In a shiny, state-of-the-art building in southwest Houston, the Harris Country Resources for Children and Families (HCR) Youth Services Center is serving the community in a major way. Inside, there’s an emergency shelter and the Integrated Health Services Clinic (IHSC). One of few in the state, the IHSC is a county-funded service center providing medical, dental, and therapeutic (psych evaluations, therapy, intervention, etc.) all under one roof.
The clinic provides the “3-Day” and/or “3-In-30″ medical services all children who come into care must have. They also do everything from sports physicals to blood testing and immunizations to vision screenings. The dentists can do everything but surgeries. And the psychiatric and therapy team performs evaluations, medication management, and lots of therapy.
The clinic is staffed partly through a contract with UT for their pediatrician, pediatric nurse practitioner, dentist, and psychiatrist. And when a child has a need beyond the clinic’s scope of service, staff can provide referrals to the UT Health system.
What’s special about IHSC is all the services are free! The services are available for any child in region 6A and 6B involved with the state child protective services system. This includes all levels of service from investigation through foster care.
The Clinic was the first program of Harris County Resources with medical services started in 1972. In 2013 the Hogg Foundation funded a group of providers across the state to pilot Integrated Health Care Initiatives. Harris County Resources received seed funding to plan for and implement an integrated health care model for children involved with CPS.
They later added behavioral health services and and a Kinship Navigation program with the funding.
For kinship caregivers, the Kinship Navigator program is especially useful. Three part-time staff who have already been through the kinship process can guide new parents using their lived experience. The Navigators connect caregivers to the community resources, education, and providers to help them thrive. Staff have seen Navigators bridge the gap between grandparents and youth as they acclimate.
TACFS Staff with HCR Executive Director Joel Levine, Deputy Executive Director Jeff Alexander, and Integrated Heath Services Director Dr. Lawrence Thompson, Jr.
The leadership team is currently finding ways to cast an even wider net. With so many direct services under one roof, they hope to continue to demonstrate the value of the free resources and to see the use of the facilities grow.