FaCES opened in 2003 to provide timely, high quality health care evaluations for children in foster care in the Worcester area. An audit done by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (now Department of Children and Families) in 1999 showed that many foster families were not able to access care for their children quickly – only 11% had received a medical exam within 1 month of entering foster care. Care for these children was known to be fragmented, discontinuous, and incomplete. Medical records – with their immunization history, medication and allergy documentation, and other relevant information – were often difficult to obtain.
In 2000 representatives from DSS, MassHealth, UMass Memorial Department of Pediatrics, UMass Medical School Center for Adoption and Foster Care, Juvenile Court Justices, and local and regional government met frequently to tackle this issue. These meetings led to a consensus that an evaluation clinic, based at UMass, would facilitate the quick access to medical care that these children required. Initial seed money was provided by the United Way of Central Massachusetts, Fallon Community Health Plan, and Allmerica (now Hanover Insurance Group).
In November 2003 FaCES opened its doors to all children in Worcester DCF from birth to 5 years old. Since that time, FaCES has expanded its service, and now serves children from birth to 18 years old. Visits to FaCES include an initial screening visit within seven days of placement and a comprehensive visit within 30 days, along with immunization updates, medication refills, laboratory evaluations as necessary, and subspecialty and mental health/developmental referrals.
At the conclusion of the FaCES evaluation period, a Medical Evaluation Summary, summarizing all important health information, is sent to the Medical Home where the child will be followed while in foster care.