State Clarifies NMDs’ Right to Privacy & Decision-Making Regarding Medical Care

The California Department of Social Services has released an errata to All County Letter 17-22, making clarifications about health assessment and dental referral periodicity schedules for children, youth and non-minor dependents (NMDs) in foster care.

The original ACL stated that children, youth and NMDs must receive timely health and dental exams based on the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Bright Futures Schedule for Health Assessments and the CHDP/Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) Periodicity Schedule for Dental Referrals.

However, as legal adults, NMDs have the right to privacy regarding their medical conditions and the right to consent to receive treatment or to take medication. While youth over 18 are entitled to receive medical care with the frequency provided by the new periodicity schedules, they must consent and agree to receive dental and healthcare treatment and services. Counties cannot require NMDs to receive services at a particular frequency, and healthcare information for NMDs cannot be obtained, added to the health and education summary, or shared without the NMD’s consent. To read the errata to ACL 17-22, follow this LINK.

For adolescents, doctors’ visits should include sexual health and development, including access to birth control. Additionally, youth have the right to not have the caregiver in the appointment with them as indicated in All County Letter 16-82.

As outlined in California’s Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy for Youth and Non-Minor Dependents, the social worker/probation officer should provide youth and NMDs with information about how to make doctor appointments, a list of medical provider options, the youth’s medical insurance information and a list of frequently asked questions to ask their doctor.

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