Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital will receive $4 million in funding from the State of California to support a program to provide integrated medical care and mental health services to children in the Inland Empire who have experienced trauma, such as abuse, neglect and mistreatment. .
The program, located at a Loma Linda clinic known as the Resiliency Institute for Childhood Adversity or RICA, is available to all children, but is particularly focused on children who have been placed in foster care. FADN providers are trained to understand and provide holistic, trauma-informed pediatric care.
Amy Young, MD, chief of the division of forensic pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, was one of the leaders in creating the program proposal, which was submitted to the state in 2019 but was delayed by the pandemic. From there, Assemblyman James Ramos and Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh were instrumental in lobbying for support for the program. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the funding into California’s fiscal year budget on June 30.
“This funding will make a meaningful difference in the lives and health of our region’s most vulnerable children,” said Trevor Wright, CEO of Loma Linda University Hospitals. “We will now be able to continue to provide mental and physical health care to young people who often fall through the cracks of the system. We deeply appreciate the efforts of James Ramos and Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh and their work to incorporate this funding into this year’s California budget.
Young said she was devastated when she heard the news. “I had really lost hope,” she said. “After all we had done to advocate for these children, I just couldn’t believe it. State funding is crucial for the program to meet the needs of children in our community in the face of the impacts of childhood adversity, including child abuse and neglect.”
Since the 1990s, Children’s Hospital had a team of providers overseeing cases for forensic investigation of suspected child abuse – one of the only teams of providers for all of San Bernardino County, parts of Mono and Inyo counties, and even receiving many severe cases from Riverside County. However, the team was only included in the investigation phase, Young said. Once their professional opinion is rendered and testified in court, they should move on to the next case and would not see the child again unless they are in the same investigative circumstances, such as a new injury and continued abuse .
San Bernardino County has the second-largest population of young adoptees in California, and until now there was no coordinated medical care system for the children – meaning that if they moved, their care medical would not move with them. It was the inspiration behind RICA, Young said.
“Their lives are constantly changing,” she said. “With this program, we hope to develop centers in areas where their care – mental and physical – will be established in the first days of their placement in foster care. Our program will continue to serve as a care home for vulnerable children, even if their foster care placements may change.”