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

NiseyCain's picture

NiseyCain said:

curtis2me's picture

curtis2me said:

Reading all about helping foster children and Adulthood about insurance and life skill. I learned a lot. My wife handles those thing. Now I understand it better I'll help out and educate our adulthood more often.
mikegilmore_2000's picture

mikegilmore_2000 said:

Honestly, I could have benefited from this myself. My adopted and biological son will be educated on this for sure.
tdenapolis's picture

tdenapolis said:

It is the duty of any parent to help their child transition through different phases of development in life and the transition to adulthood is no exception. Doing everything for a child without explaining the processes or involving them in their own care isn't parenting. Parenting is teaching life skills, and managing healthcare is part of that. Just as you would teach a child how to do laundry or cook their own lunch, you need to teach them how to handle their healthcare. They should know how to fill a prescription, eat a balanced diet, what their prescriptions are for, how often to go to which doctor, and when to seek healthcare, how to shop healthcare plans (if not medicaid) and how to advocate for themselves should a claim be denied (because sometimes all it takes is a call to the ins. co.) These are all basic life skills that are part of being a capable adult and should be taught gradually before they are on their own.'s picture

Jenniferstone77... said:

Foster parents can help support youth transition by educating them. My adoptive daughter will have the information she needs such as her birth certificate, insurance information social security card. I will make sure to try to keep a back up because the youth are not normally as responsible as mature adults. You have to explain to them how important this information is and if put into the wrong hands, how it could negatively affect them.
gulletjt's picture

gulletjt said:

Make sure they understand what their health needs are, how to satisfy them, and what resources they have available to them.
epowell's picture

epowell said:

I believe that education goes a long way. So first I'll make sure they understand what options they have available to them. Before choosing I'll make sure their more than aware of what they have available to them and make sure they know how to go about make it possible.
Evelyn42's picture

Evelyn42 said:

Make sure you educate foster children on how to handle their medical needs.
Alfreda Atkins's picture

Alfreda Atkins said:

This was a very good Training
jbwatts1's picture

jbwatts1 said:

Make sure they are involved in the process of education so they can start to make informed decisions.