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Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care Should Get Health Coverage Through Medicaid

For young people who have experienced foster care, access to affordable health insurance is critical to their everyday success. While Federal Law has expanded health coverage to alumni who were in foster care at age 18, there are significant roadblocks to enrolling in and maintaining coverage.

Our policy brief, Health Insurance for Youth Formerly in Foster Care – Focus on Medicaid Coverage in Arizona, examines the barriers many youth in foster care face and recommendations to ensure eligible young people can get the health insurance coverage they need to thrive in adulthood.

We also spotlight community provider Phoenix Day; their HealthLinks program provides state-wide support to youth who have aged out of foster care with immediate enrollment assistance. Call Phoenix Day at 602.252.4911, extension 104 to help with the enrollment application.

“When I was 19 and a student at ASU, I got sick and had to go the emergency room. I was given medication and sent home. Three weeks later I got a $12,000 bill in the mail. I was shocked because I thought I had health insurance under the Young Adult Transitional Insurance (YATI) program until I turned 26. Without knowing, I had been dropped from the program. With the help of my caseworker, I reenrolled and was able to get the emergency room visit covered, but the amount of stress that it created for me was unreal.” Ray, Arizona young adult formerly in foster care

Former foster youth get head start on college preparedness with new ASU program

New website for Airzona’s former foster kids

Ex-foster kids can get government health coverage

Ariz. joins national movement to help youth aging out of foster care

New Iinitiative Started to Help Youth Transition from Foster Care To Adulthood

February 27, 2013

Contact: Beth Rosenberg
(602) 266-0707 x206

Download pdf version here.

(Phoenix, AZ) Children’s Action Alliance and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust yesterday launched a new initiative crafted to help youth who have been living in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. The Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative will inventory and evaluate existing services for youth who are leaving the foster care system, recommend services that might be networked together, find gaps in support services, and create new opportunities for foster care “graduates” to move on to higher education and life-long success.

“We want to make sure these young people have the same support systems that we provide to our own children,” said Belen Gonzalez, a Trust program officer who has led our work on this initiative. “It is about putting them in the best position for success. It is making sure they have at least one connection to a helpful, understanding adult in their lives.”

Every year in Arizona, more than 700 teenagers “age-out” of the foster care system, meaning they have reached their 18th birthday without finding a permanent family. Fewer than 3% of them will graduate from college. Without a family to turn to for support, many of them will face high rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration and homelessness.

The Arizona project will benefit from numerous community partnerships and advice from The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a national foundation working currently in 15 sites around the country. Together we will work to strengthen systems that help youth leaving foster care overcome challenges and find better opportunities. The Initiative will include the voices of the real experts, young people now living in foster care and young adults who grew up in the foster care system.

“It’s hard for any of us to imagine turning 18 and being alone in the world. So it’s no surprise that when foster care ends, these young people don’t know which way to go,” said CAA President and CEO, Dana Wolfe Naimark. “Thanks to this initiative, we can all help turn fear and uncertainty into opportunities for education and stability.”

At a reception on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, child advocates and leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic communities came together to celebrate the launch of this initiative. Community members welcomed new CAA staff member and manager of the Youth Opportunities Initiative, Meghan Arrigo.

“It is important for all of us to come together because the issue requires a greater and better response,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “Together we can make a larger impact.”

See attached photos:
Photo 1 - CAA President and CEO Dana Wolfe NaimarkPhoto 1 – CAA President and CEO Dana Wolfe Naimark




Photo 2 - L to R Monique Gilliam - Foster Youth Advocate and Meghan Arrigo - Manager of ArizonaYouthOpportunitiesPhoto 2 – L to R Monique Gilliam – Foster Youth Advocate and Meghan Arrigo – Children’s Action Alliance, Manager of Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative



Photo 3 - L to R Monique Gilliam - Foster Youth Advocate and Belen Gonzalez - Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable TrustPhoto 3 – L to R Monique Gilliam – Foster Youth Advocate and Belen Gonzalez – Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Program Officer – Arizona




The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life in the metropolitan areas of Indianapolis and Phoenix.

Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community. CAA works to improve children’s health, education, and security through information and action.