YOU HAVE RIGHTS!

If you are foster youth in California, you have rights while you are in foster care under Welfare and Institutions Code 16001.9

If you are a member of a Native tribe, you have additional rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Your Foster Youth Bill of Rights

Your rights related to your care, placement, and services in foster care.

Your Mental Health Rights

Your rights related to getting mental health services, medication, and counseling.

Your Rights to Participate in Activities

You have a right to participate in extracurricular, cultural, racial, ethnic, personal enrichment, and social activities, including, but not limited to, access to computer technology and the internet, consistent with the child’s age, maturity, developmental level, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.

Your Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

Your rights you related to pregnancy, birth control, family planning, and getting sexual and reproductive health services

Your Education Rights

Your rights related to attending school, school discipline, participating in extracurricular activities, and graduating from high school.

Foster Youth Bill of Rights

Important Things to Know

Check below for a list of important contacts and things you should know when it comes to your bill of rights!

If you don't feel safe or comfortable in your foster home...

contact Community Care Licensing (CCL). 

Phone: 

1-844-LET-US-NO

(1-844-538-8766)

Email: 

letusno@dss.ca.gov

CCL is the division under the California Department of Social Services that is responsible for giving licenses to foster care placements and other community care places. They do investigations and give citations whenever a home is breaking licensing laws and regulations or not supporting your health, safety, and personal rights as a foster youth.

Remember – you have the right to call CCL at anytime (WIC 16001.9(a)(8)), and you cannot get in trouble for making a complaint!

If you want to learn "adulting" skills to be independent...

ask your social worker or probation officer about Independent Living Program (ILP) classes. ILP Classes help you learn self-sufficiency skills like coping with stress, managing money, and exploring your career interests.

If you are a former foster youth, you can still get services from ILP. Contact your county’s ILP coordinator using this link: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Foster-Care/Independent-Living-Program

You can also contact the CDSS Transitional Age Youth Policy Unit if you have any questions or need help.

Phone:

(916) 651-7465 

E-mail:

TAYPolicy@dss.ca.gov

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS YOURSELF AND BE RESPECTED FOR WHO YOU ARE.

  • You have the right to attend religious services and activities of your choice.
  • You have the right to have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.
  • You have the right to be placed in out-of-home care according to your gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in your court or child welfare records.
  • You have the right to have caregivers and child welfare personnel who have received instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in out-of-home care.
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YOU HAVE RIGHT TO STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE.

  • You have the right to contact family members, unless prohibited by court order, and social workers, attorneys, foster youth advocates and supporters, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and probation officers.
  • You have the right to visit and contact brothers and sisters, unless prohibited by court order.
  • You have the right to contact the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services or the State Foster Care Ombudsperson regarding violations of rights, to speak to representatives of these offices confidentially, and to be free from threats or punishment for making complaints.
  • You have the right to have social contacts with people outside of the foster care system, including teachers, church members, mentors, and friends.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED TO BE HEALTHY.

  • You have the right to receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health services.
  • You have the right to be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances, unless authorized by a physician.
  • You have the right have access to age-appropriate, medically accurate information about reproductive health care, the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections at 12 years of age or older.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE LIKE YOUR PEERS WHO ARE NOT IN CARE.

  • You have to right to make and receive confidential telephone calls and send and receive unopened mail, unless prohibited by court order.
  • You have the right to not be locked in a room, building, or facility premises, unless placed in a community treatment facility.
  • You have the right to have storage space for private use.
  • You have the right to be free from unreasonable searches of personal belongings.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN A SAFE AND HEALTHY HOME AND BE FREE FROM HARM.

  • You have the right to live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where you are treated with respect.
  • You have the right to be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other abuse, or corporal punishment.
  • You have the right to receive adequate and healthy food, adequate clothing, and, for youth in group homes, an allowance.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE INVOLVED IN YOUR CASE PLAN AND SPEAK UP IN COURT.

