The rights for youth in foster care may be different in each state. Ask your caseworker about your rights in your state. If your rights are being violated, contact a caseworker, attorney, CASA or foster parent immediately.
As a youth in foster care, you have the right:*
- To know your rights in foster care, to receive a list of those rights in written form and to know how to file a complaint if your rights are being violated.
- To be told why you came into foster care and why you are still in foster care.
- To live in a safe and healthy home where treated with respect, with your own place to store your things and where you receive healthy food, adequate clothing, and appropriate personal hygiene products.
- To have personal belongings secure and transported with you.
- To have caring foster parents or caretakers who are properly trained, have received background checks and screenings, and who receive adequate support form the Agency to help ensure stability in the placement.
- To be placed in a home with your brothers and sisters when possible, and to maintain regular and unrestricted contact with siblings when separated (including help with transportation), unless ordered by the court.
- To attend school and participate in extracurricular, cultural, and personal enrichment activities.
- To have your privacy protected. You can expect confidentiality from the adults involved in your case.
- To be protected from physical, sexual, emotional or other abuse, including corporal punishment (hitting or spanking as a punishment) and being locked in a room (unless you are in a treatment facility).
- To receive medical, dental, vision and mental health services.
- To refuse to take medications, vitamins or herbs, unless prescribed by a doctor.
- To have an immediate visit after placement and have regular visits ongoing with biological parents and other relatives unless prohibited by court or unless you don’t want to.
- To make and receive confidential telephone calls and send and receive unopened mail, unless prohibited by court order.
- To have regular contact from and unrestricted access to social workers, attorneys, and advocates and to be allowed to have confidential conversations with such individuals.
- To be told by your social worker and your attorney about any changes in your case plan or placement and receive honest information about the decisions the Agency is making that affect your life.
- To attend religious services and activities of your choice and to preserve your cultural heritage. If possible your placement should be with a family member or someone from your community with similar religion, culture and/or heritage.
- To be represented by an attorney at law in administrative or judicial proceedings with access to fair hearing and court review of decisions, so that your best interest are safeguarded.
- To be involved, where appropriate, in the development of your case plan and to object to any of the provisions of the case plan during case reviews, court hearings and case planning conferences.
- To attend court and speak to a judge (at a certain age, usually 12) about what you want to have happen in your case.
- To have a plan for your future, including an emancipation plan if appropriate (for leaving foster care when you become an adult), and to be provided services to help you prepare to become a successful adult.
*Unless restricted by law or otherwise restricted by the court. This post isnot intended to provide legal notice, it is advised that you consult with an attorney for direction concerning legal rights in your specific situation.
Arizona revised Statute, Relating to child welfare and placement, HB2105 – 441R – S Ver., Bill of Rights for Children in Foster Care, National Foster Parents Association
Florida Statute 39.4085 Legislative findings and declaration of intent for goals for dependent children.National Center for Youth Law, California Foster Youth— your rights. (November 2002)
Casey National Center, Bill of Rights for Children in Foster Care,(August 2002) Answers, Maine Youth Advisory Team. http://www.ylat.org/publications/answers.pdf New Jersey Revised Statute 9:6B-4, Rights for Children placed outside the home. Your Rights in Foster Care, Lawyers for Children, New York. South Carolina Foster Child’s Bill of Rights, GOALL Youth Advisory Council.
The Real Deal, The National Youth in Care Network.Your Rights as a person placed with Growing Homes, Growing Home