Scenario: James, a fifteen year-old foster youth, shares with his case manager that he wants to go to the doctor to be examined for an STI, but the only appointments available are during school hours. He tells his case manager that he is embarrassed and doesn’t want to tell his foster parent why he is seeing the doctor. He is unsure how to be excused from class without a note from his foster parent. He asks the case manager if he should just skip school so that he can see the doctor. What is the Case Manager required to do? The case manager shall ensure that any barriers James is experiencing in accessing reproductive and sexual health care services and treatment are addressed. The case manager can inform James that his school district may excuse him to attend a confidential medical appointment without a note from his foster parent or guardian4. James will need to speak with his school to inquire what he needs to do in order for him to miss school to attend a confidential medical appointment and have his absence excused. The school may allow James to sign himself out of school to attend the appointment but may require James to provide a doctor’s note or verification of the visit in order to reenter school.
What are some best practices for the case manager in this scenario? The case manager should follow up with James in a reasonable time to ensure that he was able to set up the appointment and get the information he needed from his school about getting his absence excused. If the school will not excuse James’ absence, the case manager may need to sign James out of school and take him to the appointment.
Additionally, the case manager should ask James why he does not feel comfortable telling his foster parent about his medical appointment. The case manager should assess whether James is in a safe, supportive foster placement that meets his needs.