Currently, there are over 400,000 children and youth in our nation’s foster care system and every year, more than 23,000 individuals “age out” of the foster care system. In 2015, the number of children in Florida’s foster care system had reached 22,004 statewide, up from 17,591 in 2013. Statistics show approximately 7% of Florida’s foster youth will age out of foster care. Many youth enter with significant health issues resulting from poverty, actual abuse and neglect, the disruption caused by the removal from the home and placement into foster care, and other at-risk conditions such as parental substance abuse and mental illness. Studies such as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) show that, as the number of ACEs (e.g., abuse, neglect, parental substance abuse, witnessing domestic violence) increases, the risk increases for adulthood heart disease, suicide, HIV, and other conditions that can lead to early death. The risk factors associated with poor health in children in foster care can also contribute to poor long-term quality of life outcomes.
Wicked Problem Description:
Rates of trauma exposure are approximately 90 percent among children in foster care. Trauma-exposed children and youth are at higher risk for experiencing a host of difficulties across the life span. Often times the systems, clinicians, caregivers, and foster parents that are charged with caring for foster youth and families are inadequately prepared to provide the education and therapeutic expertise needed to treat and repair the impact of early trauma.
Research has shown that foster youth who leave care without being linked to adult guidance and mentorship have a higher likelihood than youth in the general population to experience homelessness, unemployment and incarceration as adults. Nationally, fewer than 58% of all foster teens who age out of the system have a high school degree compared to 87% of youth in the general population. Approximately 4 percent of youth who age out of foster care will earned a 4-year college degree by age 26, compared to 32 percent of youth in the general population.
First Step Care, LLC and Florida Psychological Associates, LLC are partnering to transform the way care coordination and behavioral health services are provided to Florida’s foster youth and families. FSC and FPA clinical scholar team consist of Dr. Annette Bell a board-certified family physician, Dr. Asha Davis a board certified child & adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Catherine Drew a clinical psychologist, Slyving Bourdeau a licensed clinical social worker, and Derrick Stephens also a licensed clinical social worker.
Working collaboratively FSC and FPA intend to empower Florida’s foster youth and families by consistently providing individualized evidence-based trauma informed care, enhanced care coordination, education, and increased access to care that capitalizes on technology such as mixed reality and telemedicine.
FSC and FPA are committed to improving long-term quality of life outcomes for Florida’s foster youth and families. To accomplish this goal emphasis has been placed on reducing the number of youth and families in need of behavioral health services, utilizing psychotropic medication only when clinically appropriate, employ innovative therapeutic interventions, care coordination, and education through technological advancements such as telemedicine and Microsoft HoloLens. As emerging thought leaders, FSC and FPA plan to pave the way for Child Welfare transformation as our society transitions into the Digital Age.
Q4 2016: FPA Launch North Florida Services
Q4 2016: EMR Integration Project
Q1 2017: FSC Launch Central Florida Services
Q1 2017: Microsoft HoloLens Project
Q1 2018: Launch Child Welfare Interactive Simulation Trainings
Q3 2018: Experiential Learning Trip
We welcome partnerships with organizations that share our vision to improve this nation’s Child Welfare system.
Electronic health record systems designed specifically for foster youth can be an empowerment tool within the context of a foster youth’s formal transition to self-sufficiency and adulthood. Working collaboratively with academic institutions, FSC and FPA will use data analytics to guide clinical best practices, develop educational materials, and report outcomes on foster youth and families served.