This article originally appeared in Star Chronicle, a newsletter
published for the Children's Medical Center.
Linda Sagor, MD, MPH, director of the Division of General Pediatrics, has
worked with Worcester's Department of Social Services (DSS) to develop a system
that is streamlining health care for foster children.
"Many families had a hard time getting health care for their foster children
in a timely manner, and some children did not receive necessary medications,
immunizations or follow-up care for chronic illnesses," Dr. Sagor says. "We
needed to develop a system that would make care consistent by providing a
central place for medical records to be stored, and offering medical evaluations
so children and families have everything they need to start out right."
From this need grew the FaCES (Foster Children Evaluation Services) Clinic, a
team of professionals who provide medical evaluations in a friendly setting. All
children, from birth to five-years-old who are placed in foster homes by the
Department of Children and Families, are eligible to be seen at this Children's
Medical Center clinic.
Each child has an initial health screening, which includes a review of
medications, allergies and chronic illnesses, as well as an evaluation for any
urgent medical issues. The child returns a few weeks later for a more thorough
examination. All children also have a developmental screening. Those under age
three are referred to the UMass Early Intervention and Family Support Program,
and those over three years of age are seen in the UMass Memorial Early
"All information, including previous medical information and immunization
records, is kept at the clinic, and a copy is sent to the child's primary care
physician, who will monitor the child's health while in foster care," Dr. Sagor
notes. "If a child is moved to another home, the clinic provides ongoing access
to the medical history and helps obtain the record of health care services."
Development of this clinic was supported by the Children's Leadership Council
of the United Way of Central Massachusetts and funded by FleetBoston Financial
Foundation, UnumProvident, Allmerica and Fallon Community Health Plan.