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

sblancett's picture

sblancett said:

talk and make sure they are aware of everything including rights and insurance coverage before they exit
pennbrjo's picture

pennbrjo said:

Allow the person to take part in making appointments, shop, open a bank account and teach them about preventative care.
rhiannon's picture

rhiannon said:

I would help them by making them feel included and that they have a voice that is heard.
Glory141727's picture

Glory141727 said:

Teach youth how to refill there medications before it's runs out is important.
Packh34's picture

Packh34 said:

I like teaching my kiddos life skills and try to get them interested and involved in things that concern them. Their health care being one of them.
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.