Credit hours:

Course Summary

Youth in foster care are at a higher risk for medical and mental health problems, often as a direct result of their childhood trauma, making it extremely important that they receive high-quality, coordinated health care. In addition, health care is often court-ordered and may have been an unpleasant experience, where youth felt they had little control, creating unique challenges for them when transitioning out of care and beginning to manage their own health care. You as a foster parent can help with the difficult transition to adulthood by ensuring youth in your care are prepared to manage their health care prior to independence!

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Unique health needs of foster youth

  • How to empower foster youth as patients

  • Elements of Health Care Transition Planning

  • About health insurance for foster youth until 26

Step 1

Review “Health Care Issues for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care and Kinship Care” to gain insight into the unique challenges faced by youth who have experienced the child welfare system.

Step 2

Read about Brian’s experience as a foster youth with his health care through multiple transitions, a lack of information regarding his family of origin's medical history, and how his transition to adulthood was affected by not being taught valuable skills to manage his own health.

Step 3

Learn how to “Empower Foster Youth as Patients” at different ages or developmental levels by reviewing FosterClub’s resource developed for youth who have experienced or are currently experiencing foster care.

Step 4

Many foster youth are adverse to visiting a health care provider for a variety of reasons. You may be able to help a young person’s aversion to health care providers and facilities by discussing some basic rights they have as health care consumers. The following handout “Foster Youth Patient Bill of Rights” was developed by FosterClub to inform young people of some trauma-informed rights that may help them ease into getting the medical attention they need and deserve.

Step 5

Creating a transition timeline with youth in your care can be extremely beneficial to their long-term health outcomes. A young person aging out of foster care without proper health care coverage is at risk of suffering untreated health issues which could be detrimental to their independence and well-being. Review the following handout, "Foster Care Youth Transition Planning Timeline", created by FosterClub to guide foster youth and their supportive adults towards a transition plan that can help ensure a young person is prepared to successfully manage their health care needs prior to leaving foster care.

Step 6

Discover how aging out of foster care without healthcare affected Dashun's journey to independence through this heart-wrenching story about a serious medical condition that could have taken his life.

Step 7

Learn how foster youth qualify for health care until age 26 by reviewing the following handout, "Health Care Coverage for Former Foster Youth", developed by FosterClub.

Step 8

Visit, a collaborative project by FosterClub, First Focus, and the Juvenile Law Center for more information and to learn ways you and your youth can advocate for their rights.

Step 9

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How can you help support a smooth transition for young people in your home who are ready to begin taking over the management of their own health care? 

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Course Discussion

mtrickel's picture

mtrickel said:

You can make sure all their information is in one, organized location, and let them know what their rights are when it comes to their health. You can help support them asking questions, making their own appointments, transitioning to adult doctors, and calling in their own prescriptions.
jamesbing23's picture

jamesbing23 said:

by paying more attention and focusing on the childs needs I can better protect and help them grow.
Micaht333's picture

Micaht333 said:

I would definitely keep a binder of all of their information to include medical records, doctor's names/numbers, insurance cards, etc. I would teach them how to make appointments, fill prescriptions and research the best doctor's for them.
Jeanne's picture

Jeanne said:

I think it's important to see that they have access to their medical information and know how to use it and any insinuate.
Dittyz's picture

Dittyz said:

I can show support by listening to what the needs are. and then helping with whatever that child needs.
nightsend78's picture

nightsend78 said:

Start early and educate them on how health care works and why it’s important to have it. Give age appropriate scenarios to hep them better understand.
tenawest89's picture

tenawest89 said:

By allowing them to be apart of these types of experiences and by helping them to learn how healthcare works.'s picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

by preparing them early for when the time comes.
Laurama's picture

Laurama said:

It's so important to teach youths valuable life skills so they are able to take care of themselves no matter what.
Steve - Lori Boehler's picture

Steve - Lori Boehler said:

It is best if the foster child is knowledgeable about their health care options. Parents can make the transition easier by giving them access to all the information we have.