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

Tony53's picture

Tony53 said:

By starting an early transitioning plan for healthcare. Sharing and studying the Healthcare Bill of rights to remove some anxiety beforehand. Supporting them with practice independently at Dr. appointments prior to the transition. Practice verbal questions and answers giving them a chance to gain confidence.
Epowell69's picture

Epowell69 said:

First off make sure your child has all the tools they need to be successful when it comes to transitioning. For example insurance and health info, school info, and anything else they may need to survive in adulthood. Make sure they aware I will always be available to answer questions or give guidance in my form.
jonathan_harrell's picture

jonathan_harrell said:

Allow the child as much involvement in taking care of their own healthcare needs as they can, especially as they near aging out of the system. Teach them to advocate for themselves with healthcare providers.
Sammiek's picture

Sammiek said:

Helping Support the transition, you can start by making sure they understand your always there to help with anything. Make sure they have Resorces to Dr. offices. helping them upstand out to fill out paperwork and know they necessaire information they will need. let them know to open and honest about their feelings and concerns.
juls3434's picture

juls3434 said:

Begin transition early. Support independent visits.
tasha1983's picture

tasha1983 said:

markmcnair's picture

markmcnair said:

Make sure they have all of the correct information.
kaleibthompson's picture

kaleibthompson said:

Help apply for college or jobs/resume
Katchick's picture

Katchick said:

let the kids become involved with making dr appointments and with asking the dr questions an be involved with their care!!!
fjenkins5's picture

fjenkins5 said:

Provide medical records, medical cards and doctor's contact information.