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

jasondupre25's picture

jasondupre25 said:

Simply having a discussion and answering questions will begin facilitation for the foster child to manage their own healthcare.
Sharon.Farr's picture

Sharon.Farr said:

You can support a smooth transition for young people in your home who are ready to begin taking over the management of their own health care is by talking to he or she about health care and why it is important to have health care. Also, i would make sure we gather all information he or she needs for health care and explain step by step what is needed to complete these task. Doing this will help this child to understand where to go and who to talk to if he or she need further information about health care.
dminor2661's picture

dminor2661 said:

To educate and teach the youth about healthcare, giving them the information, going over this information before they exit out can make them feel positive and not be afraid to seek for more information later on when they faced with other situations. Spending time is one of the keys to success in reaching a young person. Communicate with them, build up their confidence and see how far they can go.... : )
Mookiey25's picture

Mookiey25 said:

Since there are so many foster/adoptive parents as well as foster children unaware of all the benefits available it makes it hard when situations occur. With that being said knowledge. Knowing your options and taking advantage of all that are available will help. Making sure when the child gets to an understanding age to involve in as much of the healthcare process and continue to talk. Making sure u keep up with important medical things.
Jeanne's picture

Jeanne said:

We can help them gather as much medical history as possible to turn over to the new providers.
aholroyde's picture

aholroyde said:

Teach them their rights and how to advocate for themself. Teach them how to navigate the system and empower them.
aliholroyde's picture

aliholroyde said:

Teaching each child about their options and how to care for themself long term.
Chellenbayird20's picture

Chellenbayird20 said:

Teach the child about the importance of being healthy and the ways to be healthy in exercise, eating, and vitamins
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.