Website offers help for foster families

Dec 07, 2015
Hector Gonzalez, Thousand Oaks Acorn

Foster parents in Ventura County now have an online resource to help them meet the needs of the children in their care. The Network of Care for Foster Care portal links users to a number of public and private services in the county through a browsable search engine.

The website lists programs and services for foster parents as well as for children aging out of the foster care system.

Among the information and referral sources available at ventura.networkofcare.org are those for children with learning disabilities, weight issues and diabetes.

The website’s library features articles on child care, behavioral health, parenting and school readiness and other topics said Bruce Bronzan of Trilogy Integrated Resources, a Northern Californiabased consulting firm that created the website under contract with the county.

Links to low-cost insurance programs for uninsured children are also included.

An online tool allows parents to track pending legislation that affects foster children. It also provides an easy way to email state and federal lawmakers, Bronzan said.

The website complements the Ventura County Foster Health Link, a program that debuted in June 2014, said Jennie Pittman, human services agency spokesperson.

Foster Health Link is a secure website that provides medical records of children and makes the information available to physicians, parents and foster care officials. Access to the site is controlled by the county.

Children in foster care typically have more complex healthcare needs than their non-foster peers; they often change homes and caregivers frequently, county health officials said.

Ventura County Foster Health Link makes it easier to share important information among caregivers, caseworkers and health providers within Ventura County, said Barry Zimmerman, director of Ventura County Human Services Agency.

There were about 940 foster children living in Ventura County as of Jan. 1 of this year, according to the most recent statistics from the county.