California is a crucible of innovation and creativity, where new technologies are rapidly transforming health care. In particular, the explosion of digital health tools is spurring a cultural shift in the way that individuals manage their health and well-being, allowing for a more active role, such as the ability to track one’s own health status and use data to guide personal decisions. But how do we ensure that all Californians benefit from this progress?
Ventura County is tackling this problem with a forward-thinking approach to improving outcomes for a population that is often left behind by technology innovations—children and youth in foster care. Last week, the County launched Foster Health Link (FHL), an electronic record for foster parents that includes key health and education information about the kids in their care. Foster Health Link will improve continuity of care for foster youth and their caregivers by moving records from a disorganized and impermanent paper format to an automated, secure system that can be accessed, maintained, and shared electronically. The groundbreaking public-private project, which The Children’s Partnership has supported since its inception, was led by the Ventura County Human Services Agency and received a strong endorsement from the Board of Supervisors last week. The Board described FHL as a huge step forward for foster kids in Ventura County.Antony Brennan, a foster parent from Ventura, said FHL is a time-saver for caregivers who previously had to piece together information about the children in their care from stacks of paper records.
This ambitious project is a shining example of how government agencies can be innovators in the child welfare space and apply technology to find better solutions for the clients they serve. The launch of Foster Health Link is a clear sign of progress for children and youth in foster care in Ventura County, and indeed, a deserving cause for celebration.