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

tracey's picture

tracey said:

Teaching the children in my home how to care for themselves and take age-appropriate responsibility as well as showing them how to contact their insurance company are some of the ways to ensure a smooth transition.
tarablakewood's picture

tarablakewood said:

Involving her in the decision making regarding her mental health needs, birth control needs, and in the medical care of her one year old child who is also a foster child in our home.
gdmj0311's picture

gdmj0311 said:

start teaching the child about their medical options and how to access them, use them, and take care of themselves for optimal health. ask them to repeat it back so you can be sure they understand it or have them ask questions to get the correct answers before they move forward with any other options that may not benefit them.
rhiannon's picture

rhiannon said:

teach them to make healthy choices and the importance of health care and who to call or where to go in case of emergency.
NCramer's picture

NCramer said:

Teaching the children in my home how to care for themselves and take age-appropriate responsibility as well as showing them how to contact their insurance company are some of the ways to ensure a smooth transition.
EvanCramer's picture

EvanCramer said:

Teach my foster child how to cook and eat nutritious foods, help her to understand the importance of medical record keeping, and assist her in signing up for continued coverage once she turns 18.
duanewiebe's picture

duanewiebe said:

Healthcare is important for all children and ensuring foster children get the care they need is critical. Giving foster care kids the resources to handle their health is equally important.
hannah baggott's picture

hannah baggott said:

teach them the importance health and teach them their rights as a patient
LCarcuffe's picture

LCarcuffe said:

making sure they understand the importance of health
cierra18201's picture

cierra18201 said:

I learned a lot from this information and will make sure to properly teach the importance of their medical needs, rights, and records.