  • You have the right to attend court hearings and speak to the judge.
  • You have the right to be involved in the development of your own case plan and plan for permanent placement. This involvement includes, but is not limited to, the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of your gender identity.
  • You have the right to review your own case plan and plan for permanent placement, if you are 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement, and to receive information about your out-of-home placement and case plan, including being told of changes to the plan.
  • You have the right to the confidentiality of all juvenile court records consistent with existing law.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO TO SCHOOL AND DEVELOP YOUR INTERESTS.

  • You have the right to attend school and participate in extracurricular, cultural, and personal enrichment activities, consistent with the child’s age and developmental level, with minimal disruptions to school attendance and educational stability.
 
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YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO LEARN INDEPENDENCE AND BECOME A CAPABLE ADULT.

  • You have the right to maintain an emancipation bank account and manage personal income, consistent with the child’s age and developmental level, unless prohibited by the case plan.
  • You have the right to work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level, consistent with state law.
  • You have the right to attend Independent Living Program classes and activities if he or she meets the age requirements.
  • At 16 years of age or older, you have the right to have access to existing information regarding the educational options available, including, but not limited to, the coursework necessary for vocational and postsecondary educational programs, and information regarding financial aid for postsecondary education.

Mental Health Rights

Important Things to Know

Check below for a list of important contacts and things you should know when it comes to your mental health rights!

If you want to change or stop taking your court-ordered medication...

tell your lawyer, social worker, probation officer, and/or CASA about how you feel.

Ask a trusted adult to fill out a JV-222 on your behalf so that they can share their opinion in court.

You can share your opinion too! Fill out a JV-218 if you want.

If you have any questions about how to fill out these forms, you can get help from JV-217-INFO.

If you want to get Medi-Cal or were suddenly dropped from Medi-Cal...

contact the California Medi-Cal Ombudsperson. If you are in foster care at age 18 or older, you are eligible for Medi-Cal until you are 26 years old, no matter how much money you make. If you’re having trouble with enrollment, tell the Medi-Cal Ombudsperson, and they can help you!

Phone:

1-888-452-8609

E-mail:

MMCDOmbudsmanOffice@dhcs.ca.gov

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW AND HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.

  • You have the right to help make all the decisions regarding your mental health, including treatment and services that meet your needs.
  • You have the right to have the risks and benefits of the medication explained to you in a way you can understand. This includes understanding how your medication may interact with other medications or food.
  • You have the right to see and get a copy of your court records.
  • At the age of 12, you have the right to see and get a copy of your medical and mental health records, unless a doctor or medical professional believes that it would be detrimental to me. 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRIVATELY TALK TO YOUR DOCTORS AND YOUR MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS.

  • You have the right to contact your doctor and mental health providers. 
  • After your 12th birthday, you have the right to confidentiality when you talk to your therapist of doctor.
  • You have the right to confidentiality regarding your medical information and diagnoses. This information can only be shared with authorized individuals in order to help me access and obtain treatment.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACCESS MENTAL HEATH SERVICES.

  • You have the right to receive mental health services in California.
  • You have the right to promptly receive mental health services and treatment.
  • You have that right to promptly receive mental health services in a placement that meets your needs.
  • After your 12th birthday, if your are mature enough, you have the right to seek and consent to mental health counseling and treatment on your own (except psychotropic medication).
  • You have the right to ask for mental health services, including reassessment of your diagnosis and psychotropic medications.
  • If you are in foster care on your 18th birthday, you have the right to continue receiving health care, including mental health services through Medi-Cal until age 26, regardless of my income level.
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YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE OR REFUSE TO TAKE MEDICATION.

  • You have the right to only take medication or other chemical substances that are prescribed by a doctor.
  • You have the right to tell your doctor that you disagree with any medication they recommend to you.
  • You have the right to tell the judge you disagree with a psychotropic medication being prescribed to you. To do so, you should ask your lawyer to fill out the JV-222 form.
  • You have the right to work with your doctor to safely stop taking your medications.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

Important Things to Know

Check below for a list of important contacts and things you should know when it comes to your sexual and reproductive health rights!

