Net Gain

When Positively Kids joined forces with Clark County to open an expanded children’s medical clinic on June 14 at Child Haven shelter, we got a little glimpse of a community working together to improve its safety net.

The clinic provides medical and dental care primarily for foster kids served by the county’s Family Services department. The expanded office space at Child Haven, on 701 N. Pecos Road near Bonanza, will allow for 70 kids a day to get care—up from about 10 kids per day before the expansion. After coming under fire for failing to cost-effectively manage the foster-care system last year, the county awarded the medical service contract to the nonprofit Positively Kids in October. And what’s cool about the partnership is how it also involves the public.

Every time you drop off used clothing at one of the 145 Positively Kids donation bins in parking lots around town, you’re contributing to health care, not wardrobe. Positively Kids sells those clothes for pennies on the pound to Savers, a for-profit retail store. Last year, the bins collected 4 million pounds of clothes, netting Positively Kids about $200,000, which they then applied to their mission: to help medically fragile children—including children in foster care at Child Haven.

Child Haven is a shelter for abused and neglected children, but the clinic is also open to the public through a separate entrance, which allows the sheltered kids to remain protected. The clinic works with Medicaid, private insurers and cash.

So when the new clinic—5,000 square feet that includes eight medical exam rooms and three dental exam rooms—welcomes 16,000 needy kids this year to a place that will provide unprecedented continuity of care for that population, you may have helped with more than your tax dollars. Isn’t that the way it should work?