Methods: Mixed methods study of reentry youths’ health needs and health care access. Community partners included LA County juvenile justice health agencies and probation department. Surveys conducted with youth (n=50) at 1-month post release. Interviews conducted with youth (n=27) and caregivers (n=34) at 1, 3, 6 months post-release. Quantitative analysis was done through REDCap and qualitative analysis was done using Atlas.Ti.
Results: On the surveys, a variety of barriers were identified incuding lack of transportation, lack of parental accompaniment, lack of insurance, lack of prioritization of health, and lack of provider referral. Interviews revealed the many ways that parents motivate youth to seek care and facilitate their seeking of care, including caring about youth, conveying the value of care, enforcing rules around seeking care, fostering independence in seeking care, connecting youth the health insurance, setting up the appointment, transporting youth, accompanying youth, and paying for the appointment. Almost all barriers identified and potential ways to overcome those barriers relate to parents and caregivers.
Conclusions: Parents and youth expressed that parents are instrumental to help youth access health care during reentry. Active involvement of parents is helpful in variety of both emotional and logistically supportive ways. Most youth feel very connected to parents during reentry. Findings counter myth that parents are not involved in lives of justice-involved youth during reentry. Extent to which parents can assist youth is influenced by circumstances (e.g. flexible job, financial stability, private insurance, good caseworker) shaped on larger level by social forces like poverty, racism. To ensure access to care, partnership and communication needed between youths’ caregivers, probation officer, therapist, and youth’s health care provider from justice system. MediCal reinstatement process should be streamlined to eliminate gaps in coverage during reentry.