Louisville’s Home of the Innocents is opening its primary care services to more foster children through a new collaboration with the state.
The Home of the Innocents already offers more than 80 services that help thousands of area children annually with a variety of needs, like autism, mental health, or residential treatment.
President Gordon Brown says the organization’s Open Arms Children’s Health center is now trying to serve 400 more Jefferson County kids this year.
The Home of the Innocents will collaborate with the Kentucky Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs, which will embed a social worker to assist the center’s pediatric care unit, Brown says.
About one-third of kids seeking pediatric care complain first of behavioral or mental health issues, “and when you’re talking about kids in foster care that percentage goes up probably close to 100 percent,” he says. “Pediatricians are not prepared to deal with that. They need a behavioral health specialist around them to help,” he says.
The center will act as a one-stop location for foster children who are directed to Home of the Innocents by the state, and who often need to jump from one service to another for care, he says.
There are between 700-800 foster children in Jefferson County on any given day and the Home of the Innocents would like to expand the collaboration to more children, he says. But that will depend on the program’s success.