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Healthy News for Ohio Foster Kids This Week

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 By Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Contact
January 16, 2008

Columbus, OH - The safety net for foster children in Ohio is going to be safer and stronger from now on. Until now, more than a thousand Ohio teens have been losing their health care coverage each year when they "age out" of the foster care system without having found permanent families.

Under a state budget plan that takes effect this week, youth leaving the foster program can apply to keep their Medicaid health benefits until age 21. Gayle Channing Tenenbaum with the Public Children Services Association of Ohio says for those leaving the foster system, there are already plenty of challenges, and having the security of health care can make a big difference.

"This is a very, very important thing for this very special group of youth while they're transitioning, whether it's to college or a work program."

She says the change is especially good news for those in need of mental health treatment.

Adrian McLemore with the Ohio Youth Advisory Board agrees that the transition from foster care to adulthood is a tough time for many young people - and having access to health care during those years can help provide some peace of mind.

"It's a pivotal moment in the young persons' transition from high school to adulthood. Whether they choose to go off to college or whether they choose to join the work force, having medical insurance to cover their well-being is very important. "

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