Health & Healthcare

Youth in foster care experience high rates of chronic health conditions as well as mental illness and emotional trauma

health-and-healthcareMany of the children and adolescents who enter into foster care have complicated and severe medical, mental, oral, and psychosocial health issues. Psychological and emotional trauma rooted in early childhood experiences is particularly common and can be linked to serious impacts on later development throughout adolescence and adulthood. Furthermore, the many medical and mental health problems faced by youth in foster care are compounded by a lack of adequate access to health services.

Did you know…

On average, 4 out of every 5 children and adolescents enter foster care with serious mental health issues1?

Psychosocial issues rooted in family dysfunction are prevalent among youth in foster care and while the statistics for long-term outcomes for young adults raised in foster care are insufficient, data collected across the nation seems to suggest that they experience higher rates of mental health issues, unemployment, homelessness, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and lower educational attainment1.

Foster Youth Health: Facts & Figures

  • Approximately 40% of children that enter foster care have oral health issues1
  • About 60% of foster children under the age of 5 have developmental health issues1
  • Approximately of 33% of youth who have been emancipated from foster care have no health insurance2
  • Roughly 50% of emancipated foster youth have chronic health conditions including visual and auditory impairments, malnutrition, asthma, and dental decay2
  • Moderate to severe mental illness is prevalent in over 50% of emancipated foster youth2
  • Emancipated foster youth also experience (PTSD) at a rate that is double that of war veterans2

NFYI and the health of foster youth

NFYI is committed to raising awareness of issues pertaining to the health and well-being of current and former foster youth. Through grassroots organizing and working with Members of Congress, we seek to reform the child welfare system to provide foster youth and families with better access to healthcare services.


1Health Care Issues for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care and Kinship Care (2015)

2Foster Youth Statistics-The Need, Sanctuary of Hope

Help us make sure foster youth receive adequate
healthcare and medical attention.

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