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May 2002Vol. 3, No. 4Ideas On Improving Health Services for Young Children in Foster Care

A new publication focuses on the special problems related to the provision of health care to young children in foster care.

Improving the Odds for the Healthy Development of Young Children in Foster Care, a policy paper, was released in January 2002 by the National Center for Children In Poverty. The paper points out that young children under age 5 are the fastest growing population in foster care and that these children have special health care problems. Among these problems are higher than average incidences of prenatal exposure to maternal substance abuse, low birth-weight, and developmental delays.

The paper stresses the need for health, mental health, and developmental services appropriate to the needs of young children who live in foster care and the corresponding need for monitoring and tracking mechanisms to ensure that children receive these services. The publication identifies promising strategies and suggests action steps for communities.

The paper also recommends that all involved (courts, foster parents, child welfare workers) receive training and information to understand the health care needs of the children they serve.

To receive a copy of the NCCP report, contact Kate Szumanski at or download a copy at:

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Also see "Alabama Doctor Centralizes Medical Records for Children in Foster Care" in this issue of CBX.