As the number of residents in Bell County have grown, so has the number of children in the foster care system.
This growth is the reason behind Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center’s new clinic for foster children.
The clinic will provide pediatric primary care for the children placed in child protective services custody, kinship care or foster care. It also will provide the required check-ups for foster children within 3 to 30 days of being placed with their foster parents.
Dr. Katie Carlin, who started the clinic, said the hospital saw the growing need based upon last year’s number of foster children.
“We saw that this was a huge need in the community based on 2020 numbers,” Carlin said. “A huge number in this population of kiddos have undergone lots of trauma, lots of transition and deserve that extra time, extra care and extra services. And we are hoping to provide that.”
Carlin said the hospital currently is seeing about 1,679 children in the foster system in Bell County alone, with that number expected to grow.
The clinic will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays at the children’s hospital, 1901 SW HK Dodgen Loop in Temple. Carlin said the clinic will include both her and two social workers to help handle the cases.
Hospital spokeswoman Tiya Searcy said the 3- to 30-day window poses a great challenge at times for adoptive parents and this new clinic will be a much needed resource to the community.
Carlin said she had moved into caring for foster children from normal pediatric medicine because of the advocacy and help they need.
“I have always had this love for kiddos in foster care,” Carlin said. “So I wanted to help those kiddos get the care that they so deserve and the advocacy that they so deserve. That is why we started this, in hopes that it will be a good thing in the community and help these kids along the way.”
People wanting to set up an appointment will first need to call 254-724-5437 and go to extension 235020.