Help us protect Louisiana's children. Report Child Abuse & Neglect: 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Kinship Navigator - Health Care

Who can give consent for health care?

If a parent is not available, Louisiana law allows someone who is caring for the child as a parent would, such as a kinship caregiver to give consent for medical decisions.

Interestingly, Louisiana allows minors to consent to their own medical care without telling their parents. This includes care for pregnancy and childbirth, and sexually transmitted infections. There are special rules about abortion and sterilization. The statute does not set a lower limit on the age of minor who may consent, and there is no case law that sets a minimum age of consent. Physicians are protected from liability for relying on the consent of a minor.

If the child is in the custody of the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), as the child's caregiver, you should consult with the child's worker or supervisor regarding medical care and decisions.

Am I responsible for the child's medical expenses?

Yes, kinship caregivers are responsible for the child 's medical expenses. However, many children in kinship care are eligible for medical insurance through either Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

If the child is in the custody of DCFS, the child is eligible for health coverage through Medicaid.

Who can apply for Medicaid for the child?

The following people can apply for Medicaid for a child:

  • Parent;
  • Someone who has been given court ordered custody of the child;
  • Someone who has claimed the child on their income tax; or,
  • Anyone acting for the applicant.

If the child in your care is in the custody of the DCFS, they will provide you with a Medicaid card.

How do I apply for Medicaid or LACHIP?

You have several options to apply for Medicaid or LACHIP for a child in your care.

Can I apply for WIC benefits?

WIC benefits are available for pregnant women or children under age 5 who meet income and residential requirements. WIC can provide regular health screenings for the child and vouchers for certain foods. If the child is enrolled in Medicaid or you are receiving SNAP benefits, you are eligible for WIC for the child. Apply online at https://louisianawic.org/ or call 1800251BABY.

Can I put the child I am caring for on my health insurance?

You should check with your health insurance company to see what documentation you need to put the child on your insurance.

Where can I find health services or health care for the child?

Typically if the child has Medicaid or other health insurance, you may secure treatment from a health care provider of your choice who accepts those specific insurances. If the child is not yet covered by any insurance, you should apply for Medicaid or CHIP .

If the child is in DCFS custody, the child will be enrolled in a specific health care plan. Contact the child 's worker to find out where non-emergent medical services can be received. If it is an emergency secure prompt medical treatment at a local hospital or health care facility.

Who can the doctor to talk to and who can see the child's medical records?

Generally, both the federal (HIPPA) and the state laws say that a parent or a person caring for a child , such as a Kinship Caregiver, can receive information from a health care provider. However, there are some exceptions to these laws. First, in Louisiana since a minor can consent to their own treatment and they do so, the federal law says that the minor has to consent to any disclosure of their health information. Second, whoever is appointed by a court to direct the child's health care must give consent for the disclosure. Third, if the parent or caregiver agrees to a confidential relationship between the child and the caregiver, then the provider may not disclose any information.