Legislation that would make critical reforms to the way healthcare services are managed for children and families in the foster care system cleared the North Carolina Senate by a bipartisan vote of 41-0.
Specifically, the bill authorizes the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to move forward with a single, statewide healthcare plan for families and children in the foster care system.
Why is this important?
Right now, children and families in foster care are subject to a regional system and don’t get the quality, well-coordinated care they need.
Children in the foster care region often move across regions, causing services and care to be disrupted, duplicated or both. Many rural regions also lack the care and support needed to serve families in foster care.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “[o]ne of the most significant challenges to service delivery for children, youth and families served by the child welfare system is disruption in provider relationships” due to the regional nature of the system.
Moving to a statewide plan will “enable children, youth and families to access a continuous, broad range of physical and behavioral health services regardless of their location in the state.”
It will also allow children and families to “maintain their provider and care manager relationships and their treatment plans when they experience a change in placement or care transition.”
A statewide plan with access to a broad network of experts and providers will mean better care for children and families, a more efficient use of tax dollars, and will erase the urban-rural divide that right now plagues the system.
And perhaps most important, it will help keep families together. “Family preservation,” it has been shown, requires access to care that promotes “positive outcomes and family well-being, including behavioral health services, SUD treatment, parent skill-building programs and connections to health-related resources such as food and housing.”
The current system is broken. And every day it goes unfixed is a day that children in North Carolina don’t get the healthcare they need.
You can make a difference. ACT NOW and tell your representative to VOTE YES on fixing foster care.