We are a 60+ year-old organization that fundraises for pediatric programs in Bellevue Hospital Center. Bellevue is a New York City public hospital that serves patients regardless of their ability to pay for services. More than 100,000 children and families benefit from Children of Bellevue's programs each year.
The majority of Bellevue's pediatric patients and their families come from diverse multicultural backgrounds, many living in single parent households, with limited economic and social resources. Some are new immigrants with little or no support network in this country. Approximately 95% of these patients have annual household incomes of $25,000 or less. Bellevue's catchment area extends throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
Nearly half of our operating expenses goes toward our Child Life program, the second oldest in the country. Our Child Life Specialists are trained in the field of child development and use various techniques to help patients and their families adjust to their hospital experience. These professionals are available in all pediatric areas of the hospital -- emergency services, inpatient services, child and adolescent psychiatry units, as well as the specialty clinics for asthma, diabetes and infectious diseases.
In November of 2000, we opened the Frances L. Loeb Child Protection and Development Center named for one of our founding members. The Center evaluates more than 400 children for sexual and physical abuse each year. The Center is staffed by pediatricians, nurses, social workers, child development specialists, and psychologists. This interdisciplinary team and the comprehensive nature of the evaluations make the Center unique among hospital-based child abuse evaluation programs. Services also include advocacy and coordination with child protection and law enforcement agencies, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, expert testimony and referrals to community-based organizations.
Fifteen years ago, we began the Reach Out and Read early literacy program, which targets children between the ages of 6 months and five years. The program capitalizes upon waiting time in clinic areas. While a volunteer reads to children, staff members explain to parents the importance of reading to their children. Doctors give away new books to children who come for "well-child" visits and staff members help families sign-up for library cards. These are only a few of the programs that we support. We are committed to the care of these young patients and are working hard to support programs that are vulnerable to budgetary setbacks. The only thing more endless than the children's needs is our resolve to help them. -- Children of Bellevue, Inc.