Medical Foster Care Program & History

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The Children's Aid Society has been serving medically fragile children in its Medical Foster Care Program since 1988. The program started as a response to New York City's "boarder baby" crisis. Hundreds of infants were living in hospitals, where they had been abandoned by crack-addicted mothers. Children’s Aid was one of the first to provide this specialized foster care program.

Over the years the Medical Foster Care Program has successfully served hundreds of children from all across the city. The program provides an alternative to institutional care, giving these children a chance to grow up as other children do in permanent and loving families.

Program Description

Today the Medical Foster Care program serves close to 160 children with severe and chronic medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, HIV/AIDS, congenital heart disease, cancer, hydrocephalus, seizure disorders, diabetes and Down's syndrome. These children are referred to Children’s Aid by the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) from hospitals and long-term care facilities. Allegations of abuse or neglect by their parents are what bring most of these children to foster care.

Specially recruited and medically trained foster parents are required to participate in ongoing training and support groups. Both a caseworker and a registered nurse are assigned to each child. Staff are available to assist foster parents 24 hours a day. The children are monitored by a pediatrician at our Lord Memorial Clinic and their assigned nurse accompanies them to all specialty medical appointments. Dental care, early intervention services, educational assessments and, when necessary, referrals for mental health services are all provided.

Both caseworkers and nurses visit the children in their foster homes on a monthly basis. Special medical equipment such as wheelchairs, special beds or cribs and stair lifts are required by many children and are provided by the program.

As in all of our foster care programs, caseworkers work with the children's families toward reunification whenever possible. When returning home is not an option, adoption becomes the goal. Most of our medically fragile children are adopted by their foster parents. If the foster parent is unable to adopt, staff work with adoption recruitment agencies to find a suitable family.

For more information

Please call (212) 949-4800.