Social capital – the benefit that arises from people working together toward a collective good with a sense of trust and shared values – appears to be declining in today’s society. One instance is seen in the system of care for children with special health care needs, where the most commonly cited characteristic is that the system is “fragmented” and “siloed.” Edward L. Schor, MD, senior vice president at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, reflects on how improving social capital in communities may lead to a better functioning care coordination system.
Much attention is appropriately focused on the transition of children with special needs to adult services, but another, much earlier transition also can create stress, confusion and difficulties for families. A California Children’s Services administrator and a parent whose daughter transitioned from Early Start services to a special education program suggest that our system of care be updated to enhance continuity of services from birth to age 5.
Janice Milligan once had to sell her car to pay for a wheelchair for her adopted daughter, who had spina bifida. She had just moved to California and didn’t know that she potentially could qualify for California Children’s Services (CCS) and aid from the state’s system of regional centers for people with disabilities. That was two decades ago. Today, Milligan is director of strategy and development at Health Net of California.
Her role as mom and caregiver for a child with special health care needs automatically qualified her as chauffeur, case manager, care coordinator and advocate. Learn more about one mother’s experience during National Family Caregivers Month.
As manager of Help Me Grow Orange County, Rebecca Hernandez has for years helped connect families to health professionals and support services when they have concerns about their children’s health and development.