Do children in the child welfare system experience medical treatment in the same ways that children in the general population do? To some degree, yes, they do.  Children in foster care are a medically vulnerable group. They have greater healthcare needs than most kids and usually received inconsistent health care before entering placement. As a result, children often enter placement with unidentified and unmet health problems. Even after placement many do not receive adequate and timely healthcare. However, there are notable differences in the life experiences and family circumstances of children in foster care compared to their peers outside the child welfare system. It's important to understand what these differences are and how they may influence responses to medical events among children in foster care.

Complexities exist in both the healthcare and child welfare systems. With a working knowledge of both systems and the healthcare needs of children in the child welfare system, professionals can better care for children who are under the supervision of child welfare authorities, whether living at home or in foster care, group homes, or other out-of-home settings. To learn more, please visit the new section of Healthcaretoolbox.org, For Child Welfare Professionals. Here you'll find information and resources on the healthcare needs of children in the child welfare system, how medical trauma affects children, and tips for navigating the healthcare and child welfare systems.