The Laws

California Foster Youth Rights

On this page, you’ll find the actual laws that tell you your rights in foster care. They are written in legal language, and that can be very hard to understand.

It is really important for you to know what your rights are, so we have created a list of questions and answers that explain your rights in a way that is easier to understand. You can find these questions and answers here.

16001.9. (a) All children placed in foster care, either voluntarily or after being adjudged a ward or dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300, 601, or 602, shall have the rights specified in this section. These rights also apply to nonminor dependents in foster care, except when they conflict with nonminor dependents’ retention of all their legal decision making authority as an adult. The rights are as follows:


To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where they are treated with respect. If the child is an Indian child, to live in a home that upholds the prevailing social and cultural standards of the child’s Indian community, including, but not limited to, family, social, and political ties.


To be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other abuse, corporal punishment, and exploitation.


To receive adequate and healthy food, adequate clothing, grooming and hygiene products, and an age-appropriate allowance. Clothing and grooming and hygiene products shall respect the child’s culture, ethnicity, and gender identity and expression.


To be placed in the least restrictive setting possible, regardless of age, physical health, mental health, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression, juvenile court record, or status as a pregnant or parenting youth, unless a court orders otherwise.


To be placed with a relative or nonrelative extended family member if an appropriate and willing individual is available.


To not be locked in any portion of their foster care placement, unless placed in a community treatment facility.


To have a placement that utilizes trauma-informed and evidence-based deescalation and intervention techniques, to have law enforcement intervention requested only when there is an imminent threat to the life or safety of a child or another person or as a last resort after other diversion and deescalation techniques have been utilized, and to not have law enforcement intervention used as a threat or in retaliation against the child.


To not be detained in a juvenile detention facility based on their status as a dependent of the juvenile court or the child welfare services department’s inability to provide a foster care placement. If they are detained, to have all the rights afforded under the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, and all applicable state and federal laws.


To have storage space for private use.


To be free from unreasonable searches of personal belongings.