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Foster Care Medical Program

Caring for our foster children during COVID-19 from MetroHealth on Vimeo.

Serving Cleveland's Most Vulnerable Children

The MetroHealth Foster Care Team works hard to improve the quality of life for every child who receives foster care. Our specialized team improves well-being and restores dignity through compassionate assessment, treatment and support for children in foster care. In partnership with Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), we provide a voice for children, youth and caregivers. And we provide foster children the pediatric care they need in an environment that's safe, comforting and friendly.

Quality Care for Foster Children

All children in Cuyahoga County are required to receive a medical exam before being placed into foster care or changing foster homes. Since 2013, MetroHealth has worked with the DCFS to provide timely, coordinated care for foster children—in one safe and caring location. Our coordinators make sure a foster child gets all of the care he or she needs. And our dedicated team provides the warmth and reassurance a foster child needs during the intake or transition process.

Dedicated Pediatricians and Experts Who Put Kids First

Our small, tight-knit team ensures that a child's primary care needs are consistently met—even when their home changes. And we work to give kids the feelings of comfort and continuity they need.

Kids who come to us for care will work with a devoted team:

  • Our medical director is a pediatrician with more than 30 years of experience, including experience caring for abused children
  • Our nurse practitioners (NPs) offer compassionate care for children
  • Our registered nurse care coordinators help patients and their foster families keep track of appointments and referrals
  • Our child psychologist and social worker consult with patients during exams and are available for follow-up appointments

Pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical Center

As the medical home base for Cuyahoga County's foster children, we are a primary care provider for both well care and childhood illness. That means we offer a number of different types of appointments kids might need as they move through the foster system.

Kids might meet us for the first time during triage exams for foster placement. These initial exams can address injuries or illness a child might have before that child is placed into a new foster care home. The exams also serve as an opportunity to create a plan of care. Here, the team can review a child's medical and social history, immunization schedule, current prescriptions and more.

Then, we follow the standards published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Welfare League of America concerning the care of children and teens in foster care. Kids are asked to see a primary care provider for:

  • Comprehensive assessment: Within 30 days of placement in a foster home
  • Follow-up care: 2 to 3 months later, or sooner based on age and need
  • Ongoing care: Monthly until age 6 months, quarterly between ages 6 to 24 months; twice monthly at ages 24 months to 21 years

During physical exams, children receive update immunizations, hearing and vision screenings, developmental behavioral screenings and lab work. Foster parents are also connected with a care coordinator who can assist in arranging care for the child.

We can also help with mental health care. If concerns are identified, our team can refer the child for additional evaluation and services, and we can work with a child's case worker too, so the child has access to resources in the community that might help. We also have a child psychologist available in the clinic and by appointment. Follow-up appointments are also available as needed.

We can help children who are aging out of the foster care system so they can transition to receiving adult medical care. Our Young Adult Clinic offers medical visits and social workers to help children coordinate primary care, dental care and mental health as well as services like financial counseling, education and housing.

In our program, children and their foster families also receive:

  • Medical care, including physicals and sick visits
  • Ongoing medication monitoring
  • Dietary evaluations as needed
  • Access and referrals to other pediatric specialists
  • An assigned care coordinator

Find Out More

Children in foster care are automatically enrolled in our program, so there is nothing you need to do to enroll a child. But if you have a child under your care who is not part of the foster program and you need pediatrics help, we encourage you to visit our Provider Directory to find a professional who can help.