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An OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Report

Children involved in the child welfare system, particularly those in foster care or subsidized adoption, are a high-needs, complex population – with greater incidences of chronic physical and mental health conditions. Foster care children have more chronic medical conditions than children outside of the foster care system. More than half of foster care children have at least two chronic conditions, and one-quarter have three or more chronic conditions. They also have higher rates of certain conditions than children not in foster care, such as vision disorders, dental problems, and jaw disorders. The population is also more likely to need inpatient care of any kind when compared to their peers.

Children in foster care also have high rates of behavior or emotional problems. Research shows that about 52% of children in foster care, and about 79% of children in a group home or residential program are at risk of a behavioral or emotional problem. And 45% of foster care children and 75% of children in group or residential care received outpatient behavioral health services. Additionally, foster care children are prescribed psychotropic medications at a disproportionately higher rate compared to other groups of children.

Medicaid is responsible for funding behavioral health and physical health treatment services for foster care children. Federal Medicaid rules require that all states provide health care for most children and youth in the foster care system. This report includes a state-by-state analysis of Medicaid delivery systems for foster care children, including the number of children in each delivery system. The report goes in-depth into the following topics:

  1. How Do States Deliver Medicaid Benefits To Children In The Foster Care System?
  2. Which States Require Children In Foster Care To Be Enrolled In Medicaid Managed Care?
  3. What States Are Planning To Move Foster Care Children To Managed Care?
  4. How Many Children In Foster Care Are Enrolled In Medicaid Managed Care?

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