Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NASW Action Alert: Support the Foster Care Medicaid Coverage Act of 2007!

Congress is currently considering legislation to extend Medicaid coverage for youth who age out of foster care. The Medicaid Foster Care Coverage Act of 2007 (H.R. 1376) will address ways to provide Medicaid coverage for youth who exit the foster care system without a permanent family unit. There are currently 25,000 youth aging out of the foster care system every year who have a variety of unaddressed medical conditions and other challenges because of inadequate health insurance. These include mental and physical disabilities that may result in a lack of educational achievement and financial instability; some youth become homeless.

Beyond funding the direct provision of basic physical health care services, Medicaid currently allows states to provide critical rehabilitative, therapeutic, psychiatric, and targeted case management (TCM) services to children in foster care. Such programs and funding are essential to ensure children in foster care receive the necessary physical and mental health supports while in protective custody.

The Medicaid Foster Care Coverage Act of 2007, introduced by Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) on March 7, 2007, will assist foster care youth in accessing much needed health care. It is in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Health with 15 cosponsors. Congress has an opportunity to make significant progress in improving the lives and outcomes for youth in foster care.

Action Needed
Please contact your Representative and urge them to support The Medicaid Foster Care Coverage Act of 2007 (H.R. 1376) and let them know that you are a constituent and a social worker who is committed to this issue. Let them know that this legislation is necessary to provide youth in foster care with appropriate access to medical care.

Contact Nancy McFall Jean, Lobbyist, Government Relations Department at 202-408-8600 x 440 for more information.

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