The Federal Budget

  • Right now, the policy makers in Washington D.C. are talking about the federal budget for child welfare. This budget is very small, so federal policy makers work together with states and other agencies outside of child welfare in order to provide foster youth with the services they need, including health care.

Foster Youth Need Better Health Care

  • Youth with experience in the foster care system have more health care needs than youth who are not involved with foster care. This is because every young person in foster care has experienced some form of trauma, even if that trauma is simply being removed from their biological family. Trauma has an impact on every aspect of health, so it is extremely important that the budget includes funding for health care.
  • State child welfare programs work with state Medicaid programs to provide youth in foster care with vital health care services. As many as 70% percent of youth in foster care do not receive appropriate health services. The most recent trend in the health care experiences young people in foster care is the over-prescription of psychotropic medications. Often times, a young person would have better health outcomes if they received a therapeutic interventions instead of a psychotropic medications.

A New Idea

  • Policy makers are talking about a new idea to help foster youth have access to the health services they need. The idea is to help state child welfare agencies work together with state Medicaid programs to look at other interventions that will help youth in foster care, instead of resorting to psychotropic medications. The goal is to promote better health care services for youth in foster care, and reduce the prescription of psychotropic medications.
  • In order to pursue this idea, the project will cost money and that money comes from the child welfare budget. Senators and Representatives also participate in this discussion, and they get to vote on the final budget. They will be making these decisions in the Fall.

Action Opportunity

  • Senators and Representatives need to hear your story! Do you like this new idea? Do you feel that you received appropriate health care services while in foster care? Your experiences will help Senators and Representatives understand what foster youth need, and this will help them make their decisions about the child welfare budget and this new idea.
  • You can visit with your Senators and Representative while they in your state right now. You can attend their town hall meetings, events, or visit their offices. All you have to do is call their office and see what your options are for sharing your story.