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Obamacare And Medicaid: Foster Kids May End Up With The Short End Of The Stick



May 30, 2006
 Each week, nearly 60,000 children in the United States are reported as abused or neglected, with nearly 900,000 confirmed abuse victims in 2004. About 520,000 of those children end up in foster care each year — double the number 25 years ago. Approximately 800,000 children every year come in contact with the foster care system.
Despite more than a decade of intended reform, the nation’s foster care system is still overcrowded and rife with problems. But taxpayers are spending $22 billion a year — or $40,000 a child — on foster care programs. MORE

 Former foster children who have aged out of the foster care system at age 18 will be afforded mandatory extended Medicaid coverage up to age 26 under a provision of the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) effective in January 2014.  


This provision is probably what most child advocates would call a strong leap in the right direction thanks to the Obama Administration’s efforts. The issue? In order to receive the extended coverage, these young people must continue residing in the state where they were in foster care.
As it stands now, most young adults are able to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. When the provision takes effect, former foster children will receive healthcare coverage from the state until age 26 as well, a stark contrast from the system that is in place now which allows youth who age out of foster care to lose Medicaid coverage at age 18.
According to CNN, child advocates recognize that the provision shows tremendous progress in shaping policies that consider the many perils that former foster children face, but they also know that limiting the extension of the Medicaid age based on relocation could be adverse to the provision’s effectiveness.Read more 


The Number of Waiting Children

Each year more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care without being adopted. Today there are 104,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted ranging in age from less than a year old to 21.
The race and ethnicity of children waiting to be adopted vary from State to State and City to City. However, the most recent adoption and foster care statistics  from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System shows the majority of children waiting to be adopted are Caucasian (40 percent) or African American (28 percent). Children of Hispanic origin account for 22 percent of those waiting to be adopted.


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