. Many are chronic and may have a continuing impact on all aspects of life, affecting these children long after they have left the foster care system.

Children and adolescents in foster care:

  • Are all ages and ethnic groups.
  • Usually long to return to their families
  • Are the children of the emotionally and financially impoverished.
  • May have been homeless, exposed to domestic violence, and/or malnourished.
  • May have had prenatal drug and alcohol exposure and/or suffered from abuse and neglect prior to foster care.
  • May have a mentally ill parent and/or a parent who is an addict.
  • Live in the uncertain, unpredictable world of foster care, separated from their family of origin, but remain, however tenuously, connected to them.
  • Have caseworkers that struggle with trying to meet the conflicting mandates of the system regarding permanency planning while trying to ensure the child’s safety.
  • Live in a world of impermanence, fragmentation, and instability, while they are in desperate need of permanence, cohesion and stability.
  • Live in foster homes, group homes, residential treatment facilities, and sometimes even juvenile justice facilities. Their world is further complicated by changes in placement, unpredictable visitation and contact with birth parents and siblings, and their lack of control over their lives.

Current health care models have been shown to be inadequate to address the complex health care agenda presented by children and adolescents in foster care. (Fostering Health, Health Care for Children in Foster Care, Task Force on Health Care for Children in Foster Care, American Academy of Pediatrics, District II, New York State, 2001)

Each child in foster care requires a medical home. The health professionals who assume this responsibility must have experience and/or training in all aspects of the foster care system, understand the impact of foster care on children, adolescents, and their families, and be willing to work with child welfare agencies. (Fostering Health, Health Care for Children in Foster Care, Task Force on Health Care for Children in Foster Care, American Academy of Pediatrics, District II, New York State, 2001)

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Preparing for a Visit to the Clinic

Helpful things a parent can do for a child:

  • Try to let your child know what to expect. Children need to be told what to expect because they may not feel comfortable asking, or not even know how or what to ask. When children know ahead of time what is going to happen and not happen, they can prepare themselves for what is coming. They can think about it and get used to their feelings about it.
  • Let your child express feelings of sadness, fear or anger with words or tears. Show that you understand what your child is feeling. Example: “I can see you’re feeling scared.”
  • Reassure your child that it’s okay to feel scared or anxious. Remember there are no “should’s” to feelings. All feelings are okay. We teach children that feelings are mentionable and can be managed.
  • Help your child cope with his or her feelings. For example, tell your child you understand it is scary for him or her to go to the doctor and that you were scared when you were little too. But, reassure him or her that you will be there for him or her during the visit and afterwards.
  • Explain to the child the reason for going to the doctor. The purpose is not to hurt him or her, but to keep him well.
  • Read books with your child about going to the doctor. Books help a child identify with others going to the doctor and realize that they are not alone if they are feeling scared, and that they will survive this experience.

Play Is a Child’s Language

Effective tools include:

  • Dolls
  • Puppets
  • Drawings
  • Toy medical kits

By playing the situation out with children, it helps them to understand life’s events and stressful situations.

When you increase a child’s capacity to fantasize about impending medical care, you help to reduce the child’s anxiety on the day of the visit.

Don’ts

  • Never tell a child he or she is going somewhere else. Lying to him or her means to the child that lying is okay, which in turn leads to the child losing trust and faith in you.
  • If a child cries, never say, “Be a big girl or boy.” This adds guilt to his or her anxiety and can make the child suppress his feelings, which ends up in psychological damage as the child grows.
  • When a child misbehaves, never threaten that child by saying, “You’re going to get a shot, if you don’t behave. The doctor/nurse will get you if you don’t behave.”
  • Always be there for your children, reassure them that you will be with them, and help them cope with those scary feelings. Most of all, be loving and comforting to your child before, during and after the visit.

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Education and Training Provided by the Foster Care Program

The Foster Care Pediatrics Program shares the knowledge of its staff through the following:

  • Pediatric resident training
  • Pediatric Links with the Community Program
  • Nurse Practitioner training
  • Nurse training
  • Caseworker education
  • Eastman Dental Center resident education
  • Foster Parent Training

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Poem: Preparing a Child for a Clinic Visit

I like to be told
When you’re going away,
When you’re going to come back,
And how long you will stay,
How long you will stay,
I like to be told.

I like to be told
If it’s going to hurt,
If it’s going to be hard,
If it’s not going to hurt.
I like to be told
I like to be told.

It helps me get ready for all those things,
All those things that are new.
I trust you more and more each time,
That I’m finding those things to be true.

I like to be told
’Cause I’m trying to grow,
’Cause I’m trying to know.

I like to be told.

I like to be told.

—Mr. Fred Rogers

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