My son now is 4.5 years old. He came into care at 4.5 months and we adopted him on this 3rd birthday. As a parent, and I mean parent , I don't consider my son anything else but my son. When it comes to kids in foster care I have mixed emotions and continue to learn from my son. Recently, my son asked me if he going to move again, would I always be his mom and said he had nightmares he was moving. I was taken aback because he had been with us since 14 months and how could I child that young remember? Well, when it comes to trauma there is no age limit. When he made this statement it broke my heart because, first no child should have to ask this question. A part of me stands with services for the family to stay so no child feels the loss of family and has the feelings of belonging. Now to my personal experience, if my son had stayed with his birth mom/family how much more trauma would he had experienced? His birth family didn't do the services, rejected placement, didn't show up for court dates. We experienced during his TPR (termination of parental rights) family members that wanted him, then didn't want him, didn't want communication with us prior for any information on him. Rights were terminated voluntarily, so in my personal experience my heart breaks for what my son has to go through. We continue to learn, love and grow. He didn't have a happy beginning, but he will have a happy ending. I thank god I had a wonderful FRW (family resource worker) who thought we would be a good placement for an emergency that came up. My son was an emergency placement. His goal was reunification, which it should be. When you take in a foster child you are there for the child during the time that is needed.
My son has taught me patience, never give up and there is always another way. With the help of his therapists, Early Intervention and services that were found with his social worker, my son continues to flourish. I have seen him struggle with this PTSD, aggression, impulsivity, but he continue to grow and overcome. He has taught me what real love is and where real strength begins. He no longer exhibits extreme RAD (reactive attachment disorder) high and lows. I will continue to advocate for children in care. I have been foster, adoptive and kinship and have advocated for each. Its not about adoption, its about the child. I hope more children can stay with their family and receive services to keep the family unit whole, everyone wants to feel like they belong. But in the end, the child comes first. Although removing a child from home should be the last option, it has to be option for those children that need it. I can only pray that I find the right words to explain to my son regarding how his journey started and that my love for him strengthens him and his does for me , every day of my life.
Personally I have had wonderful experiences with the Ombudsmans office at DCF, however last year there was a HUGE turnover with early retirements and I don't believe the help has been up to par since Mr. Barboza left. However, here is the latest information, I will be working to get more information and finding out the best way for foster parents to be heard to help the children in their care. It's all about the kids. One thing I must reiterate, as a foster parent you must remember THAT BLOOD is stronger than BOND, reunification is the plan for ALL CHILDREN taken into care. Remember, to advocate for the child in your care if you have evidence that returning a child to the home and/or family will be a negative for the CHILD NOT YOU. We are here for the children, its not easy but it is very much needed. DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT everything, behaviors before and after visits, sleeping patterns, medical history. We don't know what these kids are hiding in their invisible suitcases, and most times neither does the social worker.
Department of Children and Families Hires First Medical DirectorDirector of Strategic Initiatives, Ombudsman also to join agency leadership(BOSTON) - The Department of Children and Families (DCF) today announced a major milestone in its mission to keep kids safe and implement system-wide reforms by hiring the department’s first full-time Medical Director, Dr. Linda Sagor, as well as an Ombudsman and Director of Strategic Planning.
Sagor, a professor of clinical pediatrics and founder and director of the Foster Children Evaluation Services Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, joins the department as the Baker-Polito Administration authorized a $35.5 million increase in DCF funding for Fiscal Year 2016 to protect children and support frontline social workers.
Sagor’s hire is the result of recommendations in the agency’s blueprint for change, the 2014 Child Welfare League of America report. The report called for a medical director to provide oversight and consultation to DCF’s nursing and social work staff on general and behavioral health issues as well as complex medical cases for children in custody and those receiving services at home.
“The addition of a full-time medical director and Dr. Sagor, in particular, is critical to DCF fulfilling its mission to protect the health and safety of kids under its care,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “Dr. Sagor is a nationally recognized expert on the medical needs of foster children and will provide the kind of high level of medical scrutiny needed on DCF’s most complex cases.”
