The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence will work to improve the health of and educational outcomes for children in foster care in North Texas. Among other things, the center's multidisciplinary model will bring together experts in pediatrics, research, and child welfare to establish three new programs: a clinical care program offered through three clinics; an academic program focused on foster care research and the training of future health professionals in best practices in the foster care field; and a community development program dedicated to raising foster care practice standards, with an emphasis on recovery care.
Research has shown that children in foster care develop special care needs and mental health issues at three times the national average and struggle with significant health and social disparities that affect them throughout their lives. While the Foster Care Clinic at Children's Medical Center has provided medical and behavioral health care, social support, community collaboration, and training for health professionals for more than twenty years, the new Rees-Jones Center will work to address gaps in the coordination of medical, mental health, and social services in support of an optimal and innovative continuum of care.
"Unfortunately, many healthcare systems lack the ability and funding to provide the comprehensive and continuous care necessary to treat the complex needs of children involved with the child welfare system," said Anu Partap, director of the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence and assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "The Rees-Jones Foundation grant allows Children's to create a model of care focused on a child's recovery from abuse and neglect. The new center will have the depth and scale needed in clinical programs, medical education, research, health policy, and community development to serve thousands of families."