These questions and answers are your rights, explained in a way that makes them easier to understand than when they are in legal language. They are organized into topics or areas, so you will be able to find answers to the questions that are on your mind.
You can find all 41 of your rights in legal language here.
Yes. You have the right to privately use email, text messages, or other electronic
communication unless the judge says you cannot. Your caregiver can temporarily take away this right as a consequence or if there is a safety risk.
Are the rights included on this website my only rights?
No. Youth in foster care have many more rights than the ones discussed on this website.
To find out about other rights you may have, please call the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson at 1-877-846-1602.
You have the right to keep your court paperwork private, but there may be exceptions if the judge has a legal reason to let someone else see it. Some people, such as your parents, legal guardians, or siblings, may be able to see your court reports if there is a legal reason for them to see it.
Yes. You have the right to attend religious services and activities of your choice. This includes, but is not limited to, participating in traditional Native American religious practices. Your caregiver and social worker must arrange for you to get to and from your place of worship.
No one can force or require you to attend any religious service/activity that you do not wish to,
Can I be treated differently because of my sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression?
No. You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. You have the right to get the same services, care, treatment, and benefits as all foster youth. No one can harass you, hurt you, or discriminate against you based on your actual or what someone thinks is your sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression while you are in foster care. If other youth are harassing you or threatening you, your caregiver and social worker/probation officer must do something to stop it. No one has the right to force you to change your sexual orientation or gender identity.
Can I contact or visit my friends or other people who are not in foster care?
Yes. You have the right to contact people who are not in foster care, like friends, mentors, teachers, religious members and others, if they are safe and appropriate. If you have people who are important to you, you should tell your caregiver, social worker/probation officer, and lawyer that you would like to see them.
You have the right to ask for certain people to attend your court hearing. You also have the right to say that you do not want certain people to attend your court hearing, but the judge can still let them stay if they think there is a good reason for them to be there.
Can I dress, style my hair. and use products that match my gender identity and expression?
Yes. You have the right to have clothes and dress in a way that matches your gender identity and expression. You have the right to cut and style your hair and have grooming and hygiene products (like soap, shampoo, deodorant, and lotion) that respect your gender identity and expression. Your caregiver must make sure you have the things listed above.
Yes. You have the right to get a drivers license. Your social worker/probation officer can sign your application without taking personal responsibility.
You can also have your application signed by a grandparent, sibling over the age of 18, aunt, uncle, or the foster parent you are living with. However, if any of these people sign, you will both be held responsible if you get in an accident.
Ask your caregiver and social worker/probation officer or your ILP program if they can help pay for driver’s education and driver’s training.
Can I get birth control or other types of protection?
Yes. At any age, you have the right to make your own decisions about birth control. You have the right to get or refuse, keep, and use birth control or protection of your choice including, condoms; birth control patch, pill, or shot; diaphragm; spermicide; dental dam; emergency contraception (Plan B/Morning-After Pill); and medications to prevent STIs.
You have the right to keep your birth control in your own private storage space. Condoms or birth control cannot be taken away as a punishment or due to your caregiver’s religious beliefs or personal feelings.
Can I get information about sexual and reproductive health care?
Yes. You have the right to get age appropriate, factual, and understandable medical information about reproductive health care, the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, and the prevention and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Can I get medical treatment to prevent, or treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV?
Yes. If you are 12 or older, you have the right to make your own decisions about preventing, testing, or treating sexually transmitted infections and HIV. You do NOT need permission from your parent, caregiver, social worker/probation officer, or any other adult.
Can I get tested or treated for a sexually transmitted infection without permission?
Yes. If you are 12 or older, you can get (or refuse) testing, care, or prevention for sexually transmitted infections. You do not need permission. You should talk to your doctor about why it’s important to get tested for STIs.
Can I have contact with my tribe and tribal members?
Yes. You have the right to get and make private calls from anyone you want unless a judge says there are limits on who you can talk to. Your social worker/probation officer must tell your caregiver in writing if the judge says there are people you cannot talk to. Your caregiver can temporarily take away your right to make or get some phone calls as a consequence. No one can ever stop you from calling your lawyer, social worker/probation officer, CASA, the Foster Care Ombudsperson, and Community Care Licensing.