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J Pediatr Nurs. 2016 Nov - Dec;31(6):653-666. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2016.07.005. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

Integrative Review: Delivery of Healthcare Services to Adolescents and Young Adults During and After Foster Care.

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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX. Electronic address:


The purpose of this integrative review is to summarize evidence describing delivery of healthcare services to adolescents while in foster care and to young adults after they exit foster care. The long-term, deleterious effect of abuse and/or neglect by caregivers among youth who have been placed in foster care is grounded in empirical evidence demonstrating the relationship between long-term health needs and exposure to trauma in childhood. Evidence is needed to provide culturally-specific care and also to identify knowledge gaps in the care of adolescents and young adults who have been in the foster care system. Peer-reviewed research studies published between 2004 and 2014 that include samples of youth 12 to 30 years of age are included in the review. Eighteen studies met inclusion criteria for the review. Physical and behavioral healthcare needs among youth with foster care experience are significant. The ability to adequately meet health needs are inextricable from the ability to negotiate resources and to successfully interact with adults. Challenges that youth with foster care histories experience when transitioning into young adulthood are comparable to other populations of vulnerable youth not in foster care. Nurses must use each healthcare encounter to assess how the social determinants of health facilitate or impede optimal health among youth with foster care experience. The development of integrated intervention strategies to inform best practice models is a priority for current and former foster care youth as they transition into young adulthood.


Adolescent; Foster care; Healthcare services; Young adult

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