Special Home-Services Providers Care for Children with HIV/AIDS
The Pennsylvania Division of Youth and Family Services offers a special home-services provider program in which "medically fragile babies" are cared for by foster parents, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. For five years, Mary Neiman, a retired nurse, has been caring for four children between the ages of three months and six years who have AIDS or who have been exposed to HIV. "There's a need for HIV homes, and I volunteered," she said, adding, "Nobody else takes HIV-positive kids. If we didn't take them, they'd sit in the system." Foster parents receive a monthly payment per child, and parents who serve as special home-services providers receive more funding plus respite and nursing care. Denise Smith, statewide foster care recruitment coordinator for the Division of Youth and Family Services, said, "There's a constant shortage of foster parents, but the need for providers like the Neimans is acute because the job takes so much. SHSP parents are exceptional people. It's a job that requires care 24 hours a day seven days a week." She added, "They get the kids no one else gives a chance to. And these kids get in SHSP homes and exceed everybody's expectations" (Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.