White Plains Office Serves Westchester County’s Children in Foster Care
Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Leonard Townes and Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) Commissioner Hugh Greechan gathered to celebrate the completion of a major renovation of the DSS Pediatric Medical Office. The facility, located at 112 East Post Road in White Plains, serves children in foster care from birth through age 21 with in-person medical services. The medical services provided include preventative health care, vision and hearing screening, illness evaluation, vaccines, blood draws and limited rapid testing. Medical staff also assist with completing forms (WIC, daycare, school and camp) and work collaboratively with DSS caseworkers and Family Court personnel throughout a child’s placement in foster care.
Latimer said: “I am incredibly proud of the County employees at DSS and DPW&T, who worked so hard on this renovation which ultimately helps us to better serve Westchester County’s foster families. The remodeled office, complete with bright paint, new flooring, children’s books and games, creates a welcoming environment for the children who receive medical care here. This is one more wonderful way that Westchester County’s Department of Social Services takes care of its children in foster care, making us a cut above the rest.”
Townes said: “The Westchester County Department of Social Services is paving the way for departments across the state, as one of only two counties that have a pediatric medical office available for children in foster care. The children who come here for pediatric care are the County’s children, they are our responsibility. Thanks to the efforts of our Public Works Department, the remodeling of this space shows that we are committed to ensuring kids are well cared for and supported.”
The improvements to the medical office included the re-configuration of space to add private meeting rooms for families and medical staff, separate offices for medical staff, a new nurses' station, and better storage for medical records. The work was completed by DPW&T staff who consulted with pediatric office staff on what they wanted.
Greechan said: “The Department of Public Works and Transportation worked to renovate the pediatric office quickly, and during off hours so medical services would not be interrupted. We understand how important this facility is to the families who need it, and we hope that this renovated office will feel like a safe and welcoming space for them to keep visiting.”
Westchester County is one of only two counties in New York State to provide comprehensive medical services dedicated to children in family foster care. The four nurses who staff the Unit are DSS employees. Two Board-certified pediatricians and office support staff are contracted through the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD).
The office serves about 400 children annually, with an average of 230 children on the roster at any one time. It is open by appointment Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and pediatricians are on call for emergencies evenings, weekends and holidays.
Medical Director of the Pediatric Unit Dr. Janet Stockheim said: “We are a full-service medical unit dedicated exclusively to supporting the children and families involved in the foster care system. We’re their medical home. In the world of Social Services, we’re a rare gem, and now we’re polished. We’re so grateful to our Westchester County leadership.”