In the early 1950s, the five founding mothers of Valley Children’s Hospital set out to ensure that children of the Central Valley had access to expert pediatric care without having to travel the long distances to Los Angeles or San Francisco.

From those early years, families from Kern County have turned to Valley Children’s to care for their children. Since then, our commitment to serve Kern County families has grown, along with the Valley Children’s network that now serves 11 counties, 45,000 square miles and nearly 1.4 million children.

“We are grateful for the warm reception we have received from Kern County civic and business leaders and from our families,” says Valley Children’s Healthcare President and CEO Todd Suntrapak. “The mission of Valley Children’s is to continuously improve the health of children. Working alongside with you, we look forward to new opportunities to further advance the health of kids.”

Every year, nearly 9,900 children from Kern County are seen by Valley Children’s physicians and health care providers. When we asked how we could better support families and primary care physicians in the South Valley, the overwhelming response was to bring pediatric specialists to the community for care closer to home. In the spring of 2015, Valley Children’s Medical Group opened 34th Street Specialty Care Center. In 2016, our providers saw more than 3,200 patients at the outpatient center.

That number is expected to grow to more than 42,000 outpatient visits within the next decade. To meet that need, Valley Children’s is building a new outpatient specialty care center in southwest Bakersfield. You may have caught a glimpse of the construction as you travel down Stockdale Highway near Allen Road, taking notice of the unique building with George the Giraffe — Valley Children’s beloved mascot — etched into the front glass. Once completed, Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center will be a 52,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art specialty care center designed with children in mind, providing the best pediatric outpatient specialty care in the Valley.

Eagle Oaks Specialty Center will be home to experts in more than 15 pediatric specialties — a number that will grow over time — that will allow Kern County children to travel much shorter distances for their continuing specialty care. And, most importantly, Eagle Oaks will allow them to remain close to those physicians they have trusted from the beginning — their primary care physicians.

Valley Children’s values our partnership with South Valley pediatricians and family practice physicians, working together to provide the best care for their patients. In addition, our partnership with Dignity Health provides additional local support for our patients with Valley Children’s pediatric hospitalists and intensivists working inside the Lauren Small Children’s Center at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital.