In addition to funding uncompensated care for the many children and their families at Cook Children's, Jewel Charity also assists in the funding of Signature Projects within the Medical Center. This year we are focusing on Cook Children's Center for Vulnerable Children and the Artists in Residence Programme (CARPE).
Center for Vulnerable Children
The purpose of the Center for Vulnerable Children at Cook Children’s Medical Center is to improve the access to health care for abused and at-risk children; especially those in foster care. Currently, the foster care system relies solely on a kinship caregiver or foster parent to seek proper medical care, and there is no integration between medical and governmental agencies to ensure that the medical and emotional needs of these vulnerable children are met.
Due to a lack of timely preventative care or maintenance care for those with chronic conditions, we see an increase in urgent care center (UCC) visits, emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admissions. Because of our success in caring for patients with highly acute medical needs resulting from abuse and our expertise in the realm of trauma-informed care, Cook Children’s has a new vision. With the advent of the Center for Vulnerable Children at Cook Children’s Medical Center, we seek to be a medical home for these vulnerable patients so they can receive timely, routine care and have continuity in their caregivers. On-going utilization of the emergency department as a medical home does not provide these patients with this relationship-based, trauma-informed care.
By nature of Child Protective Services’ (CPS) involvement and a child being removed from their home environment, it is evident that trauma has occurred. Expedient medical care is the key component in reducing subsequent trauma. Every time the child is relocated, another trauma or adverse childhood experience occurs. Hence it is imperative that we support kinship caregivers and foster parents by meeting the medical needs of the child. Without timely medical care and accurate treatment, we run the risk of foster families experiencing undesirable breakdowns, forcing the child to move to yet another foster placement. By providing parenting training at each well-child check-up and medical appointment, we are equipping kinship caregivers and foster parents with the knowledge and tools for handling the behavior and responses of this individual child. Unfortunately, due to adverse child experiences (ACEs), the brain chemistry of a child can be drastically altered, resulting in behaviors and social responses that can be detrimental to the foster family relationship. Providing this trauma-informed training to kinship caregivers, foster parents and biological parents will reduce that number of failed foster home placements and failed biological family reunifications. The ultimate goal of the Center for Vulnerable Children is to collaborate with CPS to be a medical home to all foster children in our region; providing specialized abuse care within the state mandated timeline. A dedicated social worker housed in the Center for Vulnerable Children will be a conduit for medical care coordination and family communication.
The vast amount of the targeted population would originate out of the approximate 1,500 patients that are annual CARE Team referrals (those in need of a sexual or physical abuse examination). With the majority of those entering the foster care system and needing a consistent medical home, the Center for Vulnerable Children would provide dedicated care coordination focused on follow up and connection to vital social and medical resources.
The Center for Vulnerable Children at Cook Children’s Medical Center seeks to expand on our existing, successful CARE Team model. We endeavor to provide accessibility to timely medical care for children in the foster care system. Our clinical experts have identified the need for a dedicated social worker to provide trauma-informed medical care coordination and case management to new foster care placements in order to increase the percentage of foster children receiving appropriate medical care within the mandated 30-day timeframe. Cook Children’s leadership is dedicated to providing the clinical space and additional resources necessary to serve this at-risk population. The goal of the Center for Vulnerable Children at Cook Children’s Medical Center is be a primary care/medical home to the foster care population. No other health care system has true integration for all aspects of care. Cook Children’s Health Care System is positioned to be a state and national leader with potential for replication in other pediatric health care systems.
Artists in Residence Programme (CARPE)
Focusing on our mission to bring therapeutic play and engaging creative experiences to patients and families, Cook Children’s has launched the Creative Artist in Residence Programme (CARPE) as part of our Child Life program. Expression through painting, music, writing, dance, theater and artistic exploration, patients connect the creative arts with the art of healing. This unique therapy helps children express their feelings while improving physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Our goal is to have artists work directly with patients and teach them how to paint, play music, write, sculpt, dance, act and discover their own unique creativity. The art becomes a means for patients and their families to better cope with the anxieties and fears of their illness and the hospital environment.
Art takes the mind anywhere it can imagine. It expresses what can’t be said, and says what can’t be expressed. Here at Cook Children’s, our patients—and families too—discover freedom and the joy that comes with it through our many art programs and therapies.
For questions about how you can help the precious patients at Cook Children’s,
Contact Kimberly.Raupe@CookChildrens.org or call (817) 732-9333, ext. 1