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

Monica Little's picture

Monica Little said:

I help my teenagers refill their own medication and talk to the nurses and drs during appointments.
Hannaht1's picture

Hannaht1 said:

I do not yet have teens aging out of the system. However, from all of the information and resources presented, I feel more equipped and better able to help them when the time comes. I will begin being proactive by allowing children to ask questions whenever I take them to see their physician for check ups.
joepitts69's picture

joepitts69 said:

From personal experience, I found it best to assist with major decision making about health, and also offer guidance about decisions. Getting them prepared to stay organized and not stressed about becoming an individual,
manningfamily.alexis's picture

manningfamily.alexis said:

I personaly would help with options, voice any conserns i may have and support them 100%
StephAnne's picture

StephAnne said:

It is important kids know how to advocate for their medical care and what questions to ask providers.
Charetta's picture

Charetta said:

Making sure that you are teaching them about healthcare. Making sure that the feel apart of the the solution.
Blow6011's picture

Blow6011 said:

great info
lanne's picture

lanne said:

Keeping the dialogue open. Asking lots and lots of questions, offering lots and lots of support. Making sure they attend their doctor's appointments. Most of all, show that you care, and will continue to care, so they know they still have a support system.
G.Brown's picture

G.Brown said:

By making sure they know their rights, making sure they are informed about what coverage they have and that they understand any medical conditions they may have
jonathan_harrell's picture

jonathan_harrell said:

Openness and dialogue are key. As soon as possible, address the topic and some of the major potential pitfalls. Roleplay interactions with making appointments, doctor's visits, and similar.