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An open house on Wednesday, May 4, revealed the newest clinic at Children’s Medical Center Plano that will serve as a primary care practice just for children in the Texas foster-care system. The clinic will serve 250 children per month with a CPS liaison on site. It houses five exam rooms, therapy rooms, an observation room, hearing and vision screening room, child development room and an interactive sub-wait/consults room.
“We are the only place in North Texas that has an integrated approach for providing care for the children who are in foster care,” Michael Wiggins, Senior Vice President and Administrator of Children’s Medical Center Plano told Plano Profile. “What we’re able to do in this clinic is bring together professionals from a variety of medical disciplines so that children can receive care in a single location and really coordinate their care so that they have the best chance at achieving health. Many of these children have been in fragmented environments and to be able to provide them, in essence, a medical home where all their services come together for them—that’s what I’m most excited about.”
For many foster-care children, their medical history gets lost as they move through the system. This poses a challenge for administrators and clinicians. “Even before they come into the foster-care system, we don’t have any medical history that has followed them,” said Wiggins, “but now we have a location where we can coordinate all that so that the children get the various services they need, whether it’s for their physical health, mental health or their educational support.”
The clinic is not an emergency-only clinic. “Just like your kids and mine, who have a primary care physician that oversees all their care, we provide that here for these kids. All aspects of their care have a centralized point.”
Anu Partap, M.D., Director of the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to everyone at the open house. “Our team would tell you that every single day, our children and caregivers inspire us to be creative and critical about what our children in foster care need. For about 18 months, we poured that inspiration into building a model program and clinical home—what all our children in foster care deserve.”
The theme of the new center is “Seasons of Change,” which reflects the notions of hope, health and healing among trees on the walls and twinkling lights on the ceiling. “Over 100 people had a direct hand in planning and designing every detail, always keeping the experiences of child and family in mind, from the furniture colors and leaf-shaped ottomans to dimmers on every light switch and the careful selection of quiet toys and squishy floors,” said Partap. “We want families to experience a sense of peace from the moment they walk in.”
The value of the clinic goes beyond aesthetics. Partap told guests about how one child who recently visited the clinic spoke for the very first time. “It’s not that we’re denying a pretty clinic, but we built a home with a therapeutic model. Our community has given children in foster care a place that reminds them that our world offers hope, health and healing.”
About The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence
The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Medical Center is a partnership between Children’s Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Thanks to a generous grant from the Rees-Jones Foundation in 2014, the center transformed its 25-year foster care medical home program into a multifaceted program with clinical, academic and community development experts dedicated to improving the well-being and long-term outcomes of children and youth in Texas foster care. The Rees-Jones Center is home to the only integrated foster care clinical program in North Texas. This innovative health care model brings together child welfare, pediatric, early childhood and mental health professionals, as well as nurse coordination, to ensure every child receives rehabilitative and recovery-focused, community-based services that promote optimal health, mental health, educational attainment, permanency and long-term well-being.
Children’s Medical Center Plano is located at 7601 Preston Road, Plano, TX 76034. Visit childrens.com.