Family Health

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Family Health

"Always working for a safer and healthier Skagit County"
Director: Jennifer Johnson

Foster Care Passport Program
margaret@co.skagit.wa.us
360-416-7468

What Is The Passport Program?
The Foster Care Passport Program is a statewide program in Washington. Skagit County Public Health is funded by the Children's Administration of the State of Washington to implement the Passport program in Skagit County in collaboration with Children's Administration caseworkers. The program compiles the health history of children in foster care into an abbreviated health record called a Passport. The Passport includes information about medical and dental exams, diagnoses, hospitalizations or surgeries, immunizations, allergies and medications- the information needed by caseworkers, foster parents, parents, and health care providers to manage the child's health care needs appropriately.

Why Is This Program Important?
Children in foster care have disproportionately high rates of physical, developmental, and mental health problems and may arrive at their foster homes with unmet medical and mental health needs (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] Policy Statement, Nov. 2000). Many foster children must move repeatedly to new foster homes. In addition, up to 35 percent of children reenter the foster care system after being returned to their family. Such moves usually mean that the child also changes health care providers. As a result, available health information for these children is often incomplete and spread across many different sites (AAP Policy Statement, Feb. 1994). The Foster Care Passport Program was created to help answer this problem by providing continuity of information to minimize gaps in knowledge.

Who Is Eligible?
Children are eligible for the Passport Program if they are:

  • in out-of-home care for at least 90 days
  • in the custody of the Children's Administration of the State of Washington

Unfortunately, current funding levels do not allow for every foster child that meets the minimum eligibility criteria to receive a passport. Children with identified health concerns are given priority.

How Is A Passport Made?
A public health nurse works to compile a child's records from numerous places, including health care providers, hospitals, clinics and dentists. These records are searched for any relevant health care history. This information is entered into the computer and a Passport is created. The nurse recommends preventive health care and follow-up care for identified health concerns. These recommendations accompany the Passport and a copy is sent to the foster parent and the social worker. The foster parent is encouraged to take the Passport to all the child's health care appointments.

How Is The Passport Program Different From CHET Program?
The two programs differ in staff, scope and goals The Passport Program's nurse and program assistant compile a complete history for a limited number of foster children. The CHET (Child Health and Education Tracking) program serves all children in foster care and does not compile a complete history. Instead, a social worker assesses five domains (developmental, educational, behavioral, social history and medical) to get children high quality care quickly. The goal of the CHET program is to make sure every foster child receives a well-child check-up within 30 days of entering foster care.

Who Do I Call For Information About Becoming A Foster Parent?
Call the Children's Administration at 1-(888) 794-1794 to find out more about becoming a foster parent.

Who Do I Call To Report Suspected Child Abuse Or Neglect?
Call (866) END-HARM or (866) 363-4276
If you would like further information or have questions, please contact your local Children's Administration office at (360) 416-7200.

Can I Help Even If I Can Not Be A Foster Parent?
The following are internet links that will provide you more information on how you can help a foster child through volunteering!

  • Heart Gallery - A DSHS sponsored site that gives information on how to become a mentor for foster children.
  • Washington State Court Appointed Special Advocate site - Information on how to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to represent the best interests of the child.

Internet Links For More Information

  • DSHS website - Washington States Department of Social and Health Services programs, with links to many valuable resources related to children welfare.
  • Foster Parents Association of Washington State - Providing support and advocate for foster and adoptive families in Washington State.