Chicago, IL: Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago announced today a joint effort to improve the health outcomes and the care experience for children, caregivers, and families involved with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Built around the patient-centered model, the pilot program will feature integrated primary care, behavioral health care, and care coordination services to remove barriers and improve access to care.
Aunt Martha’s has worked with DCFS youth for more than 45 years. According to Raul Garza, the agency’s President and CEO, the health care system is not currently designed to support the complex social, medical and behavioral health needs of DCFS youth and their families. With this initiative, Aunt Martha’s and Lurie Children’s are charting a new course.
“Delayed, incomplete, or inadequate access to services can have a harmful effect on a child’s ability to learn, develop, and succeed,” said Garza. “The model we’ve developed with the team at Lurie Children’s ensures priority access to integrated medical and behavioral health care within a system where all providers can ensure an optimal patient outcome.”
The DCFS contract with Lurie and Aunt Martha’s will take effect July 1. Aligned with DCFS’ priorities and the State’s health and human services transformation plan, Aunt Martha’s and Lurie Children’s will emphasize family unification, the delivery of and access to trauma-informed care, and the use of wrap-around services to provide holistic care to children and families. The pilot program will allow the organizations to establish clear workflows, program parameters, identify gaps, and begin to impact and measure outcomes.
“This pilot leverages Aunt Martha’s experience with foster care, and our shared combined experience providing medical care for children in foster care,” said Patrick Magoon, Lurie’s Children’s President and CEO. “With those strengths, built on the foundation of a comprehensive care coordination model, we believe we can impact the lives of children and families who deserve nothing less than exceptional care.”
“Treatment of both the physical and mental health needs of children is critical to their wellbeing and future happiness,” said DCFS Director B.J. Walker. “These two innovative organizations are setting a new standard for doing this work effectively.”
About Aunt Martha’s
Aunt Martha’s is a private, not-for-profit agency providing coordinated health care and social services for family members of all ages in underserved communities across Illinois. The agency serves more than 60,000 children and adults annually. It is state-licensed to provide child welfare, substance abuse treatment and childcare services, and has been continuously accredited by The Joint Commission since 1997.
About Lurie Children’s
Lurie Children’s is a not-for-profit freestanding children’s hospital that is ranked as one the nation’s best in the U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 208,000 children from 50 states and 58 countries.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services provides foster care for nearly 17,000 children and youth in Illinois and also works with troubled families to provide counseling and other support to help them keep their children safely in their own home.