The DCF Health Advocate Unit
The Mission of the Health Advocate Unit is to facilitate timely access to healthcare services and improve the health outcomes of DCF-involved children and families. By problem solving and removing barriers to care, the Health Advocates ensure access to emergency, urgent and routine mental health, medical, dental, vision and pharmacy services for children in care. Health Advocates are embedded in the DCF area offices and are a resource for DCF Staff, foster parents, statewide partner agencies (including MDE clinics) and congregate care staff to assist in navigating the complexities of today’s healthcare system and resolving insurance related problems.
Allison Bombard, LCSW
DCF Health Advocate Supervisor
Health Care Transition
Health care transition is the process of getting ready and learning to manage your medical and mental health needs an adult. Advocating for your needs and learning how to navigate the health care system, including health insurance, is just one step in the transition into adulthood. While the topic will be part of your transition plan with your DCF Social Worker, here are some additional resources:
- Got Transition: A program of The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, Got Transition offers guidance on learning to manage and advocate for your own health needs.
- "Moving to Adulthood: A handout for youth aging out of foster care” by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Foster Care Alumni of America
As of 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates Medicaid coverage for former foster care youth as a special eligibility group. This means that if you were in foster care in CT on your 18th birthday AND were receiving Medicaid benefits, then you are entitled to HUSKY A Health Insurance through age 26. This coverage is regardless of income and does not require you to complete an application for coverage.
For former foster care youth NOT eligible for HUSKY through this coverage category, youth living on their own or with family can apply for insurance either through an employer, Access Health CT or CT DSS.
- About the Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare")
- "Health Reform Provides New Health Coverage for Youth Formerly in Foster Care", CT Voices for Children. July 2013.
For many, when thinking of going to college, health insurance is not something that comes to mind. Many colleges offer Student Health Plans, or affordable health insurance options. It is important to explore the best health insurance option for your situation.
If you are staying in CT, then you may already have health insurance through Medicaid as a Former Foster Youth or income eligibility criteria. If you know you have Medicaid, you can opt out of the Student Health Plan. Some colleges automatically enroll you, so you must be sure to sign paperwork to opt out of this coverage. This is an important step to prevent being charged for a Student Health Plan you do not need, which also may complicate medical payments when you have multiple health insurances.
If you are planning to go out-of-state for college, your health insurance options differ. It is recommended you work with your DCF social worker and area office DCF Health Advocate to determine which health insurance best fits your needs.
General Healthcare & Health Insurance Information
- DSS Husky Health Program: Information on CT Medicaid, benefit overview from behavioral health, medical coverage, dental and pharmacy.
- DSS ConneCT: Online portal where you can access information on and apply for medical benefits, food stamps and/or cash assistance available through the Department of Social Services (DSS).
- Access Health CT: Information on CT’s official health insurance marketplace.
- Veyo: Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT): Information on Medicaid’s limited transportation benefit for members who have no other way of getting to their medical, behavioral health or dental appointments.
- CT’s Medical Home Initiative (CMHI): A family-centered, community-based care coordination program for Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN).
- Health Grades: A quick search engine to access doctors and hospitals
- CT Behavioral Health Partnership : Information on mental health and substance use services, including covered benefits and how to access services.
- CT Collaborative to Improve Autism Services: Information on Autism diagnosis, services and family support.
- EMPS Mobile Crisis Intervention Services: Information on crisis services available by calling 2-1-1 for children and adolescents experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis.
- Psychology Today: Provides a directory of clinical professionals and psychiatrists searchable by specific criteria and location.
- CT Dental Health Partnership : Access dental services and details on those programs
- CT Foundation for Dental Outreach and CT Mission of Mercy: Access locations of free dental screenings
- CT Oral Health Initiative: A statewide advocacy organization devoted to forwarding oral health in CT
Pharmacy & Prescription Resources:
- CCM Drug Savings Program: Access to free, or nearly free, prescription medicines
- DCF Centralized Medication Consent Unit: Responsible for reviewing all requests for psychotropic medication use by a child or youth committed to DCF.