• May/June 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 3

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Foster Children and Medicaid

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examines the health care needs of foster children, and how those needs are being met through Medicaid.

The study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., was based on data from California, Florida, and Pennsylvania, from the years 1993, 1994, and 1995. Among the findings are the following:

  • Children in foster care accounted for a greater Medicaid expenditure than non-foster children.
  • A large proportion of foster children lost their Medicaid coverage when they left foster care.
  • Children in foster care children were more likely than other groups of Medicaid children to have mental health or substance abuse problems
  • How much and what type of health care received by Medicaid-covered foster care children varied considerably across the three States.

The study revealed four main implications for policy and practice in serving foster children:

  • Continuity of coverage is important.
  • Medicaid may be underutilized as a funding source.
  • A broad-based concept of care coordination is needed.
  • The structure of managed care systems could better recognize foster care children's needs.

The Policy Brief, Children in Foster Care: Challenges in Meeting Their Health Care Needs, is available online at: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/PDFs/fostercarebrief.pdf.

The full report is available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/fostercare-health00.

To order a print copy of the full report for $13 (plus $3.50 s/h), contact:

Jackie Allen
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
PO Box 2393
Princeton, NJ 08543-2393
Phone: 609-275-2350
Email: jallen@mathematica-mpr.com

Related Items

See "Pediatricians Advised About Enhancing Brain Development in Young Foster Children" in the January 2001 Children's Bureau Express for an article about the new recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics for treating young children in foster care.

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