Duke Foster Care Clinic

Children in foster care may experience events that negatively affect their physical, mental, and psychosocial health. These experiences can also impact their wellness as adults. When a child enters foster care, our providers are available to identify and determine how to treat their immediate and long-term needs and those of their foster family and biological parents or caregivers.

We partner with Durham and Orange County Departments of Social Services to provide medical evaluations to children who enter foster care in those counties. This includes an appointment at Duke Medical Plaza North Duke Street when a child first enters care and a comprehensive evaluation at a later date. We provide medical evaluations by referral only.

Establishing Care for Foster Children

All Duke Foster Care Clinic team members have completed a fellowship in child abuse and neglect. Our goal is to make sure everyone involved in the foster care process feels supported so children can thrive. Children and their foster family do not have to be Duke Health patients to receive our services.

Using recommendations created by the American Association of Pediatrics, the Duke team:

  • Reviews a child's medical history.
  • Provides an initial medical evaluation with a Duke Health pediatrician trained in child abuse and neglect. Our doctors assess each child’s physical and mental health within one week of entering foster care.
  • Makes referrals for specialty care, including mental health care. We can also prescribe or refill medications for chronic illnesses or allergies.
  • Recommends community resources for behavioral or mental health needs, including grief counseling. We can also suggest parenting resources for the foster and biological families.
  • Actively communicates with caregivers and community agencies to help navigate health needs. We provide appointment information and updates on a child’s health over the phone or by secure email.

Follow-Up Care for Foster Children

Within a month of entering foster care, we’ll meet with a child again for a comprehensive evaluation. This second appointment is a chance to learn about the transition into foster care and includes a full physical exam, vision and hearing tests, and a mental health screening. It’s best if these tests take place in person, but some can be performed in a secure video visit.

Future Care 

If a child does not already have a primary care provider, they can become a Duke Health patient. Results from our evaluations will help our team create a care plan that can be shared with a child’s pediatrician. If help is needed after these appointments, we can schedule additional visits and refer you to other Duke Health providers or departments for more treatment.