While healthcare services are an essential requirement for all members of the population, the children placed in foster care need it especially badly because of the neglectful or abusive treatment that they used to receive from their previous caretakers.
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Particularly, it is essential to enhance the importance of the caretakers’ role in both the provision of the necessary healthcare assistance to their foster children after the people in question become legal guardians of the children and maintaining consistent observation of the latter’s health status in order to address the emergent issues in a timely fashion. Seeing that the goals above require addressing several domains, including the management issues, getting the priorities straight, and promoting awareness about the subject matter, it will be necessary to create a comprehensive program that will serve as the foundation for meeting the needs of children in the foster care environment.
Current Issues and Priorities Identification: The US Setting
A closer look at the recent trends in healthcare (particularly, the tendencies observed over the past 15 years, i.e., 2000–2015, need to be brought up) will disclose that there is a significant drop in the number of children requiring foster care). Therefore, the management strategy could be altered slightly so that the quality of the services provided to each child individually should increase.
Given the current trends in the foster care department, one might suggest applying the concept of an individual approach in lieu of the current general one. The given requirement can be justified by the fact that the background of the members of the foster care system has been turning increasingly diverse over the past few years, including the social status of the families, their ethnic and racial background, etc.
Another essential aspect of healthcare-related management concerns prioritizing the steps that need to be taken in order to manage the identified health issues. To be more accurate, the framework that will allow healthcare employees to get the priorities straight and manage the identified problems according to their urgency should be considered. In this respect, the tools currently used for the patient data management must be revised: “Communication is also impaired because of the lack of systems for information sharing and data management (Szilagyi, Rosen, Rubin, & Zlotnik, 2015, par. 70). One must bear in mind that the adoption of the proper communication tools is imperative for the improvement of the current healthcare services provision in the foster care setting.
As far as the ethical concerns go, the current US foster care setting presupposes addressing the problems such as the limitations in treatment provided for children, the treatment conflict, and possible surrogacy issues. The current guardians of foster children, therefore, are supposed to receive the information about the specific issues that children may have during the provision of the required healthcare services. For instance, the intolerance to certain medication, the previous health records, etc. need to be provided by legal guardians of the child and taken into account by the healthcare service members.
In case the children have a cultural background different to the one of their foster parents, the latter should be required to research the cultural specifics of the children in their care. The measure above is critical to the understanding of the health issues that the children have and, therefore, manage the emergent problems in a more efficient manner. According to a recent study, “The long standing problem of racial disproportionality and the growing diversity of children in foster care require that the child welfare system make concerted efforts to ensure that all children are treated fairly and receive culturally competent care” (Bass, Shields, & Berghman, 2014, par. 47). Therefore, it is essential that the corresponding cultural issues should be taken into account when managing certain healthcare problem.
The issue of human resources is also rather topical in the present-day foster care environment in the U.S. As recent reports say, the lack of knowledgeable and resourceful staff that will help address the needs of foster children is evident (). It is imperative, therefore, to facilitate the environment, in which the quality of services could be improved. Particularly, the HR department could design training courses that will allow the foster care members acquire the corresponding competencies within a relatively short amount of time. Particularly, the emphasis on the adoption of the emotional-intelligence-related skills must be placed (Pascual-Leone, Paivio, & Harrington, 2015).
Although the foster care department receives the necessary funds, the adoption of the strategy that will allow allocating the existing financial resources in a more efficient manner is required. Particularly, it is crucial that the approach of receiving funds from the corresponding sources should be simplified. In addition, the instances of financial fraud must be prevented in the designated environment, which a system of regular audits can facilitate (Lash, n. d.).
Culminating Knowledge: Synthesis and Summary
Foster care children represent a unique and very diverse group of patients for the U.S. healthcare system. As a result, the approach to be adopted to treat the target audience must be patient-based, with a detailed analysis of the cultural and social background of the children, their previous health record, the environment, in which they used to live, etc. However, at present, the provision of the services identified above is barely possible because of the lack of focus and the wrong order of priorities in the foster care management.
The current management of the foster care issues concerning the provision of healthcare services leaves much to be desired. Because of the lack of competent staff and numerous loopholes in the contemporary regulations, children suffer from inconsistent and inadequate healthcare services. Therefore, a mass campaign aimed at raising awareness together with training courses for the staff members must be designed. In addition, a redesign of the ethical foundation of the current foster care system must be conducted so that the members thereof should realize the gravity of their choices and the role that they play in children’s lives.
Conclusion: Further Improvements in the US Foster Care
The process of improving the current U.S. foster care setting and especially the healthcare services provided to the children living in foster care requires considering the problems faced from several viewpoints, including the managerial, the organizational, and the informational ones. In light of the fact that children living in foster care often come from abusive families and, therefore, must have developed severe physiological and/or mental issues, they need both immediate treatment and consistent observations in the future.
Hence, it is imperative that a program addressing the lack of awareness on the corresponding issues regarding the provision of healthcare services to foster care children should be created.
Bass, S., Shields, M. K., & Berghman, R. E. (2014). Children, families, and foster care: Analysis and recommendations. Children, Families, and Foster Care, 14(1), n. p. The Future of Children.
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Lash, D. (n. d.). Race and class in the US foster care system. Web.
Pascual-Leone, A., Paivio, S., & Harrington, S. (2015). Emotion in psychotherapy: An experiential-humanistic perspective. In D. Cain, S. Rubin, K. Keenan (Eds.) Humanistic psychotherapies: Handbook of research and practice (2nd edition) (pp 1-46). New York, NY: Routledge.
Szilagyi, M. A., Rosen, D. S., Rubin, D., & Zlotnik, S. (2015). Health care issues for children and adolescents in foster care and kinship care. Pediatrics, 136(4), n. p. AAP Gateway.