Health & Mental Health
Whether you need routine medical care or emergency care, ensuring you understand how to access your health options is a top-priority for the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
If you are not covered by your parent or caregiver’s health insurance, you are eligible for free healthcare services through Medi-Cal. If you are currently in foster care, you are automatically enrolled. Medi-Cal covers:
If you have any questions on your current health care status, please reach out to your social worker.
If you are under 26 years old and were in foster care at age 18, the Affordable Care Act requires the state of California to provide you with free healthcare. This ensures that former foster youth continue to have access to the health care services they need.
Even if you’re above the age of 26, or you were not in foster care at age 18, you may still qualify for Medi-Cal by applying through the regular application process.
Contact an Independent Living Program (ILP)/ Transition Coordinator for help with your Medi-Cal application or you can reach out to the Foster Care Ombudsman for more information at (877) 846-1602.
If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or you’re struggling with your mental health in other ways, there are several resources and DCFS programs that can help support you.
When a social worker or emergency response visits your home, they will utilize a Mental Health Screening Tool (MHST) to assess whether you should be receiving mental health services, and what resources you might need. This program is designed for youth who are entering foster care and might be separated from their family of origin for a long period of time.
If it is recommended that you receive mental health services, your parent or guardian must provide consent. If they are not able or willing to provide consent, or if you are under the temporary care of DCFS, the court may order treatment in order to ensure that you get the care you need.
Once you have received MHST screening, a DCFS Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) Coordinator will be assigned to you. They will ensure that you are linked to the mental health treatments you need.
If you are currently in the foster care system, Intensive Field Capable Clinical Services (IFCCS) is an intensive mental health program that can help identify your strengths and mental health needs. The IFCCS team includes a:
Wraparound services are available is to assist youth who are returning home to successfully remain at home. The ultimate goal of Wraparound is to prevent future disruption or placements, reduce mental health symptoms, improve overall family functioning, and prevent psychiatric hospitalization.
Wraparound services are available to young people with open DCFS cases, probation youth, and post-adoption children and youth.
To enroll, speak with your social worker or probation officer to find out if you qualify, or contact the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Children’s System of Care Bureau at (213) 738-2147.
If you are dealing with a substance abuse problem, the confidential Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Program can help.
If DCFS identifies a need for you to be tested for alcohol or other drugs, your case worker will notify the court. If you agree, the court will then order DCFS to refer you to an Adolescent Intervention, Treatment and Recovery Program (AITRP) agency within 72 hours. The dependency court will review your progress and discuss any barriers to participation. A follow-up court date will be set for 30 days or less, if needed.
If you have any questions on substance abuse and the programs available to you, please contact your social worker.
If you are currently in foster care, sexual and reproductive health services are confidential and covered by Medi-Cal at no cost to you.
If you are covered by your parent or caregiver’s insurance, you can sign up for the Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (Family PACT) program to receive free and confidential sexual and reproductive health services at the participating medical hubs indicated below.
In California, all youth have the right to obtain care for the prevention and treatment of pregnancy, including:
You have the right to access these services on your own, no adult needed. You do NOT need anyone’s permission or consent, not even your parents – and they cannot be notified that you accessed these services without your permission.
You may be excused from school to attend confidential medical appointments. Your school district can provide more for information on its policy on confidential medical appointments. Click below for more information.
If you are a foster youth who is a new or expecting parent, The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services is committed to securing a placement that keeps you and your child together whenever safely possible.
If you are pregnant or parenting, DCFS can arrange for a voluntary Expectant and Parenting Youth Conference (EPY) to identify and discuss many issues related to pregnancy and parenting, including items you might need for the baby, placement, child care, continuing your education, reproductive health and more to help you be a successful parent and achieve independence.
Dependent teen and non-minor parents and their children have access to an array of services. Work closely with your case worker to ensure you’re accessing the resources appropriate and available to you. Learn more about Teen Parenting, the services available to you, and your rights as a parent.