Before Max* was removed from his parents at age 10, they provided him with almost no medical care and frequently locked him in his room for hours, without access to the bathroom or food and water. He urinated there and sometimes climbed out the window to ask neighbors for something to eat and drink. The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) placed Max with relatives, but after two years, when he was 12, they no longer wanted to care for him, complaining that his behavior was too difficult to manage. His parents' rights were terminated and he went to live in a foster home. It was at this point his case was referred to FFCR's Citizen Review Panel (CRP) Program.
After a detailed document review and inquiry during his CRP review hearing, volunteer panelists learned - among many issues discovered - that Max's teeth were so covered with tartar and plaque that he required the care of an oral surgeon. He also needed braces to alleviate severe tooth overcrowding that interfered with his ability to talk. Nearly 12 months after these issues had been identified, Max still had not seen the dental specialists or received the required care.
The case manager - Max's third in a year - explained to the panel that one barrier to treatment was Medicaid's refusal to cover the braces as they were not deemed medically necessary. The CRP ordered the case management agency to secure an appointment for the dental procedure and to identify resources to cover the cost of braces. FFCR also requested a hearing before the judge two weeks after the CRP's review to ensure the orders were followed. At the hearing, the agency reported that Max had been to the dentist, a payment option for braces had been identified and an orthodontic appointment was scheduled.
None of this would have been possible without the sense of urgency and commitment to quality care embraced by FFCR's team of staff and volunteers. By systematically identifying children's unmet needs, recommending solutions and promoting accountability, the CRP helped give Max a stronger foundation for his long-term well-being.
* Name and likeness have been changed to protect privacy.