The Aging Out Crisis
Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center is the largest, most proficient, non-profit health center in America for children with severe medical complexity. Our mission is to give these children the chance to learn, live, thrive and safely become adults. We do this by providing the entire range of what they need: state-of-the-art medical care, education, rehabilitation, social activities, deeply inclusive partnerships with their families and a true sense of dignity and love. There is no place in the United States with the size, success and approach like ours. We have proudly been recognized as a pioneer in helping these underserved children. Yet urgent needs remain.
The children we serve need help with the most basic daily functions. Their medical conditions are chronic, complicated and extremely limiting on their lives. Most of them are unable to walk and many depend on technology in order to be able to eat, breathe or communicate. Their conditions include genetic disorders, traumatic injuries and childhood diseases. They have extraordinary needs, but also tremendous determination, spirit and the will to experience the fullness of life.
Our children’s center serves 169 children from infancy to young adulthood. We are blessed to live in a time in which modern advances in medical care allow more of our kids to thrive past their childhood and teenage years than ever before. However, pediatric placement ends at age 21. For most, aging out means transferring to a geriatric nursing home that is unsuited to provide the medical and emotional care that our young adults need and deserve.
In New York State, there are an estimated 5,500 children with high-need medical complexity under the age of 21 enrolled in Medicaid. Our health care system has not caught up to meet the needs of this growing population. The Elizabeth Seton Young Adult Center aims to change that. Elizabeth Seton Children's Center will have 50 residents over the age of 20 when the facility opens in 2024.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses an additional threat to the children and young adults who reside at Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center. With complex health conditions and compromised respiratory systems (62 percent have tracheostomies and 46 percent require ventilator support), our residents are always the most vulnerable of society.
During this crisis, because of extensive planning, preparedness and safety protocols, as well as strong leadership and a culture committed to excellence, the children’s center has been remarkably successful at keeping its residents safe. In fact, all residents remained COVID-free for 300 consecutive days: the Elizabeth Seton Children’s miracle of 2020.
And now, the children’s center’s greatest defense against the virus is the COVID-19 vaccine. As of May 2021, 79 percent of eligible children and young adults ages 12 and older have been vaccinated with parent/guardian consent, along with approximately 68 percent of children’s center staff.
Elizabeth Seton Children’s is urgently raising money to build the first home of its kind for young adults with medical complexity. This will be a national model. It will give these young people the support they need to survive and thrive – a home with life-sustaining technology, specialty clinics, interactive living environments and spaces for music, art, family time and outdoor exploration.
You can review our Case for Support, called “Home to Stay,” by clicking here.
For those who want to have an impact on a child’s life and create a future filled with hope and possibilities, this is the place to give. To help us achieve a vision of building our Elizabeth Seton Young Adult Center, please consider making a donation here. If you are interested in naming opportunities, please write Brian Harrington, Senior Vice President of Advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any questions?
Please contact us at 1 (833) 63-SETON