Addressing the Health and Social Needs of Children and Families

May 17, 2023

Resource Connect at Children’s Hospital Colorado is one of the most robust programs of its kind in the country to address social determinants of health by connecting families in a clinical healthcare setting to the social services they need.

Medical care in a clinical setting accounts for only 20% of what influences kids’ overall health and health outcomes. The majority of children’s health is impacted by social determinants of health, which include things like:

  • Neighborhood and built environments, such as housing, transportation, playgrounds and air quality
  • Economic factors, such as employment, income and access to foods
  • Social and community context and culture, such as civic engagement, discrimination and racism
  • Education, such as level of schooling, literacy, language fluency and early childhood education
Child Health clinic patient with her mom

All patients and families seen at the Children’s Colorado Health Pavilion are eligible to receive Resource Connect services. Patients and families seen by medical providers, dentists and mental health therapists at the Health Pavilion can be either screened for eight resource needs or referred to Resource Connect by a social worker or a community health navigator. Within Resource Connect there’s a network of community health navigators and partners who are ready to provide wraparound care and support. This is all accomplished through robust partnerships between Children’s Hospital Colorado and community-based organizations. Patients and families can access Resource Connect the same day and in the same building after their clinic visit.

Resource Connect anchors Children’s Colorado’s strategy for population health: delivering healthcare that lasts beyond a clinic visit and enhances care for patients and families by creating a centralized place to access their most common social needs. Since opening in 2019, more than 4,500 families have been referred to Resource Connect, helping to realize Children’s Colorado’s vision and contribution to an ongoing, nationwide shift towards whole-child health.

Donors have helped make all of this possible. Resource Connect could not have been launched without significant investments from our supporters, since insurance does not cover any of the services the program provides. With help from our community, Children’s Colorado is demonstrating that this innovative model of whole-child care can create better outcomes for kids and families, ultimately at a lower long-term cost.