The UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Missouri foster care and adoption team is dedicated to caring for the children and youth statewide. The individuals that comprise the team have a strong commitment to the members they serve because they were and are:
- Former foster and adoptive youth themselves
- Current and former foster and adoptive parents
- Highly trained pediatric medical and behavioral trauma-informed providers
- Former child welfare workers and supervisors, Division of Youth Services coordinators, and juvenile probation officers
- Most importantly adults who passionately care about kids leading healthy lives
The care delivered by the foster care and adoption team is based on the UnitedHealthcare clinical model and focuses on the five pillars of trauma-informed care that mirror the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division System:
The care model follows the Missouri model of trauma informed care and provides integrated physical, behavioral, and social care management. The foster care and adoption team is trained and experienced on how to best support youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, complex medical needs, complex behavioral health needs and youth in qualified residential facilities and psychiatric residential treatment facilities.
An employees' journey with foster care and adoption
Sherry Alt, a registered nurse and foster care/adopt care manager, joined the Missouri foster care and adoption team three years ago, but she has spent her whole career working in child welfare and with youth in foster care. Sherry’s personal foster care journey began in 1991, but at the time she didn’t have any intentions of adopting as a single parent. This quickly changed when Sherry decided to adopt the first child she ever fostered, over the years Sherry has fostered 20 children, and adopted four into her family.
In her role, Sherry works with the category four children. This group includes children that are in state custody, children that have been adopted, children in the juvenile justice system and even individuals that have aged out of the foster care system but have expressed that they would like ongoing support and wish to continue to leverage the services and resources that they receive through care management.
Shery is currently working with a male member that has aged out of foster care to help him navigate his employment journey. She and the member connect frequently to talk about the interview process, different applications he has submitted and work through barriers. When the time comes, Sherry plans to help the member connect with housing s resources to secure his own residence. Sherry and others in her role become a consistent and trusted presence for these individuals as they embark on new stages in their life.
Over the years, Sherry has been engaged in the lives of members that have aged out of foster care but wish to continue with care management as they navigate pregnancies and their motherhood journey. Through this kind of support, Sherry has been part of helping many children in Missouri live healthy lives, even beyond those that are in foster care or have been adopted.
When asked why she chose her career path Sherry explained, “I didn’t set out to work with children in foster care but it’s where my career began and I never changed direction – I realized quickly it’s a population that needs so much support and I feel like I’ve really been able to make a difference.”