Children’s Medical Center has received an $18.9 million gift from the Rees-Jones Foundation to create Texas’ first center dedicated to the advancement of health for foster children, the hospital announced Monday.
The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Medical Center will focus on the healthcare, well-being, stability, and educational outcomes of children in foster care. The center will focus on three areas:
– a clinical care program comprised of three North Texas foster care health clinics;
– an academic program to conduct research and train future health professionals;
– a community development program to train and raise foster care practice standards
“For a century, Children’s has been at the forefront of serving children, not only as caregivers but also as advocates, and we have a long history of attending to the many issues of children in foster care,” said Children’s president and CEO Christopher Durovich. “In creating this comprehensive and multidisciplinary model, our goal is to address the complex needs of these children so they can reach their full potential in life.”
This gift is in addition to an earlier $1 million given by the Rees-Jones Foundation to support Children’s in identifying better ways to provide care for this vulnerable population.
“Our foundation is passionate about providing resources to those organizations who work tirelessly in helping to transform the lives of youth and families and we are proud to come alongside Children’s Medical Center to help children in foster care,” said Jan Rees-Jones. “Trevor and I hope the Center for Foster Care Excellence will provide the type of support that these children so desperately need and deserve.”
Major gaps exist in the coordination of medical services, mental health aid, and social services for children in foster care, said Dr. Anu Partap, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and director of the new foster care center. The gift will enable Children’s to work in collaboration with Texas Child Protective Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates, foster parents, courts, and health professionals to develop innovative and enhanced models of care, Partap said.
“Unfortunately, many healthcare systems lack the ability and funding to provide the comprehensive and continuous care necessary to treat the complex needs of children involved with the child welfare system,” Partap said. “The new center will have the depth and scale needed in clinical programs, medical education, research, health policy, and community development to serve thousands of families.”
The foundation—valued at more than $400 million in 2011, according to Guidestar—routinely donates to charities and non-profits dedicated to childhood development and mental health. In June, the foundation donated $20 million to the TCU Institute of Child Development. They also donated $25 million to Parkland Hospital, among many other donations.