Fostering Hope of Tulsa is a medical clinic dedicated to serving northeastern Oklahoma children living in foster care. Physicians working with children in the Fostering Hope Clinic address the physical, psychosocial and developmental needs of infants and children in the child welfare system utilizing a broad, multidisciplinary approach.
Fostering Hope of Tulsa helps to ensure continuity in health assessments, diagnosis and treatment. Current services include physician-led placement screenings, health assessments, development screenings, coordination of care with other medical services, identification of mental health needs, and communication with case workers. Fostering Hope of Tulsa is part of the OU Physicians-Tulsa clinic located at Youth Services of Tulsa.
The Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 11,500 children were placed in out-of-home care at the end of 2014. Approximately 1,500 of these children were in Tulsa County. Children placed in the foster care system are at high-risk of inadequate and inconsistent medical care, increased medical complexity, developmental delays and behavioral health problems. Consistent medical care by the same provider through Fostering Hope of Tulsa is vital to comprehensive medical care for this vulnerable population.
Several integral components of Fostering Hope of Tulsa make it unique compared to other medical services provided for children in out-of-home-care. Those components include:
· the expertise of the physicians providing care
· duration and continuity of care
Once foster children become patients, they will remain in the clinic’s care for the duration of their time in state custody and/or when they are returned to their biological families, until they reach adulthood. This is not traditionally seen in health care services for these children.
· time allotted for patient visits
These children often have intricate medical conditions which require lengthier physician visits. During a “regular” office visit with a pediatrician, the appointment time averages 15 minutes; however, at Fostering Hope of Tulsa, the appointments typically last 75 minutes.