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Credit hours:

Course Summary

Children and youth in foster care are at a higher risk for medical and mental health problems than those not in care. This is often 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. Foster parents can help with the difficult transition to adulthood by ensuring youth in your care are prepared to manage their health care prior to living independently.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Unique health needs of foster youth

  • How to empower foster youth in a health care setting

  • 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 health care experience as a foster youth 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 toEmpower Foster Youth as Patients at different ages or developmental levels by reviewing this FosterClub 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 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 health care 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 Health Care FFY, 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? 

Step 10

Finished the module? If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate! 

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Course Discussion

ccnewsom2020's picture

ccnewsom2020 said:

While I do not have children aging out of foster care, it is still good to begin conversation early on in the life of the child about their healthcare. Some other topics could include: anatomy, hygiene, dental care, and nutrition to prevent health care issues or improve healthcare conditions.
Quortney88's picture

Quortney88 said:

UGh, my heart just goes out to all of these babies! Thank you to all the amazing foster parents out there
Kphillips's picture

Kphillips said:

To help create a smooth transition for a youth getting ready to transition out of foster care, I would have open communication with the youth. I would discuss their insurance card, how to call or go online and get information. I would educate them on the need to make sure they go to a provider that is in network with their insurance and how to find that out. When going to doctor's appointments, I would discuss what the appointment is for. I would begin to assist the youth in making the appointment themself instead of making it for them. I would show them how they need to check in upon arrival and let them give as much information themselves as possible. During the the appointment I would encourage the youth do the talking with the nurse and provider and I would fill in when needed. After the appointment, I would go over the discharge or office notes. We would then put a system in place for the youth to have all their records together, kept organized, and how to keep it safe.
ddennison's picture

ddennison said:

you can start by having the child make the Dr's appointments with a parent. and having the child ask questions. looking up different medications about side affects.
Sandra1959's picture

Sandra1959 said:

For my foster children to start I would help them to transition into adulthood by introducing them to a system to organize their important health documentation. I would give them a folder with their important phone numbers emails and addresses to their specific healthcare provider as well as medical card or at least a copy. Also I would be providing a specific & special place for those important papers when they come back from an appointment or so on.
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.