“Few pediatricians have a better understanding of our foster children’s needs than Dr. Sagor,” said DCF Commissioner Linda Spears. “She will collaborate with physicians across the Commonwealth to ensure that medical decisions are being made in the child’s best interest. We are very fortunate to have someone of her caliber join the Department.”
Sagor, who has been a DCF consultant since 2012, will facilitate compliance with Department policy requiring every child have a medical screening within seven days of foster care placement and a comprehensive exam within 30 days. She is also charged with maintaining relationships with hospital-based pediatric child abuse specialists; developing and implementing a policy for monitoring psychotropic medications prescribed to foster children and completing the Department’s efforts to establish a panel of doctors to advise DCF on medically complex cases.
“I look forward to achieving our shared goal of developing a state-wide system to ensure that every child in DCF’s care receives comprehensive and compassionate health care,” Sagor said. “These are some of the most vulnerable children in our Commonwealth. Our responsibility is to provide them with excellent and coordinated medical, dental, and mental health services.”
Other key hires include:
Andrea Bartolo, DCF Director of Strategic Planning
Andrea will oversee the implementation of this unprecedented effort between DCF management and union leadership. She brings to the position three decades of experience as a social worker and an administrator, most recently with the Child Welfare League of America where she served as Director of Consultation, working with child welfare agencies nationwide on program and service reviews and training.
Bartolo’s initial work with the Department will involve the reforms around development of new intake and supervisor policies, examination of complex cases with multiple abuse reports, retention and recruitment of social workers, reestablishment of the Central Massachusetts Regional Office and reducing the backlog of foster home applicants.
Susan Cummings, DCF Ombudsman
Susan will manage the in-house team that responds to all public inquiries on agency policy, programs and services. As Ombudsman, Cummings will mediate and resolve issues brought to the agency’s attention by parties including legislators, foster parents, clients, relatives of clients, adoptive parents and child advocates and serves as an advisor to the Commissioner on policy and programmatic changes.
Cummings is a veteran of the Department, having served for several years as an ongoing social worker before moving into roles as an adolescent assessment worker and court liaison. Most recently, she was a clinical specialist with the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate.
Terry Alves-Hunter, Foster Parent Advocate
Not in my womb, always in my heart
Learning & Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) The Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital assesses students and children ages 2 to 22 who have developmental difficulties and consults with their parents, teachers and care providers.
Our clinical professionals have devoted their training, research and clinical practice to acquiring the specialized skills needed to assess children with learning disabilities, psychological and developmental disorders. Our team loves working with children and has a natural ability to put them at ease.
The Department of Psychiatry offers a depth and breadth of resources available at few other hospitals or psychiatric centers, meaning your child receives comprehensive, state-of-the-art care without leaving our campus. Services available at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children include:
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Our clinical assessments are designed to be a comfortable and often fascinating experience, and we find that many children enjoy the warm, one-on-one attention they receive. In addition, our professionals excel at discussing the benefits of assessments with even the most skeptical of adolescents. Our Staff
Our experienced professional staff includes Child psychologists, Licensed clinical psychologists, Neuropsychologists, Certified school psychologists, clinical psychology interns and postgraduate fellows.
Research is an ongoing companion to treatment in the LEAP program, with clinical test data collected daily. This data is used to help participants in LEAP, as well as in other programs and departments. Conditions We Evaluate
LEAP treats a variety of conditions and disorders. With the trained resources of Mass General Hospital's Dept. of Psychiatry, we are able to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions and disorders.
Contact Us LEAP (Learning and Emotional Assessment Program)
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Boston Medical Center
Dr. Augustyn is the Director of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and is a Professor at Boston University School of Medicine. She went to medical school at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, completed her pediatric residency at UCLA and her Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Fellowship at Boston University-Boston City Hospital. Her clinical work at BMC primarily involves the evaluation of children with various developmental delays including autism,speech and language delays, global developmental delay, learning disabilities, ADHD to mention a few.
