May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.
This year, the theme for National Foster Care Month is “Empowering Caregivers, Strengthening Families” which emphasizes the importance of identifying, developing and supporting current foster parents and kinship givers.
More than 20,000 children in Ohio are in the foster care system each year, and more than 400,000 children each year are in foster care throughout the United States. These children were removed from their families due to abusive or neglectful situations.
At The Center for Family Safety and Healing (part of Nationwide Children’s Hospital) in Columbus, Ohio, the Fostering Connections Program (FCP) offers primary care services exclusively to children in and out of home care, who are in the custody of Franklin County Children Services. Services are provided in a specialty clinic by supportive care coordination experts.
The care coordination offered through FCP is designed to help foster families and kinship caregivers navigate the healthcare system for these various needs, while improving continuity of care among the other providers. The care coordinator provides support and advocacy for foster care families, children and youth transitioning from care. They assist with the collection of prior medical information, referrals and linkage to programs within the community.
FCP physicians provide initial and ongoing medical, developmental and behavioral evaluations for children (e.g. well-child checks, immunizations, etc.). Once a child is enrolled in the FCP program, a thorough examination is completed. The child will return for a one month follow-up exam, which consists of developmental and behavioral screenings, in addition to the physical exam. Once the first two visits are completed, the child will follow a visit schedule designed specifically for children in foster care.
Enrolled families may contact the FCP clinic nurse to discuss a child’s medical and/or behavioral health concerns. For concerns that arise outside of normal clinic hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.), families have access to an after-hours pediatric nurse line.
To better serve our families, the Fostering Connections Program is now available at three sites:
- The Fostering Connections Program at The Center for Family Safety and Healing, 655 E. Livingston Avenue, Columbus, OH 43205, open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- The Fostering Connections Clinic at Sharon Woods, 1777 E. Dublin-Granville Road, Columbus, OH 43229, open Tuesdays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- The Fostering Connections Clinic at Eastland, 4434 Crossroads Center, Columbus, OH 43232, open Fridays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
To schedule an appointment at any of the sites listed above, make a referral, or learn more about the Fostering Connections Program, contact the Fostering Connections Care Coordinator at (614) 722-6789, or view our downloadable brochure for families.
Get involved this month. Spread the word with social media, email messages, graphics and widgets – visit https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/spread/
For parents, youth, foster parents, tribes, communities and child welfare professionals:
Ohio Foster Care Adoption Agencies: