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DALLAS (Dec. 2, 2013) –The Rees-Jones Foundation has pledged $18.9 million to Children’s Medical Center to establish the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Medical Center, the state’s first center dedicated to the advancement of health for children in the foster system. The mission of the Rees-Jones Center is to substantially improve the health care, well-being, stability and educational outcomes of children in foster care, who are among the most medically underserved, at-risk children in North Texas. This gift is in addition to an earlier $1 million given by the Rees-Jones Foundation to support Children’s in identifying better ways to provide care for this vulnerable population.
The center’s model will bring together foster care experts in pediatrics, research and child welfare to establish three new programs: a clinical care program comprised of three foster care health clinics to serve children throughout North Texas; an academic program to conduct research and train future health professionals in best practices; and a community development program to train and raise foster care practice standards with an emphasis on recovery care. The approach is a first in Texas and part of a new multidisciplinary movement to bring national standards to the recovery and wellness of children victimized by abuse and neglect.
Children’s Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher J. Durovich believes this generous gift will enable Children’s to use its depth of resources and expertise to serve children with distinct and broad needs, and to establish a foundation on which to build a healthy, productive life.
“For a century, Children’s has been at the forefront of serving children, not only as caregivers but also as advocates, and we have a long history of attending to the many issues of children in foster care. In creating this comprehensive and multidisciplinary model, our goal is to address the complex needs of these children so they can reach their full potential in life,” said Durovich.
According to Durovich, research shows children in foster care face significant health and social disparities, including three times the average rate of special care needs and mental health issues. For this reason, Children’s Medical Center founded its Foster Care Clinic — the only hospital-based foster care clinic in Texas – more than 20 years ago. The multidisciplinary model includes quality medical and behavioral health care, social support, community collaboration, and training programs for future pediatric healthcare professionals who will care for children in foster care.
“With the support of dedicated humanitarians like the Rees-Jones family, we can transform the breadth and quality of health care provided to children in foster care in North Texas. We thank The Rees-Jones Foundation for their leadership and for sharing our mission to make life better for children,” he added.
“Our Foundation is passionate about providing resources to those organizations who work tirelessly in helping to transform the lives of youth and families and we are proud to come alongside Children's Medical Center to help children in foster care,” said Jan Rees-Jones. “Trevor and I hope the Center for Foster Care Excellence will provide the type of support that these children so desperately need and deserve.”
According to Dr. Anu Partap, director of the new Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Medical Center, and assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, children in foster care face significant health and behavioral issues that impact them throughout life.
“Unfortunately, many health care systems lack the ability and funding to provide the comprehensive and continuous care necessary to treat the complex needs of children involved with the child welfare system. The Rees-Jones Foundation grant allows Children’s to create a model of care focused on a child’s recovery from abuse and neglect. The new center will have the depth and scale needed in clinical programs, medical education, research, health policy and community development to serve thousands of families,” said Partap.
Serious gaps exist in the coordination of medical, mental health and social services for children in foster care, Partap adds. The new center will address these gaps and provide a foundation for an optimal continuum of care. The Rees-Jones Foundation gift will enable Children’s, working in collaboration with Texas Child Protective Services (CPS), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), foster parents, courts and health professionals in Texas to develop innovative and enhanced models of care that will set new national standards of excellence.
Founded in 1913, the not-for-profit Children’s Medical Center is the fifth-largest pediatric health care provider in the country, receiving nearly 700,000 patient visits annually with 595 licensed beds at its two full-service campuses in Dallas and Plano, and multiple specialty clinics and 16 primary care MyChildren’s locations. Children’s was the state’s first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the primary pediatric facility affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center. This year, Children’s is celebrating 100 years of making life better for children. For more information, please visit www.childrens.com.