The Health Care Program for Children in Foster Care (HCPCFC) is a public health nursing program located in county child welfare service agencies and probation departments to provide public health nurse (PHN) expertise in meeting the medical, dental, mental and developmental needs of children and youth in foster care. The local Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program is administratively responsible for the HCPCFC. This includes the management of the required interdepartmental Memorandum of Understanding with the local child welfare service agency, probation and health departments.
The goals and objectives of the HCPCFC are common to the health, welfare, and probation departments and are implemented through close collaboration and cooperation among this multi-disciplinary, interdepartmental team. The program has established a process through which PHNs consult and collaborate with the foster care team to promote access to comprehensive preventive health and specialty services.
Through the HCPCFC, public health nurses under the supervision of a supervising public health nurse (SPHN) provide the following services in consultation and collaboration with social workers and probation officers.
- medical and health care case planning;
- help foster caregivers to obtain timely comprehensive health assessments and dental examinations,
- expedite referrals for medical, dental, mental health and developmental services;
- coordinate health services for children in out-of-county and out-of-state placements;
- provide medical education through the interpretation of medical reports and training for foster team members on the special health care needs of children and youth in foster care; and they
- participate in the creation and updating of the Health and Education Passport for every child as required by law.
The CHDP program, under the direction of the Children's Medical Services Branch, works with community programs and agencies to identify the major obstacles children in foster care face in gaining access to coordinated, multidimensional services.
The State Budget Act of 1999 appropriated State General Funds to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) for the purpose increasing the use of PHNs in meeting the health care needs of children in foster care. The enabling legislation for the HCPCFC is Assembly Bill 1111. This legislation defined the components of the program and added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 16501.3 (a) through (e).