Center for the Vulnerable Child

Editors' Notes: 

5220 Claremont Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

The Center for the Vulnerable Child (CVC) provides a comprehensive range of services for the most vulnerable children in our community. Many problems can put a child at risk for needing this kind of help, including poverty, family disruption, homelessness, foster care placement, drug exposure, abuse, neglect, community violence and more. We offer children and families a combination of individual and family therapy, clinical and medical case management, developmental screening and parental education. Our highly individualized approach and our dedication to our patients reflects UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital's long-standing mission to promote resilience, well-being and good health for all children.

Parent Reviews

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For a pediatrician, I highly recommend connecting with the Center for Vulnerable Child. It is a clinic at Oakland Children's Hospital specifically for children currently and formerly in foster care. Our doctor is Diane Halberg and she is wonderful. We also get support from a social worker and psychiatry through the clinic.

Hello,  I am a foster parent and for medical care, you can take your children to the Primary Care Clinic (or Teen Clinic for older youths) at Children's Hospital.  If there are more complicated issues, you can also sign up through the Center for the Vulnerable Child at Children's.  These are all located near each other on Claremont/Telegraph. 

Primary Care Clinic:  (510) 428-3226

Teen Clinic: (510) 428-3387

Ctr for the Vulnerable Child:  (510) 428-3783

For dental, you can sign up through La Clinica Dental.  They have one near Children's Hosp at 4881 Telegraph, (510) 428-3316; and another near the Fruitvale BART station (510) 535-3302.  There are a couple more, depending where you live.

We see Dr. Halberg at The Center for Vulnerable Child (Family Outreach and Support Clinic). She and the social worker that works with her are amazing. I highly recommend.

Dr. Diane Halberg at Claremont Clinic, (Children's) She is the best! My kids who were foster/adopt, have been seeing her since infancy and are now mid-teens. She has loads of experience with foster, trauma, etc.

Hello,  I adopted my son through fost/adopt.  He joined our family at age 2 and the adoption was finalized at age 6.  Lots of luck, starting your journey!!

Here are some benefits:

Head Start & Early Head Start:  Free childcare for working parents for children in foster care (0 to 5 years old).  You may not get the location closest to your home, but you should be moved to the top of the priority list.  

ECE/CDC:  Free childcare through the school district for ages 3 -5 (must be toilet-trained) for working parents.  Do not be swayed by the income eligibility guidelines.  For this purpose, the child in foster care is considered to be a family of one, with no income.  

Free lunch/breakfast:  Children in foster care are eligible for free lunch & breakfast through the school district.  They are considered to be a family of one without income on the eligibility application.

Free diapers:  ages 3-4 and up.  Free diapers through Medi-Cal as long as normal developmental milestones are not being met and doctor is willing to ascertain that the issue is being followed medically.  

Regional Center:  If child has been documented to have been exposed to substances in utero, you can get enrolled in the Regional Center from 0 to 3 years of age.  This can provide many services currently and down the road.

Mental Health ACCESS:  there is an 800 number for every county.  You can call this number (probably when she is older) to request many types of mental health services through Medi-Cal.  Over the years, my child has received a neuropsych eval, a comprehensive psych eval, EMDR, therapy, in-home behavior services, and psychiatry services.

Foster Youth Advisory Committee:  For parents of school-age kids, through the school districts.  Especially right now, foster parents can ask for almost any service to help their child's learning, due to special Covid funding from the state:  technology, 1-on-1 tutor, enrollment in a reading center, in-person help with executive functioning.  Easier to request straight from the committee right now, rather than going through IEP process.  But either will work.

Childrens Hospital Center for the Vulnerable Child:  medical treatment and family support for children in foster care.

Foster Family Support:  Join Alameda County Foster Parent Association (or your own county's).  They provide clothing exchange, equipment, diapers, events, resources, training, and of course, support.

I highly recommend this clinic, which is a part of UCSF Children's Hospital Oakland. All of our foster children and our adoptive daughter have been patients in the clinic and we have relied on them understanding the particular psychological and medical issues that tend to come with foster children. We have been under the care of Dr. Diane Halberg. She has a social worker that follows her patients, Elizabeth Jensen, who is equally wonderful. Although you will probably have enough social workers in your life initially, if you are able to adopt, it is nice to have someone that knows the system to offer some continuity. They have a good sense of what resources are out there and what is covered by Medi-cal, they are also always willing to make appropriate referrals and advocate for my family.