There are now new options in North Texas to meet the complicated healthcare needs of children in foster care.
The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence celebrated its grand opening at Children’s Health in Dallas Monday to the delight of foster parents like Bernice Jackson.
“These children need this, they need it,” said Jackson.
Over the years, Jackson and her husband, Robert, have cared for more than 200 foster children: most of them with special needs.
“If you get a child at 3:00 o’clock in the morning, and you need to go to the doctor at 7:00 a.m. you need a place just like this,” said Bernice Jackson.
Now, the newly dedicated Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence will provide continuous, one location care for abused and neglected kids.
“We know that the statistics about this are sobering,” said Christopher Durovich, President & CEO of Children’s Health.
“Thirty-thousand children in the state of Texas are in the foster care system. National studies suggest that 8 of 10 of these children have some form of chronic medical condition,” said Durovich.
Often those chronic medical conditions can go untreated while children move through the revolving door of foster care.
Housed at Children’s Health campuses in Dallas and Plano, the center provides exam and therapy rooms, CPS, medical and behavioral health providers, all in one place.
“While foster care is life-saving, it is not by itself a treatment,” said Anu Partap, M.D.
“Removing a child from an abusive home is the same as having an adult heart attack victim leave home in an ambulance. Neither individual gets better just by going to a new location. Both individuals need uninterrupted, effective treatment in order to recover.”
Dr. Partap is the Director of the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Partap has been instrumental in the creation of the center and was today called a “game changer” in the effort to change the clinical model for caring for foster care children.
“This will make it so much better because they don’t have to go through a lot of red tape,” said Jackson. “Sometimes they send you to the wrong office or to the wrong doctor, or to the wrong therapist: …here, it’s dedicated just for foster children. It’s wonderful.”
The Rees-Jones Foundation donated $20 million to open the center’s doors.
“The trauma associated with these events, or conditions have scarred these children in indescribable ways,” said Trevor Rees-Jones. “This new center gives us hope for the healing of these children, and we take great comfort knowing they will be receiving the highest quality care available.”
Those on the front lines of the child abuse battle say they are thrilled with the ease of access the center will provide foster families because that’s where the brokenness can end.
“They can heal,” said Jackson. “They can heal.”