Guilford County’s Health Department has a number of programs designed to support children and their families with healthy development. One of them is Care Management for At-Risk Children, also known as CMARC. That’s a recent name change – you may know them better as Care Coordination for Children (CC4C.)
“CMARC is a team of nurses and social workers who provide comprehensive care management for children from birth up until their 5th birthday,” said Deborah Goddard, CMARC’s supervisor. “A lot of the work we do is in direct correlation to the work Ready Ready does. We help prepare children for school readiness by helping parents identify and address any learning or developmental concerns they may have about their child. In addition to developmental concerns, the children in the CMARC program must have a chronic health condition or be impacted by Social Determinants of Health. Care Managers also help families that are being impacted by challenging levels of toxic stress and trauma.
One of the things that make our program unique is that we have always provided home visits for any CMARC family that desires a home visit. It’s so important to engage families in their own environments as it can often provide valuable insight about the child and family’s needs that might not otherwise be obtained. Goddard said that Guilford County families can participate in the CMARC program at no cost to the family as there are no income guidelines to be in the CMARC program. Children are referred by various sources such as pediatric offices, hospitals, the Department of Social Services (child protective services/ foster care), preschools/child care centers, and other community agencies.
CMARC care managers along with the parent work together to develop a care plan and goals that are tailored to meet the child and family’s needs. CMARC care managers also encourage parents to develop strong relationships with their child’s medical providers and work to link families to various community resources. “While it’s the child that is our primary focus, we try to help the whole family,” Goddard said. “If the parent needs housing or a job resource, or services for domestic violence, mental health, substance abuse, or transportation, we try to help the parent get linked to the organizations that can help them. As many studies have shown, the parent’s needs and behavior often have a direct influence on the child’s overall development and wellbeing.”
With 27 years of community services experience and visiting families in their homes, Goddard said she has an immense appreciation for the parenting journey and each family’s individual path. Goddard also stated she is extremely grateful to lead a team of skilled and professional care managers who are dedicated to serving approximately 650 CMARC families in our community each month.