Health Care for Homeless Youth: Policy Options for Improving Access (2008)

The Center for Adolescent Health & the Law, in collaboration with the Public Policy Analysis Center for Middle Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adults Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF Policy Center) has produced Health Care for Homeless Youth: Policy Options for Improving Access.

The issue brief describes homeless youth, a small but highly vulnerable population with significant health care needs, and the substantial financial and consent and confidentiality barriers these young people experience when trying to access health care services. It explains how health care access can be improved for this population, by describing how Medicaid and SCHIP currently reach adolescents and young adults, and how these two programs can be expanded to help homeless youth. The brief emphasizes the important opportunity presented by options available to the states, such as the Foster Care Independence Act, HIFA waivers, and Ribicoff youth, and summarizes the policy options that can best improve access to health care for homeless youth. It also discusses state minor consent laws and how they could be used to make health care services more accessible to homeless youth.