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

DHedge's picture

DHedge said:

We have not had to face this as of yet
hanchettbj's picture

hanchettbj said:

Allow for youth to make decisions about their health care and assist with helping to obtain the insurance they are qualified for and have youth set their own appointments
Hanchettdan's picture

Hanchettdan said:

Allow for the youth to schedule their own appointments and to be accountable for those appointments, assist the youth with the necessary paperwork for insurance, assist the youth with knowing their family and own health condition.
paulabeyta's picture

paulabeyta said:

Inform them of their rights and the rights afforded to them through foster care and encourage them to know keep their medical records.
JoMorris's picture

JoMorris said:

Include them during appointments and let them speak and advocate for themselves so that they know how to do it as an adult.
cmorris50's picture

cmorris50 said:

Talk to them about their information and make sure that they have everything that they need.
anna9886's picture

anna9886 said:

I think talking your foster placement through forming a step by step plan and then guiding them through completing those steps, while allowing some autonomy, could be ideal preparation for taking over this responsibility.
BigDaddyDan's picture

BigDaddyDan said:

Have the teen participate in medical decisions and make sure that they have copies of their medical records.'s picture

williamcooney78... said:

I attend support group sessions to give me more insite on different changes.'s picture

williamcooney78... said:

i seek support from DHS on insurance and other helps for the child