Her research work has varied across her career and includes work on the effects of both in utero cocaine exposure and violence on early childhood and parenting and recently she has been a leader in developing the Center for Family Navigation at BU, a national leader in promoting and developing the use of navigators to support families of children with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Augustyn is co-editor of The Zuckerman Parker Handbook of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for Primary Care and the section co-editor for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for the online journal UpToDate. She currently sits on the sub board of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the American Board of Pediatrics and is on the Board of Directors of the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She is also on the American Academy of Pediatrics planning committee for Practical Pediatrics, their national CME Program.
Deborah Frank, MD
Dr. Frank is the Director of the Grow Clinic for Children and a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center (BMC). She is also a Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Frank attended Harvard Medical School and completed her residency at Children's Hospital Seattle. After her residency, she went on to complete a fellowship in Child Development at Children's Hospital Boston. Dr. Frank specializes in issues of growth and nutrition and the impact of hunger on child development.
Dr. Frank has written numerous scientific articles and papers. Her work has focused on breastfeeding promotion, women and children affected by substance use, nutrition among homeless pregnant women and children, Failure to Thrive, food insecurity, and the “heat or eat” phenomenon, the dilemma that many low-income families face in the winter when they have to make the critical choice between heating their homes and feeding their children. She is especially proud of successfully mentoring many pre-professional and professional colleagues.
Cited as a respected authority in her fields, Dr. Frank has frequently given testimony to state and federal legislative committees on the growing problem of hunger and associated hardships in the United States and its effects on our youngest children. She has recently been nominated by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to the newly established National Commission on Hunger. She is also an invited member of the Aspen’s Dialogue on Food Insecurity and Health Care Costs.
L. Kari Hironaka MD, MPH
Dr. Hironaka is a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. She completed her fellowship at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Hironaka specializes in health services research, health literacy and ADHD, as well as residency training.
John Maypole, MD
Dr. Maypole completed Pediatric Residency in 1999, and Pediatric Chief Residency in 2000 following his training at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Maypole has consistently included primary care, medical education, and in participating in and developing innovative clinical programs for complex children and their families. Dr. Maypole served as Associate Director of the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Education Project and performing Holistic Medicine consults and medical education at Children’s Hospital from 2003-2005. In 2005, Dr. Maypole became Director of the Department of Pediatrics at the South End Community Health Center while serving as an attending physician for the Comprehensive Care Program (CCP) in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. CCP is a multi-disciplinary team of providers who provide enhanced and coordinated primary care to the most medically complex patients and higher risk families in the Pediatric Department, including ex-premature infants, children with special health needs and neurodevelopmental disabilities. In February of 2013, Dr. Maypole came to Boston University/Boston Medical Center to work full time to develop approaches and programs to address this fast-growing segment of the pediatric population. In September of 2014, Dr. Maypole received an award from the Center for Medicare Medicaid Innovation, supporting a 3 year effort for the Massachusetts Alliance for Complex Care/4C program--a consultative, multidisciplinary care support model of care for PCPs and families of medically complex children, of which he is co-principal investigator. He is an associate professor of Pediatrics at BUSM. Dr. Maypole writes child health-related articles for a lay audience, for mainstream media and online publications.
Jenny Radesky, MD
Dr. Radesky is a board-eligible Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician and a board-certified general pediatrician who recently joined the faculty at Boston Medical Center after completing her fellowship training here. She attended Harvard Medical School and completed her pediatrics training at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Radesky is a clinician-investigator whose clinical interests include early childhood adversity, attachment relationships, and child self-regulation, as well as teaching trainees methods of observing parent-child interaction. Her research examines mobile/interactive media use by parents and young children and how this effects parent-child interaction and child social-emotional development. She is an active member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media.
