Oakland Clinic Provides Care to Homeless Children
Children's Hospital Oakland opened a clinic last month to provide preventive care and other services to children who are homeless, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The clinic, funded with a three-year, $1.5 million federal grant, treats children who are living on the streets, in emergency shelters and in transitional housing. The program hopes to serve 500 children this year.
The goal of the clinic is for each patient to obtain care at least three times. Children who want to continue to receive care through the hospital can be assigned a primary care provider and have access to the hospital's other medical services and programs.
The clinic employs two case managers to help parents obtain resources, such as finding a preschool or making a dental appointment. The case managers also visit shelters, food banks and other locations to bring children to the clinic.
Cheryl Zlotnick, who oversees the clinic, said, "What's different about this program is that we go out to find families, rather than wait for them to come to us."
The clinic also seeks to improve homeless children's eating habits.
"Children don't necessarily get wonderful, five-food-group meals with good protein and fresh fruits and vegetables," Zlotnick said, adding, "We see a lot of oral health issues as a result. For older children, obesity is an issue" (Kleffman, Oakland Tribune, 10/1).