Knowing that cultural sensitivity could lighten the burden of Spanish-speaking families, a longtime Friends of Karen supporter provided a grant to fund a full-time bilingual social worker. 



Friends of Karen advocates on behalf of our families so they can navigate the complexities of healthcare providers and government agencies to secure all resources available to them. We provide the following services:

  • Guide families through the maze of health insurance and hospital billing. If treatment is denied by an insurance company, Friends of Karen assists with an appeal and intervenes when necessary.
  • Help parents apply for government aid programs for which a child may be eligible. We assist families to obtain support services, including Children’s Medicaid, Child Health Plus, Social Security, as well as other public assistance. At times, we accompany families to their appointments and support them in making their applications for benefits.
  • Act as a liaison between families and medical staff, as well as participate in medical team meetings. As knowledgeable outside observers, our social workers obtain clarification regarding treatment options/ medication/side effects and review them with parents. We help parents create lists of questions before meeting with their child’s physician. We have bilingual social workers for Spanish-speaking families.
  • Make referrals to other agencies for additional support.
  • Negotiate with collection agencies, landlords, and other vendors to relieve the stress and anxiety of mounting household and medical expenses.
  • Collaborate with hospice care to provide comprehensive case management for a family.  We help families who must address end of life issues for their child.


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