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Enhancing a System of Care for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults in Foster Care

November 2020
Full report

Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) offer states a whole person approach for children, adolescents, and young adults in foster care that emphasizes safety, permanency, and stability. MCOs work collaboratively with providers, state agencies, families, and caregivers to improve the overall system of care.

Many children in foster care have extensive health and social supports needs, yet they too often experience fragmented delivery of services and supports in Medicaid fee-for-service. As states look to strengthen the delivery system, MCOs can be a valuable partner. MCOs implement trauma-informed care coordination and person-centered planning — taking into account each child’s unique circumstances and needs. MCOs also help improve collaboration and communication across agencies to reduce fragmentation and ensure children in foster care access important services and supports.

This paper describes how Medicaid MCOs can help states achieve their mission of improving health outcomes and quality of life for children in foster care.


  • Understanding the experience of children in foster care
  • Medicaid’s role serving children in foster care
  • Delivery system improvements through Medicaid managed care

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