Credit hours:

Course Summary

Children and youth in foster care are at a higher risk for medical and mental health problems than those not in care. This is often 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. Foster parents can help with the difficult transition to adulthood by ensuring youth in your care are prepared to manage their health care prior to living independently.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Unique health needs of foster youth

  • How to empower foster youth in a health care setting

  • 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 health care experience as a foster youth 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 toEmpower Foster Youth as Patients at different ages or developmental levels by reviewing this FosterClub 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 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 health care 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 Health Care FFY, 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? 

Step 10

Finished the module? If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate! 

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Course Discussion's picture

mnelson72209@sb... said:

I can assist them in their transition.
Nplummer1's picture

Nplummer1 said:

Educate them on the importance of knowing their medical record and know how to access medical information. Also getting them involved as young as possible
Sunnysar's picture

Sunnysar said:

I want to be sure all of my children learn how to advocate for themselves, or ask a trusted adult to advocate on their behalf. I want all of my children to know how to ask questions, to find contact information for all of their service providers. I'd like to be sure they leave my home with all important paperwork in one, safe location that is easy to find- and to leave copies with us as a back up if they choose!
chris.simpson08's picture

chris.simpson08 said:

I would assist with educating them about the healthcare system and how it works and I would make sure that they are making the best decisions about their healthcare such as, choosing a doctor, paying insurance premiums, and show them how things go when they have appointments.
annalecomte's picture

annalecomte said:

As a foster parent and a medical social worker I am in a unique position since I have a little extra knowdlege of things like insurance, benefits, etc. I have been able to help our transitioned age youth foster daughter with navigating insurance and have helped to get her connected to various specialists. However, she is super on top of things and does a great job of managing her healthcare needs.
ktrickel's picture

ktrickel said:

You can help them advocate for themselves, make their own appointments, know what kinds of questions to ask, let them know their rights, and help them stay organized with all of their health information.
Joe Nichols's picture

Joe Nichols said:

LEt them make appointments, have access and organize all health care paperwork.
ssrieske's picture

ssrieske said:

I had no idea former foster youth could have insurance until 26!
swashington12's picture

swashington12 said:

very helpful in understanding the older foster children's needs it critical that those that older children prep them with medical records and all paper work and resources to follow up with for their own care.
schenck2605's picture

schenck2605 said:

This was very helpful,we do use some of these skills like having the youth do appointments and order meds .We do not allow youth to set up medication or keep with them unless it is a rescue med or diebetic medication.