If you have any questions about sex, consent, healthy relationships, gender identity, or sexual orientation...

talk to a trusted adult, and check out this helpful resource page using this link: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Foster-Care/Healthy-Sexual-Development-Project/Resources-for-Youth

If you want to get Medi-Cal or were suddenly dropped from Medi-Cal...

contact the California Medi-Cal Ombudsperson. If you are in foster care at age 18 or older, you are eligible for Medi-Cal until you are 26 years old, no matter how much money you make. If you’re having trouble with enrollment, tell the Medi-Cal Ombudsperson, and they can help you!

Phone:

1-888-452-8609

E-mail:

MMCDOmbudsmanOffice@dhcs.ca.gov

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW AND HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH.

  • You have the right to have your personal rights explained and provided to you in a manner that you understand.
  • You have the right to make your decisions about the following kinds of care without adult permission:
    • Female or male birth control or protection, pregnancy testing, and prenatal (pregnancy) care at any age
    • Abortion at any age
    • Health care because of a rape or sexual assault at any age
    • Health care to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV at age 12+
    • Testing and treatment for STIs and HIV at age 12+
  • You have the right to choose your own health care provider for sexual and reproductive health care, just as long as the provider is covered by your Medi-Cal or other approved insurance.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRIVATELY TALK TO YOUR DOCTORS AND YOUR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROVIDERS.

  • You have the right to get the information you want about sexual health care. You can ask your doctor or another trusted adult about:
    • Reproductive and sexual health care​
    • Ways to prevent pregnancy and pregnancy testing
    • Abortion
    • Prenatal (pregnancy) care, like monthly or weekly doctor visits during pregnancy
    • How to prevent and treat STIs, including HIV medication and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination
  • When you get sexual or reproductive health care, or ask your doctor questions about sex, your doctor cannot share that information with your parents, caregivers, group home, social worker, or probation officer without your written consent. There are a few small exceptions.
  • You have the right to ask your doctor to explain “privacy” to you and who can and cannot get your medical information before you get any health care.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACCESS SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES.

  • You have the right to get health care, including reproductive and sexual health care.
  • Your caregiver, group home, or social worker must help you with transportation to get reproductive and sexual health care services in a timely manner.
  • You have the right to fair and equal access to services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits.
  • You have the right to not be treated unfairly, harassed, or discriminated against because of your sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, or other factors like race, religions, ethnic group, identification, ancestry, national origin, color, or mental or physical disability.
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YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET, KEEP, AND USE BIRTH CONTROL.

  • You have the right to get, have, and use the birth control or protection of your choice in your placement, including:
    • Condoms, including the female condom​
    • Diaphragm
    • Birth control patch, pill, or shot
    • Spermicide
    • Dental dam
    • Emergency contraception (morning after pill)
    • Medications to prevent STIs
  • You have the right to keep your personal items, like birth control, in your own private storage space. Condoms, or other birth control and protection, cannot be taken away from you as a punishment or due to your caregiver’s religious beliefs or personal feelings.
  • You have the right to be free from unreasonable searches of your belongings.

Education Rights

Important Things to Know

Check below for a list of important contacts and things you should know when it comes to your education rights!

If you want to contact your foster youth education liasion...

talk to a trusted adult, and check out this helpful resource page using this link: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Foster-Care/Healthy-Sexual-Development-Project/Resources-for-Youth

Important Educational Contacts to Know

YOUR EDUCATION RIGHTS HOLDER
Your education rights holder makes decisions about your education and where you go to school. They have to think about your best interests and your educational stability. They also have to pick a school that is the least restrictive and will best support your academic success.

YOUR FOSTER YOUTH EDUCATIONAL LIAISON
Your foster youth educational liaison makes sure you get enrolled and checked out of schools. They also help with school transfers, credit transfers, grade transfers, and record transfers. Your school district or your county’s office of education assigns them to you.

YOUR SOCIAL WORKER
Your social worker helps make a case plan that promotes your school stability and educational goals. During court hearings, your social worker reports any information that relates to or affects your education. If you have a disability, they also talk about your educational needs or the services you need to help you learn.

