The Department of Health Services and the Department of Children and Families have partnered to implement Care4Kids, an innovative program designed to offer comprehensive and coordinated health services for children and youth in foster care. The program launched January 1, 2014, in the six Southeastern Wisconsin counties: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha.
The Care4Kids program creates a "medical home" team for children in foster care, assuring that children receive individualized treatment plans in order to address their specific health care needs, including trauma related care. As a result, children in community setting are expected to have improved physical and mental health, improved resiliency and shorter stays in out-of-home care. These positive outcomes will also result in long-term savings in publicly funded programs.
A "medical home" is a concept, not a place. The concept was originally developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Today, a "medical home" means that each child has a team that coordinates care to meet a child's needs. These needs can be medical in nature, but also include community-based supports and services. The "medical home" seeks to promote a partnership focused on meeting the child's needs. The partnership is between team members and the child, and child's family, to assure the best possible outcomes.
It is anticipated that the Care4Kids program will serve approximately 2,500 children, which is about half of the children in foster care in Wisconsin.