Foster Care Policy, Advocacy and Research
We're on a mission to promote the health and well-being of children and families involved in the child welfare system.
Children in foster care face persistent health care barriers and disparities that can create lifelong harm. The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence has served thousands of children in the Texas child welfare system. We believe that these barriers and disparities can be overcome by adopting systemic reforms. To accomplish our goals, we partner with organizations across North Texas to:
- Identify structural issues and deficiencies in the child welfare system
- Develop and propose solutions
- Advocate for ways to reform and improve the child welfare system
We believe that the right reforms, implemented in the right way, can significantly improve the lives of the state’s most vulnerable children and make Texas foster care a model for the nation.
Policy priorities related to children in the child welfare system
- Increase access to trauma-informed, high-quality medical and behavioral health services for children with experience in the child welfare system.
- Ensure services and supports provided to children with child welfare experience are trauma-informed.
- Increase support for kinship caregivers.
- Strengthen supports for youth aging out of care.
Policy briefs and white papers
- Empowering Kinship Caregivers in Texas
- Addressing the Health of Children in Foster Care
- Caring for Children with Intrauterine Drug Exposure
- Trauma Treatment for Children in the Child Welfare System
- Addressing the Health and Safety of Children in Foster Care
- Transitioning from Foster Care to Adulthood
This study describes the perspectives of caregivers of youth in foster care in Texas about the caregiver’s role in adolescent contraception decision-making for adolescents in their care, particularly for long-acting reversible contraception. The study also explores how providers and foster care agencies can better support pregnancy prevention for youth in care.
This study sought to provide prevalence data for mental health (MH) diagnoses and psychotropic medication prescriptions among individuals in foster care and to examine their relationships with physical health status, maltreatment type, placement type, and demographic variables.
This book chapter discusses the evolution of the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence; initiatives for quality improvement, research, and advocacy; and future goals for evaluation, education, policy, and collaboration to improve the lives of children in foster care.
Despite the high rate of trauma exposure among young people with child welfare involvement, various systematic and patient barriers exist that inhibit utilization of evidence-based trauma treatments. One strategy for alleviating barriers to such treatments is using telehealth. The current study sought to address this gap by examining outcomes for patients who received telehealth TF-CBT, along with factors that may have impacted successful completion, at an integrated primary care clinic exclusively serving young people in care.
Through qualitative feedback from professionals in health care, mental health and child welfare, this study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of children involved with the child welfare system.
This study aimed to describe the prevalence of medically diagnosed audiologic, developmental, ophthalmologic, and neurologic conditions in a foster care primary care clinic and to identify any associations among these diagnoses and patient characteristics, placement type, and maltreatment type.
This study compares longitudinal healthcare utilization patterns in children with and without a history of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). Specifically, the study examines the number of hospitalizations, outpatient and emergency department visits, average length of stay, and healthcare expenditures across patients with and without NOWS.
Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach that is designed to address the needs of individuals who have experienced trauma; however, TIC training is not consistently integrated into the curriculum of medical and allied health students. This article reports the results of an evaluation of a brief, online TIC training adapted for medical and allied health care students.
This study seeks to better understand (1) what pediatric subpopulations are receiving integrated care, (2) which models of PIC are being studied, (3) what PIC outcomes are being explored and what measures and strategies are being used to assess those outcomes, and (4) whether the various models are resulting in positive outcomes. These questions have significant policy and clinical implications, given current national- and state-level efforts aimed at promoting integrated health care.
This study explored the rates of prenatal drug exposure in infants and young children in foster care seen at primary care clinics in North Texas. It describes barriers to care for this vulnerable population and offers an innovative approach to meeting their unique needs.
This study addressed the lack of available data on routine laboratory screening in children in foster care to assess the rate at which a dedicated foster care clinic is completing recommended lab tests and to compare existing guidelines to current trends in this population.
This study sought to determine (1) the percentage of children in foster care with developmental problems seen at an integrated primary care clinic and (2) whether the presence of various risk factors was associated with increased odds of developmental problems in general and across developmental domains.
This study evaluates published studies about foster care to: (1) determine the types of data used; (2) describe the degree to which a sexual/reproductive health topic was addressed; and (3) describe the consent process.
This study is a retrospective matched cohort study that uses billing data extracted from between 2003 and 2016 from North Texas hospitals to compare longitudinal healthcare utilization patterns in children with and without a history of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).
Research has shown that infants who are substance-exposed display feeding challenges, and foster parents struggle to meet the infant’s needs. This study examined foster parent perceptions of competence in feeding substance-exposed infants before and following an educational training
This article describes a model of trauma-informed, primary care serving children involved with child welfare, including information about its development, structure and organization, and programs. It concludes with a discussion of lessons learned and remaining challenges.