[for medical care] from the child’s parents, or alternatively, from the court…Parents should grant written consent for their child’s medical care,” and for those children whose parent’s rights have been terminated, the agency “should obtain written consent from the courts.” This provision applies to all forms of medical care, including treatment for HIV infection.
Allowing children in foster care to receive experimental drugs for the treatment of HIV infection without providing an independent advocate to protect and ensure the child’s safety and well-being-, is contrary to CWLA’s Standards for Health Care Services for Children in Out-of-Home Care and our Standards of Excellence for Family Foster Care Services.
As of December 2002, 821,470 adults and adolescents, and 8,804 children under age 13, had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Many children, particularly those with HIV/AIDS, lack the kind of health care coverage that would allow them to receive state-of-the-art medical care. Children in foster care should not, as a matter of course, be denied access to appropriately reviewed and approved treatment research. Nonetheless, it is in their best interests for the parents or guardians and the child, when appropriate, to participate to the fullest extent possible in the development and implementation of the health care plan so that each child’s unique needs and concerns are considered in any treatment decision.
We encourage all concerned to take this opportunity to more comprehensively examine the health care needs of children in foster care, including those who are disabled or have mental health needs. In many instances, these children are without adequate care to address their treatment needs. Priority must be given to providing the advocacy and protections that would help ensure all children in foster care receive needed services so they might best heal from the harms of child abuse and neglect.