Arathi Reddy, DO
Dr. Reddy is a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. She attended medical school at Western University of Allied Health Sciences in Pomona, CA and completed her residency at Morristown Memorial Hospital/ University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Morristown, NJ. She completed her fellowship at Einstein Montefiore and worked in NYC prior to joining the faculty in March 2011.
Jodi Santosuosso, NP, MSN
Jodi is a certified nurse practitioner in the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Division at Boston Medical Center. She attended University of Massachusetts College of Nursing and Health Sciences and completed her residency at University of Massachusetts, Boston. She joined the Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine faculty in April 2007. Jodi has had extensive training in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders.
Laura Sices, MD, MSDr. Sices is a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center (BMC). She attended medical school at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, completed her residency at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and completed her fellowship at University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Dr. Sices was on the faculty at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH before joining BMC in 2007. Dr. Sices’ clinical work focuses on assessment and management of children with a variety of different concerns, including developmental delays, speech and language delays and conditions, ADHD, learning disabilities and differences, and autism spectrum conditions. Her academic focus is on developmental screening and the early identification of developmental delays.
Naomi Steiner, MD
Dr. Steiner is the Director of Training at the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Steiner studies how computers train the brain, which is an area of great interest in overlapping fields of ADHD, psychology, neuroscience and education, and closely followed by many as a complimentary or alternative approach to the traditional psychopharmacological treatment of ADHD. She is specifically interested in implementing neurofeedback attention training in schools. She is also interested in teaching self-regulation skills and relaxation breathing in schools. Dr. Steiner is multicultural and multilingual. In 2030 more than 50% of children will be raised bilingual in the United States! Dr. Steiner has written a book on how to successfully raise children bilingual (7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child), and instructs medical professional, teachers and parents on how children learn two languages, and how English Language Learners can be successful at school.
Mary Ellen Stolecki, NP, MSN
Mary Ellen is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner in the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Division at Boston Medical Center and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.
She specializes in primary care of the Child with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) in the Comprehensive Care Program. She also practices in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Division providing specialty care for gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.
Her clinical interests are primary care for medically complex children (as well as GI issues) of CSHCN including: care of the premature infant, autism, cerebral palsy, seizures, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, Turner syndrome,achrondroplasia,and multiple congenital anomalies.
Jodi Wenger, MD
Jodi Wenger, MD is a graduate of Dartmouth Medical School who completed her pediatric residency at Boston Medical Center. She spent several years on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona before transitioning back to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. She served as a pediatric hospitalist, outpatient provider and educator at Dartmouth Medical School.
She has always had an interest in children with special health care needs. She worked in the Comprehensive Care Program at BMC as a resident and is thrilled to return. She was the general pediatrician at the multidisciplinary spina bifida clinic at Dartmouth Hitchcock and cared for children with neurologic challenges while on the Navajo Reservation.
Dr. Wenger has also had an interest in resident work hour reform and continues to support the software she and her husband created during her chief resident year. Amion, continues to allow one to make fair physician call schedules that can be easily accessed online.
Barry Zuckerman, MD
Dr. Zuckerman is Professor and Chair Emeritus of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center. He is a national and international leader in child health and development. His research focuses on the interplay among biological, social and psychological factors as they contribute to children's health and development. Dr. Zuckerman and colleagues have developed four programs that transformed health care to better meet the needs of low income and minority children. The success of these efforts is that they are now all national programs; Reach Out and Read, Medical-Legal Partnership, Health Leads and Healthy Steps. In addition to more than 250 scientific publications, he has edited nine books, including three editions of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics: Handbook for Primary Care. He has served on prestigious national committees; National Commission on Children, Carnegie Commission on Young Children, Bright Futures, and has received numerous national and international awards including the C. Anderson Aldrich for Child Development and the Joseph St Geme Award for Leadership from AAP, and the Policy and Advocacy award and Health Care Delivery Award from the APA. He has consulted in Turkey, Bangladesh, and Thailand regarding child development.
- See more at: http://www.bmc.org/pediatrics-developmentalbehavioral/team.htm#sthash.UrLgPWRv.dpuf
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