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

jpglane's picture

jpglane said:

I would work to help them have the information and the knowledge needed to successfully navigate the complex and challenging foster health care landscape.'s picture

s.johnson.77@ho... said:

Make sure they're involve. Educate on their rights and responsibilities.
GooberDad's picture

GooberDad said:

Making sure they have Everything fillied out and have found providers they like.
jesikad01's picture

jesikad01 said:

I would be sure to give them lots of information on what to expect, questions, to ask, etc and help them find healthcare providers that they feel comfortable with.
jkatkinson's picture

jkatkinson said:

When the children know their rights & options, they are more prepared. We help & guide them in this process.
jkatkinson's picture

jkatkinson said:

When the children know their rights & options, they are more prepared. We help & guide them in this process.
rlatkinson's picture

rlatkinson said:

We help our children by explaining options, meanings, & helping select right types of insurance & drs.
cameronbuscher's picture

cameronbuscher said:

The most ideal way for a foster child to transition is to be full of knowledge about their health care options. If we as parents can make the transition easier by giving them access to all the information we have, we will have done a good job.
gkjackjr1's picture

gkjackjr1 said:

I would slowly walk them through every scenario I could think of that they may encounter regarding their health care and let them know if there's something they don't understand I am willing and there to help
Sharon Astyk's picture

Sharon Astyk said:

I find one of the biggest struggles for foster parents to be understanding the complex health needs of foster children. Anything we can do to be more educated and supportive in both their and our journey to understanding their medical needs is really critical.