Special Medical Foster Care
Every child deserves a permanent, stable home and chance to reach his or her potential
Special Medical Foster Care
What is the Foster Care Program at NAC?
When a child cannot remain safely at home, NAC places children with specially trained foster parents and provides services tailored to meet the extraordinary needs of children with significant medical and mental health needs, assuring that they are safe in homes that are nurturing and loving. Foster Care is a temporary placement, and NAC works with parents, foster parents, the children, and the extended family to reunite the family as soon as possible. When reunification is not possible, children may be adopted by their foster parents or may leave foster care with a relative guardian.
NAC has two family foster care programs: Special Medical/Developmental Disabilities Foster Care program for children with significant medical and developmental conditions and Treatment Family Foster Care program for children with mental health conditions.
Special Medical/Developmental Disabilities Foster Care
NAC is one of five child welfare agencies in New York City that provides Special Medical/Developmental Disabilities Foster Care for children with significant medical and mental health needs and/or developmental disabilities, and the only agency to exclusively serve this population.
As a Special Medical/Developmental Disabilities Foster Care program, NAC finds and supports nurturing and committed foster and adoptive homes exclusively for children with severe disabilities and chronic illnesses. Foster care at NAC is meant to be a positive experience where children not only have homes to call their own, but the safety, comfort, and support they need while in care.
All children in foster care at NAC are assigned a Nurse in addition to a master’s level Social Worker. The Nurse and NAC medical team develop treatment plans and coordinate all healthcare services as well as provide ongoing pediatric services, assessment, and health education. In addition, all foster parents are specially trained to meet the medical and/or mental health needs of the children. As a result of this support, children at NAC spend less time in foster care and rarely age out of care. We believe that when foster care is done right the trajectory of a child’s life is changed forever for the better.
Treatment Family Foster Care
For children in foster care with multiple, complex medical and mental health needs, the chances of being institutionalized or aging-out of foster care are very high. NAC’s Treatment Family Foster Care (TFFC) program is designed to assure that children with behavioral challenges coupled with medical complexity are able to live in the community with a family. All children in NAC’s Treatment Family Foster Care program have chronic medical needs in combination with serious behavioral/mental health needs.
Children in this program are assigned a Behavior Specialist in addition to a Social Worker and Nurse. The Behavior Specialist works one-on-one with the child and family in the home to develop and implement a behavior management plan with the family that is age and diagnosis-specific. Therapeutic foster/adoptive parents also receive additional training and support to effectively meet the medical and mental health needs of NAC children and provide the best care possible for them. No other program in New York State has previously served these children through family-based care.
What services do the Foster Care programs offer?
We believe that the extraordinary parents who take on the challenge of fostering a child with special needs deserve the highest quality support and training. . When foster care is done right, children thrive. It starts with ensuring that the entire family – foster parents, children, backups – are supported every step of the way by NAC’s team of in-house professionals. Services are individualized to meet the unique needs of every child and foster family. NAC is one of the only foster care agencies to have an onsite medical and mental health clinic. Our comprehensive care and 360 degrees of support are what make fostering at NAC special.
NAC staff are on call 24 hours a day to support our foster families. Services include medical training, educational supports, therapeutic services, and case management services. Every family is assigned a Master’s level Social Worker, Nurse, and Behavior Specialist if needed. Foster care is a temporary situation, and NAC works with foster families and the child(ren)’s family to facilitate permanent placement.
On-site services available at NAC include:
- Case planning & Support
- Specialized Foster Parent Trainings
- Access to staff 24/7
- On-site medical and mental health clinics
- Preparing Youth for Adulthood Program
- Educational advocacy & Support
- Post-adoption services & supports
- Recreational outings
- Financial Support
- Medical Insurance for foster children
- Safe Haven Services to support LGTBQIA+ youth and their families
- Early Intervention Program
- Parent education & skills training
- Parent support groups
Foster Care Done Right
Our dedicated team of culturally competent masters level professionals work with families to achieve the best possible outcomes for children. Our direct-care Foster Care team consists of:
- 19 Master’s level Social Workers
- 6 Behavior Specialists/Case Associates
- 4 Homefinders
- Child Placement Specialist
- Foster Parent Recruiter
Despite the challenges presented by children with complex medical and behavioral needs, children at NAC do not languish in care, do not bounce from foster home to foster home, and do not age-out of foster care without a family of their own. Our dedicated team has found loving and permanent homes for children as old as eighteen, siblings groups as large as five, and children who are terminally ill or have other serious and chronic medical conditions.
Who is eligible to participate in Foster Care programs?
Children are referred to NAC from NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services.
If you think there’s a child in need of intervention, contact us or contact ACS at 311 in New York City, or directly contact the NYS Central Register (SCR) at 1 (800) 342-3720.
Providing ongoing, comprehensive support for the entire family remains a priority at NAC. Children and Families enrolled in our Foster Care programs are also eligible for the following programs:
- Adoption and Kinship Support Program
- Champions for Children’s Health – Children’s Healthcare Management Program
- Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS)
- Family Mental Health Clinic
- Building Blocks: Parent-Child Bonding Program
- Peter Haje Center for Autism
- P.E.E.R. (Positive Exposure, Exploration, & Recreation) Project
- College Bound Program
- Safe Haven LGBTQI+ Support