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Foster care inherently involves confusion, being overwhelmed, and difficulties learning life skills if a youth transitions a lot during their time in care. I definitely am one of those youth. One life skill that I wish I was taught is keeping my medical records, insurance information safe and how to contact my insurance company. I transitioned over twenty times in care and lost most of my medical records. My foster parents didn’t have any information on my family’s health history either. When I was injured my foster parents would bring me to the doctor and handle every aspect of the visit involving my health insurance (all the way up until I was eighteen.) The questions that involved my parents and family I embarrassingly skipped over and always had to explain I was a foster youth and didn’t have that information when the doctor asked - if my current foster parent didn’t out me already.
 
I believe if my caseworker or foster parents worked with me and explained the importance of keeping my medical records I would have never lost them. I should have been given my insurance card and the information to contact my insurance company once I reached an appropriate age. For me, I was mature enough to handle the responsibility of my physical health by the age of fifteen. Either way education on the subject would have absolutely helped me maintain my health as I went through care and aged out.
 
Older foster youth who are transitioning from home to home need to be taught important, practical life skills. Typically, youth like this end up aging out of care and living independently as I did. I was highly unprepared to handle the upkeep of my health and to store the important family history that can help a doctor treat me. It is important for caseworkers and foster parents to look at the process for this and improve the way they are teaching life skills to foster youth.
Youth Perspective by Brian Morgantini
Brian spent 14-years in Pennsylvania's foster care system. Read more about Brian.
6 Comments
Apr 25, 2018 By shannonsymonds

Comments

Rebecca Balcomb's picture

Rebecca Balcomb said:

I wasn't given background health information on any of my foster children - past or present except one who was ADHD. My current child is 16 and has decided that she no longer wants to take the Depro shot her grandmother put her on. I wasn't aware that kids could make these decisions.

aaronette's picture

aaronette said:

CHILDREN COMING OUT OF FOSTERCRE WHO HAVE BEEN IN CARE FOR YEARS SHOULD KNOW AND BE MORE INVOLVED WITH THERE HEALTH HISTORY AND FINDING OUT THE HEALTH BACKGROUND OF THERE PARENTS.. THAT INFORMATION WILL HELP THEM THROUGH LIFE WITH DEALING WITH THERE MENTALM HEALTH STATUS AND HOW TO NAVAIGATE TO GET HEALTH INFORMATION.

Jeanne's picture

Jeanne said:

It is so c
Very important that the Foster Youth and Foster Parent have access to medical history in case of
Emergencies or a history of infectious desease that may present a risk to the new family or effect treatment of a sickness.

Twbishop's picture

Twbishop said:

This lesson doesn't correspond like the others

curtis2me's picture

curtis2me said:

Health education and life skills should have been a great deal, when he started to learn. Losing heath records shouldn't be that hard to track down. I know it's hard when you move to many place asked the person or foster parent about them. It seem he been through a lot.

shannonsymonds's picture

shannonsymonds replied:

Hi Curtis,
Tracking down records is often a problem for foster youth. I recently knew a youth who spent two years trying to get their records. They had to have bio parents approval, all identifying info had to be redacted. Getting records after youth leave care is an ongoing challenge for youth. Not all youth have an ongoing relationship with foster parents and believe it or not - foster parents may not have access to health records. They are likely a part of the case records.