Children that have experienced time in this nation's foster care system tend to experience more challenges related to health, health care access and quality of care during their time in the system. Much of these challenges have to do with the availability of infromation regarding prior medical history, timeliness of initial medical screening once in care, and continuity of health care providers while in care. It is imperative that caseworkers have the time and resources to monitor and track the health needs and monitor the health services provided to children in their care. Pediatricians, caseworkers, as well as foster and adoptive families must communicate clearly and effectively with one another to insure that these children receive high qulaity and consistent health services.
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MENTAL HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Children that are or have been in this nation's foster care and/or juvnile justice system have often been identified as being in need of specific mental health services. It is not uncommon that children are placed in foster care in order to receive appropriate mental health services that would be otherwise unavailable to children outside of this nation's foster care system. There have been many cases where parents have given legal custody of their children to the "state" in order to obtain mental health services for their children. Increasingly, there are many states and local jurisdictions that are even referring children to the juvenile justice system, that would otherwise come into the foster care system, in an effort to ensure that these children recieve adequate mental health services. It is imperative that these children have access to high quality and consistent mental health services. Moreover, it is imperative that children and families, in general, have access to mental health services before involvement in this nation's foster care and juvenile justice systems becomes a reality.
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SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION
Children in care often experience severe disruption in their schooling and educational experiences. Often as a result of this disruption, children in care tend not to receive the additional support services needed to ensure successful transitions and eduactional progress. Educators and school administrators need to be more familiar with the needs and circumstances of children that are or have been in this nation's foste care system. Moreover, these educational professionals must have access to the resources they need to provide the additional eduaction-related support for these children and their families.
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