In 2007 there were more than 4,000 homeless people in Tarrant County and more than 1,000 of them were children. Those children were not able to visit a doctor regularly because of their unstable lives.
In an effort to make a difference, Cook Children’s teamed with local elected officials and homeless shelter staff in Fort Worth and Arlington to help these kids get medical care on a regular basis. In April 2008, Cook Children’s began sending sheltered homeless children to one of the Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics so they could get primary and preventive care. We also offered case management services to minimize the negative effect of being homeless.
The program includes transportation to a clinic in Fort Worth by a Cook Children’s van (donated by the Cook Children’s Woman’s Board), as well as case management services to help the families in get health care and other needed services. Children ranging in age from 4 days to 16 years of age have been served.
- More than 124 returned to Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics after leaving shelters, which is the primary goal of the initiative.
- Two case managers (an RN and a social worker) were hired to manage health care/social and emotional needs of children in the shelters.
- Primary care through Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics has been provided to 488 children through 1,084 patient encounters; including 362 well-child visits and 616 sick-child visits, plus combined visits.
- Additional health services – 173 for dental; 84 for vision; 42 for behavioral/mental health; and 139 for other services.
- Provided enrollment in Medicaid to 199 children.
- Successfully brought 104 children up to date on their immunizations; placed 129 children on “catch up” schedule for immunizations.
- RN case manager provided 3,506 health-related interventions.
- Social work case manager provided 1,250 case management interventions.
- Provided transportation for 2,583 children and their families to medical appointments.
- Taught preventive health education classes for 550 parents/shelter staff.
- Cook Children’s employees have conducted three drives to collect coats, bedding, school supplies, towels and washcloths for homeless families.
The success of this initiative is due to the collaboration of the entire team of Cook Children’s staff members from:
- Corporate and Community Affairs
- Case Management
- Cook Children’s Physician Network
- Transportation – Child Passenger Safety
- Community Health Outreach
- Patient Registration
- Child Life
- Trauma Services
- System Planning
- Specialty Services
- Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics
- Cook Children’s Medical Center
- Cook Children’s Health Foundation
- Cook Children’s Health Plan