Teen Van Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can make an appointment on the Teen Van?

Teens and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25, regardless of their immigration status, can visit us on the Teen Van. Our services are for teens and young adults who either do not have health insurance or are underinsured (e.g., high out-of-pocket costs). Teens and young adults who have full health insurance coverage through a family member can come to the Teen Van for privacy reasons to receive sensitive services (more information below).

What types of health services does the Teen Van offer?

The Teen Van offers two types of appointments: sensitive service appointments and medical appointments (concerns that are not related to the patient’s sexual or mental health).

  1. Sensitive services:
    • Family planning options and birth control methods (including condoms)
    • Pregnancy testing
    • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    • The HPV vaccine
    • Therapy and counseling (not with a psychiatrist)
    • Substance use counseling for tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse
  2. Medical appointments:
    • Physical exams (including sports physicals)
    • Vaccines/immunizations
    • Acute illness and injury care
    • Medications and prescriptions—for asthma, allergies, etc.
    • Psychological evaluations with our consulting psychiatrist from Stanford Children’s Health
    • Other medical, nonsexual health concerns
    • COVID-19 testing

How much do the Teen Van’s services cost?

All of our services are free!

Do I need to make an appointment?

We recommend making an appointment. We try to see all patients who come to the Teen Van and do not have an appointment, but sometimes we get too busy. Talk to your teacher or school counselor for help in making an appointment.

I want to make an appointment with the Teen Van, but I’m not a student at any of the schools that the van visits. Can I still make an appointment?

Yes! Call the Teen Van office at (650) 736-7172.

Do I need my parent’s permission to make an appointment?

It depends. You need your parent or guardian’s permission if you are under the age of 18 and the appointment is for a nonsexual, medical need or concern (e.g., a sports physical exam or a vaccine).

If you are under the age of 18 and your appointment is for a sexual or mental health need, you do not need your parent or guardian’s permission. The appointment will be private, and your parent/guardian will not be notified that you received services from the Teen Van.

Do my appointment and the information I share stay private?

In the state of California, anyone under the age of 18 is able to get birth control, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, and abortion services on their own without their parent/guardian’s permission. For testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV testing, drug and alcohol treatment, and mental health counseling, you have to be 12 years old or older. This means that health care providers (doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, therapists, etc.) in California are not allowed to talk to your parent or guardian about these appointments without your permission. This applies at all clinics in California, not just the Teen Van.

There are limits to confidentiality, however. Mandated reporters (doctors, nurses, teachers, therapists, social workers, etc.) are required to make a report to law enforcement and/or Child Protective Services if you share that you have serious plans to hurt yourself or someone else, or if you share that you or someone you know has experienced abuse or neglect.

What happens if I miss class because of my appointment on the Teen Van?

Another helpful California law: Your absence in class is excused for appointments related to birth control, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, abortion services, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), drug and alcohol treatment, and mental health counseling. These appointments are considered confidential appointments.

When you come to the Teen Van, we will help you get a pass to go back to school so that your absence in class is excused. If your appointment is at another clinic, talk to the school attendance staff or your wellness counselor about your confidential appointment (you do not have to share what the appointment is for). The school is allowed to call the clinic or doctor to confirm your confidential appointment, but they are not allowed to ask what the appointment is for. 

We are not encouraging you to miss class—especially on an important day—but we hope that there is an opportunity in your school day to get the health services you need if after school is not an option for you. 

Do I need to bring an ID or other documents?

You do not need an ID when you come to the van. If you are coming in for a sports physical, please bring your sports paperwork. If you are coming in for a medical appointment and are under the age of 18, your parent/guardian should have already completed the consent forms before your appointment, and the school coordinator will have them.

How can the social worker help me?

The social worker meets with teens and young adults and provides therapy, mental health assessments, and support as well as advocacy in and out of the Teen Van. Additionally, the social worker connects patients to helpful community resources, presents in school classrooms on topics like sexual education and healthy relationships, facilitates group discussions on youth-related topics, and provides other supportive services as needed.

The social worker uses a strength-based, trauma-informed approach when working with patients. The social worker is trained in motivational interviewing, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. Patients experiencing anxiety, depression, and/or distress related to past trauma may meet with the social worker on a short-term or long-term basis to address their mental health needs.

How can the nutritionist help me?

The nutritionist provides comprehensive nutrition consultation services to help adolescents reach their health and wellness goals. Our services include nutrition assessment, education, goal setting, and meal planning. Our nutritionist provides culturally sensitive, individually tailored nutrition counseling utilizing the motivational interviewing technique. Our experienced nutritionist can help with the following conditions: general wellness, healthy eating on a budget, weight management, suboptimal growth, food allergies, GI disorders, sports nutrition, vegetarian/vegan diet, and disordered eating.

I’m worried that I might be pregnant. How can the Teen Van help?

The Teen Van can provide a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, the Teen Van will offer prenatal vitamins, talk to you about your options, and support you in taking next steps—including after your appointment on the Teen Van.

Can I volunteer with the Teen Van?

Learn more about volunteer opportunities with Stanford Children’s Health.

I would like to donate to the Teen Van. Where can I do so?

Please visit the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health website and specify that the donation is for the Teen Van. Thank you for your donation!