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

leahn91's picture

leahn91 said:

By slowly giving the youth more and more control to make decisions regarding healthcare.
ericka reddbutler's picture

ericka reddbutler said:

foster care is a experience to make a difference and have a positive impact on a child's life
carlb's picture

carlb said:

I can help our foster youth by making them more responsible for making appointments and choosing services with guidance and open communication about medical needs.
tammyb's picture

tammyb said:

Its always good practice to teach your kids how to schedule appointments and keep a medical record for them of their history and insurance information.'s picture said:

I can help support a smooth transition for young people in my home take over management of their own healthcare by helping them understand their choices and directions in which they can take. Also, it is important to help them keep their documents organized and help them maintain any records necessary for their appointments.
Cherylabston's picture

Cherylabston said:

By having them involved in scheduling appointment and by teaching the children independent living skills.
Linda Nelson's picture

Linda Nelson said:

I agree its good to train the foster child in to how to make appointments and talking to provider in health ,dental and Mental issuses
davidcornelius's picture

davidcornelius said:

Thank you for all the detailed information. We have a teenager and I feel like we can help him even more after reading this information.
patriciaj's picture

patriciaj said:

i would start helping them how important it is to understand their health and what steps they need to take to start taking care of themselves when they turn 18 .
StacyLewis's picture

StacyLewis said:

I would help the youth to transition by providing them with the medical records which they have acquired while living in my home. I keep a folder on each child that is in my home and keep them just in case they may want them in the future.