What to Expect (FAQ for Parents)

How do I sign up for services?

Most referrals come to us through the medical team identifying and advocating for families with highly complex care. Once the referral is reviewed, if our care team determines that this program could be a good fit for your family and we have an opening, our clinical supervisor will  reach out to the medical team. We will then introduce you to an interventionist (personal advocate) who is professionally trained to support you and who will serve as your main contact. At times, referrals come from the community or from the family directly. In that case, you will talk with our clinical supervisor to discuss your child’s condition and your family’s needs. She can help decide if your child would be a good fit with our program, and if so, help you fill out an application.

What does the program cost?

Once you are approved, there is no cost for our program. Insurance is not necessary. Expenses are covered by our hospital, grants, and generous community donations.

What are the program’s limits?

Our Stanford Medicine Children’s Health NICH program does not have strict requirements or demanding expectations. The main criteria are: (1) needing help to manage the care of a child with a chronic or complex condition, (2) receiving care at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, and (3) living in the greater Bay Area. Once your child is enrolled, we do not have availability limitations or require appointments. Your interventionist is just a phone call, text, email, or video chat away to provide you with intensive support, whether it’s during the day, in the middle of the night, or on the weekend. You don’t have to come to us—we come to you. Your interventionist meets you at the hospital, the clinic, school, your office, your home, or wherever you require support.

What is the purpose of the NICH program?

Our purpose is to improve your child’s health and help you navigate the health care system, understand your child’s disease, and manage day-to-day care, and to make sure there’s good communication between your child’s primary care doctor, specialty doctors, and caregivers so that your child can achieve optimal health. We also help connect families to mental health support - including counseling and resources for stress management, family relations, and social challenges – when those services are an identified need. To achieve regular, high-quality care for your child, we help remove barriers to housing, healthy food, reliable transportation, and language interpreters. Think of us as your go-to for any need you may have in caring for your child and your family, and the glue that connects you with support services for medical care, home, and school. By working with us, you’ll gain strength and confidence in your ability to manage your child’s care.

How long do families receive services?

We welcome you to take advantage of our services for up to a year, as needed. When we first start to work with families, we help them get their children’s chronic disease under control so that they can stand on solid ground and achieve balance. This often takes daily or weekly contact during the first few months. As time goes on and support systems are established, and as you learn how to manage all of the moving pieces of your child’s care, you will likely need us less and less. In the final months, families are empowered in their ability to manage their child’s complex care on their own.