National Foster Care Month shines spotlight on 400,000 youth who need assistance

May is National Foster Care Month, when we pay special attention to the more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care. There’s an overwhelming need for individuals, families, and communities to become involved as foster parents, respite providers, volunteers, or mentors of children who need an adult role model.

Passport works very closely with the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) to help increase the adoption or placement of children in DCBS custody. DCBS Commissioner Adria Johnson recently said that DCBS moved children 5,558 times last year.

The National Foster Care Month website is full of resources to help support children, youth, and their families, especially those involved in foster care. Some ways to help include the following:

  • Becoming a foster parent
  • Volunteering as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children
  • Being a mentor or “supportive adult” in a youth’s life
  • Joining or hosting a fundraising event
  • Donating services, goods, computers, etc. to older youth in foster care
  • Lending a hand to help current foster parents and caregivers with their day-to-day needs

Visit the section dedicated to communities and take the opportunity to learn more about how to become a foster parent or find other ways to contribute to the positive development of children and youth involved with foster care. You can also join Passport on the National Foster Care Month Campaign Facebook page, which is open to all individuals, organizations, groups, or agencies with an interest in foster care. The page is your place to share, learn, and promote events, resources, stories, and photos celebrating National Foster Care Month.

For more information, contact Child Welfare Information Gateway at NFCM@childwelfare.gov or call (800) 394-3366.

 

Passport Health Plan Supports Foster Care Children and Their Families

Passport logoIt’s well documented that children in foster care are high utilizers of a variety of health-related services, and that foster care alumni have poorer long-term outcomes compared to their peers. That’s one reason why Passport Health Plan launched a pilot program in March 2015 to turn around negative outcomes for this population.

As documented in an article on the national website of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Passport got things started by partnering with three state agencies – the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS), the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID). Together we created a pilot program that would use the wraparound process (an intensive, individualized care management process for youths with serious or complex needs in which various individuals from various areas come together to help care for the youths) to provide intensive home- and community-based interventions to foster care children and their families. Children admitted to the program are at risk of being moved from their foster home due to behavioral health needs.

Passport entered into agreements with two providers, ResCare and Seven Counties Services (now Centerstone of Kentucky), to act as Intensive Care Management Organizations (ICMOs). The ICMO assigns each family an Intensive Care Coordinator, who facilitates the Child and Family Team and assists the team in developing and carrying out a coordinated care plan specific to the needs of the child and family. Each family also gets assigned an Intensive Home-Based Therapist. Therapy can be discontinued at any point after the initial assessment period.

As of Nov. 10, 2016, 55 youth have participated in the program and there’s been statistically significant improvement in functioning during participation. Passport monitors for signs of stability post-discharge (such as reduced cost of behavioral health utilization, reduced number of foster home placements, etc.), and has already seen how the program has been quite successful for some families.

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