Where We Started
The Foundation was formed in 1989 and incorporated in 1991 by business leaders, parents of special needs children, civic leaders and a physician who recognized the growing limitations of our health insurance and governmental programs for special durable medical products for children. These gaps represent crucial equipment and daily living supplies so many special needs children required to grow and thrive. The Fragile Kids Foundation (formerly the Foundation for Medically Fragile Children) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and was formed to assist those families in need of aid to care effectively for their fragile children.
The mission and goals of our Foundation have remained consistent for over 20 years of continuous operation. We provide rehabilitation equipment and quality of life enhancing products that are not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Georgia’s PeachCare system. These items include wheelchair lifts, wheelchair ramp construction, gait trainers, stabilizing chairs, bathing and toileting aids, pediatric strollers, specialized bicycles and much more.
In 2010 we assisted approximately 450 children with equipment grants and another 1,200 with referrals to sister agencies serving other healthcare gaps. We assist families through two key equipment programs: the HealthCare Grants Program and our Loaned Equipment Program. Additionally, we support our families who are experiencing the greatest financial and health crisis each year through Project Santa over the holidays. In 2010 the “Partners Program” launched,allowing Fragile Kids to extend aid to smaller rural organizations serving medically fragile children in group settings with medical equipment and assistive technology to be shared by special needs children.
Over the last twenty years, medical and technological advances have significantly increased the life expectancy of medically fragile children. The needs of the children once discharged from hospitals and medical programs have outpaced our community, insurance and governmental program’s ability to provide these costly yet crucial items for families in need. The result is an ever widening “gap” between what a medically fragile child needs to thrive and what they can obtain through insurance or by their own means.
Our experiences over these years of operation have illustrated that many of the families that turn to us for assistance are at the lowest income levels, crippling their ability to obtain lifts, specialized equipment or supplies on their own. Last year, 38% of the families we assisted had annual incomes of $15,000 or less and 38% had annual incomes between $15,000 and $30,000.
The economic and emotional burdens of caring for medically fragile children also contribute to a high incidence of divorce and abandonment. In 2007, 48% of our medically fragile children were cared for by their single parent or grandparents.
The term “medically fragile” applies to a wide range of diagnoses including Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, heart and respiratory disease, genetic disorders and traumatic injuries. We believe the total population of medically fragile children in Georgia numbers between ten to fifteen thousand children.