Theresa, a sixteen-year old foster youth, has shared with her foster parent that she is pregnant and wants to terminate her pregnancy. Theresa has scheduled an appointment for an abortion and asked her caregiver to drive her. The caregiver shares with Theresa’s social worker she is not comfortable with taking Theresa to an appointment for an abortion. Theresa’s social worker feels it is the caregiver’s responsibility to transport Theresa to the appointment.
What is the Case Manager required to do?
The case manager should remind the caregiver of the requirement for her to provide Theresa transportation to medical appointments, which includes appointments for reproductive and sexual health related services. If the caregiver continues to refuse to take Theresa to the appointment, the case manager must transport the youth or elect another trusted adult to transport the youth to the appointment. An appointment for an abortion is time-sensitive, therefore it is important that the case manager ensure that someone, whether it be the caregiver, case manager or another trusted adult, transports Theresa to this appointment promptly. The case manager can also provide the caregiver with a copy of ACL 16-82, which outlines the youth’s right to be provided transportation and other reproductive health rights.
What are some best practices for the case manager in this scenario?
The case manager could ask Theresa who she would like to transport and accompany her to the appointment. An appointment for an abortion can be an emotional experience for a youth. The youth should be supported through this experience with the person the youth feels most comfortable with, if at all possible.
The case manager may also find it helpful to engage the foster parent in a discussion using Safety Organized Practice methods, by asking the caregiver “what are we worried about” in regards to transporting Theresa to the appointment. Exploring the caregiver’s concerns will help the case manager fully understand the issue at hand from the caregiver’s perspective. By doing so, the case manager may be able to provide additional information to the caregiver which would alleviate some of the caregiver’s concerns.