Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

May 2013Vol. 14, No. 4Electronic Information Exchange for Foster Care

Children in foster care are more likely than their peers to have significant physical health, psychological, behavioral, or academic problems, but delivering medical, psychological, dental, and educational services to these children remains a challenge. In a new white paper, author Beth Morrow, Director of Health IT Initiatives at the Children's Partnership, explores the potential of electronic records for the exchange of vital information and coordination of care to improve outcomes.

Evidence shows that an electronic exchange of information can facilitate better coordination of care across systems, yielding more cost-effective medical care and reduced prescription errors. Currently, many localities capture health and education records for children in care in "health and education passports," but these records generally are kept only in paper form. In this format, it can be difficult to keep records up to date and available when a service provider needs access. The author provides examples from six States where the use of electronic records has reduced costs and improved outcomes.

Benchmarks for developing electronic records exchanges that will offer secure access to health, education, and dependency information for doctors, educators, caregivers, and other service providers are also provided. In addition, specific recommendations on the roles that governments and advocates can play in the development of these systems are discussed.

Electronic Information Exchange: Elements that Matter for Children in Foster Care was published by the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) and is available on the SPARC website: (519 KB)