Health Concerns Among Children in Foster Care

Children in foster care tend to have greater physical and behavioral health needs than other American children. It is important that Medicaid programs that serve these children have systems and services in place to address these needs. This can help improve these children’s overall health and well-being, as well as increase the chances of stable placement in a loving and supportive family.

 

UnitedHealthcare and the Foster Care Population

  • In 2019, UnitedHealthcare Community & State served 55,000 foster children across 12 markets, all part of integrated plans.
  • Partnership with the National Foster Parent Association provides training about the foster care system and how to best assist foster parents.
  • UnitedHealthcare has a dedicated clinical model for children in foster care anchored in the principles of trauma- informed care and coordination.
  • Online continuing education (CEU’s) specific to children in foster care is available.
  • UnitedHealthcare offers unique products to serve children in foster care, including an app for transition aged youth to plan for adulthood and store confidential documents they will need as adults to access services.

The Foster Care Population

Children in foster care have significantly greater behavioral health care needs, and a higher spend, compared to physical health care spending.

Physical Health

Children placed in foster care, compared to other children, are5:

Behavioral Health

Children placed in foster care, compared to other children, are5:

 


 

Citations

  1. Based on a snapshot of the 443K individuals reported in foster care on September 30, 2017. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2018). The AFCARS report: Preliminary FY 2017 estimates as of August 10, 2018 (25). https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport25.pdf.
  2. Based on number of individuals served by the foster care system in FY 2017. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2018). The AFCARS report: Preliminary FY 2017 estimates as of August 10, 2018 (25). https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport25.pdf.
  3. MACPAC Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP, June 2015.
  4. Allen KD, Hendricks T. Medicaid and Children in Foster Care: State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center. Hamilton, NJ: Center for Health Care Strategies, 2013.
  5. Turney K, Wildeman, C. Mental and Physical Health of Children in Foster Care. Pediatrics 138 (5), November 2016.
  6. Center for Health Care Strategies). 2014. Medicaid behavioral health care use among children in foster care. Accessed Apriil 15, 2019 at http://www.chcs.org/media/Medicaid-BH-Care-Use-for-Childrenin-Foster-Care_Fact-Sheet.pdf.
  7. Assessing the Effects of Foster Care: Mental Health Outcomes from the Casey National Alumni Study. The Foster Care Alumni Studies, 2004.
  8. Dworsky A, Napolitano L, Courtney M. Homelessness during the transition from foster care to adulthood. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(suppl 2):S318–S323.

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