YOUR CAREGIVER
Your caregiver is responsible for taking care of you. They are supposed to create a safe, stable, and loving home for you. They are also meant to support your school stability and educational success.

YOUR LAWYER
Your lawyer is your representative in court. They are supposed to hep you understand foster care laws and be your legal advocate. If you get in trouble at school and are about to get suspended or expelled, your lawyer represents you during the hearing.

YOUR TEACHER
Your teacher helps you reach your educational goals. They help you access services and resources, like tutoring or special education, and they work with you to make sure you can understand school lessons and complete your school assignments. If you have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP), they are part of the IEP team.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW AND HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION.

  • You have the right to access your school records if you are 16 years or older or have finished 10th grade.
  • Your social worker/probation officer and education rights holder can access your school records as well.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN SCHOOL AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.

  • You have the right to participate in any activities available at your new school, such as sports teams, tutoring, or after school clubs, even if you miss a tryout or sign-up deadline.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PARTIAL CREDITS IF YOU ARE A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.

  • If you change schools during the school year, you have a right to partial credits in all classes that you are passing when you leave your old school, even if you do not complete the entire class.
  • After you change schools, your new school must accept the partial credits issued by your old school.
  • After you change schools, you have the right to be enrolled in the same or similar classes you were enrolled in at your last school.
  • You cannot be forced to retake a class or part of a class that you have already completed with a passing grade, if it would make you off-track for high school graduation.
  • You have the right to take or retake any class that you need to go to a California State University or University of California.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET SUPPORT SO YOU CAN GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL.

  • You have the right to stay in high school for a fifth year to complete your school district graduation requirements, even if you are over 18.
  • If you are behind on your credits, and you transferred schools after 10th grade, you may be eligible to graduate under AB 167/216 by completing only the state graduation requirements (130 credits in specific classes) instead of your school district’s requirements.
  • If you are eligible, the decision of whether to graduate under AB 167/216 is made by your education rights holder.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN IN YOUR SCHOOL OF ORIGIN.

  • You have the right to stay in the same school after you move to a new foster care placement. Your “school of origin” can be:
    • The school you attended when you first entered foster care​
    • The school you most recently attended
    • Any school you attended in the last 15 months that you feel connected to
  • Your school district must work with you, your education rights holder, your caregiver, and your social worker or probation officer to develop a plan to transport you to your school or origin
  • If you are transitioning from elementary school to middle school or from middle school to high school, you have the right to transition to the same as your classmates.
  • If there is any disagreement about which school you will attend, you have the right to stay in your school of origin until the disagreement is resolved.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO IMMEDIATE SCHOOL ENROLLMENT.

  • You have the right to immediately enroll in your regular home school after you move placements.
  • You cannot be forced to attend a continuation school or other alternative education program, such as independent study, even if you are behind in credits or have discipline problems at school.
  • You have the right to immediately enroll in school and begin attending classes, even if you do not have the paperwork you would normally need for enrollment *such as your birth certificate, transcript, or IEP), or you did not check check out of your previous school.
  • Your previous school must send your education records to your new school after you enroll.
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YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO NOT BE UNFAIRLY DISCIPLINED.

  • Your grade cannot be lowered because you were absent from school for a court hearing, placement change, or a court-related activity.
  • You cannot be suspended for more than 5 school days in a row or for more than 20 days in a school year.
  • You have a right to be told why you are being suspended and the right to provide your version of events and evidence before you are suspended, unless there is an emergency. If the behavior for which you are being suspended could subject you to criminal charges, you should consult with your education rights holder or attorney before providing an oral or written statement to the school or police.
  • Your attorney and social worker must be invited to a meeting before your suspension can be extended beyond 5 days and a suspension can only be extended if you are being considered for expulsion.
  • You have a right to a formal hearing, and to be represented by an attorney at that hearing, before you are expelled.
  • If you are facing a possible expulsion, your attorney and social worker must be notified. If you are in special education, your attorney and social worker must be invited to a meeting to decide whether your behavior was related to your disability.
Toll-free hotline
1-877-846-1602
fosteryouthhelp@dss.ca.gov
 
MS 8-13-25
744 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814