Foster children with special needs: The Children's Aid Society Experience

Angela Diaz, Sharon Edwards, Wendy P. Neal, Paula Elbert, Mandy Rappaport, Rudd Kierstead, Beverly Colon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Children in foster care have many health needs. This article presents the model of the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of New York City in addressing these needs. In addition to their regular foster care program, CAS developed the Medical Foster Care (MFC) in response to the growing number of boarder babies (children with medical conditions who are abandoned at hospitals), and the Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) for foster children with emotional and behavioral mental health problems. The MFC serves 145 children considered medically fragile, as evidenced by congenital diseases such as heart disease, renal agenesis, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders and mental retardation. The TFC serves 50 children with severe levels of emotional and behavioral symptomatology. As is indicated by the extensive services offered through CAS's regular foster care program, as well as MFC and TFC, these children require specialized treatment. In addition, systems of information maintenance and exchange surrounding the health care of foster children need to be improved. Often agencies are ill-equipped to do adequate background checks on these young people and as a result deliver them to foster care situations where their health needs are not revealed and therefore not addressed. Health care providers also need to stay informed on the overall subject of foster care, as their voices will probably be crucial in ensuring that the extensive needs of these children are adequately represented to government, medical and other service providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-169
Number of pages4
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Children's Aid Society
  • Foster care adolescent health
  • Foster care children


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