New Clinic at Blank Children's Provides Comprehensive Care to Foster Children

Providers at Blank Children's STAR Center

Opened in early 2017, the Foster Care Clinic at Blank Children’s Hospital is the only clinic of its kind in Iowa dedicated to providing medical and mental health services to foster children. 

The Foster Care Clinic offers care in one convenient location for children from birth to 18 years old who are placed outside of the home with relatives, foster families, or in a group setting. The clinic assists with many needs, including well child examinations and sick visits, comprehensive health and development assessments, mental health assessment and ongoing therapy, education and advocacy for children and caregivers, care coordination, and information gathering.

“We are excited to start this new chapter at our center, offering necessary and proven services for children and families in our community such as the Foster Care Clinic,” said Jennifer Boeding, manager of the STAR Center.  “Our children deserve healthy and happy childhoods, and we promise to do our part to help them have this.”

Because the Foster Care Clinic is such a unique service, it would not have been possible without the generous support of the community. Lead gifts from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation and other private donors allowed the clinic to begin seeing patients. Continued philanthropy will play a key role in its ongoing operations. 

“We recognize that the comprehensive care provided by the clinic is critical to meeting the unique needs of the children and families it serves,” said Kristi Knous, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. “This innovative approach to care will impact the lives of the children it serves today and for generations to come.” 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children and teens in foster care have a high prevalence of chronic medical, dental, mental health, developmental, and educational issues.  Up to 80% of kids entering foster care have at least one unmet medical need and/or mental health need that may potentially continue to go unaddressed once they enter foster care.

The Foster Care Clinic is part of the STAR Center at Blank Children’s Hospital.  After 15 years operating as the Regional Child Protection Center, it has changed names to the Blank Children’s STAR Center. The role of the STAR Center is staying the same. However, the new name better reflects all of the work being done as a community center designed to serve and support children to increase resiliency and improve their health and well-being.  To fulfill this mission, the STAR Center houses a Child Advocacy Center and three specialized clinics designed to meet the needs of children and their caregivers.

“Mid-Iowa Health Foundation was pleased to be an early investor in the STAR Center,” said Suzanne Mineck, president of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation. “We know that the vulnerable children and their families that will be served by the STAR Center need and deserve the safe, nurturing, evidence-based care specially tailored for their unique circumstances. This innovative model of child-centered, connected services and supports will help ensure these children have the opportunity for healthy physical, social and emotional development that we wish for all of our children, and will serve as a guiding resource for families and practitioners across our state.”

More information can be found at blankchildrens.org/STARCenter