The Health Care Program for Children in Foster Care (HCPCFC) is a public health program of the State of California/Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. The mission of the program is to meet the medical, dental, mental and developmental health needs of children and youth in court-ordered, out-of-home placement or foster care. Public Health Nurses (PHN) provide expertise to the Human Services Department/Family and Children’s Services Division and collaborate with social workers, probation officers and foster parents to ensure that health care resources are provided to children placed in foster homes and group homes.
Children in foster care are placed away from their nuclear families primarily due to neglect and abuse. Foster children tend to have more illness, more developmental delays, more mental health issues and dental caries. All children placed in foster care in California become eligible for Medi-Cal health insurance. Each time a child has a change in placement, s/he is eligible for a new well child exam. The State Medi-Cal insurance program provides comprehensive physical health, mental health and dental services. There are numerous medical and dental providers in Santa Cruz County that will accept foster children with Medi-Cal insurance as patients. All Santa Cruz Safety Net Clinics will accept foster children as patients.
The PHN is a consultant and liaison to social workers, foster parents and probation officers. S/he is responsible for assurance of foster children’s health by helping foster parents obtain timely comprehensive health assessments and dental examinations and immunizations, expediting referrals to specialty medical care (such as cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, etc), coordinating health services for foster children placed in and out of Santa Cruz County and out-of-state, providing medical documentation and proof to the court as needed, and providing medical education through the interpretation of medical reports and training for foster care team members . The PHN also participates in the creation and update of the Health and Education Passport, an electronic health record required by law for every foster child.
The HCPCFC PHN is co-located with social workers at the Human Services Department, Family and Children’s Services, although the PHN is an employee of the Health Services Agency’s Public Health Division - Children’s Health and Disability Prevention. The goal of the HCPCFC is to identify, respond to, improve and enhance foster children’s physical, mental, dental and developmental well being.
If you would like more information about the Santa Cruz HCPCFC, please call the Public Health Nurse at 831-763-8645.
You can also visit the State of California’s website: http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/hcpcfc/Pages/default.aspx