Foster Children Bill of Rights and Foster Parent Bill of Rights are designed to inform foster children and foster parents of their rights within the child welfare system. Many children's bill of rights provide that they must be posted in a place where children will see them and include provisions requiring foster children to be informed about why they are in foster care and how the process will proceed. In addition, participation in extracurricular or community activities, efforts to maintain educational stability, access to guardians ad litem, access to mental, behavioral and physical health care, access to or communication with siblings and family members are major features of the foster children's bill of rights. Included in statute in 14 states is the requirement that foster parents use a reasonable and prudent parenting standard, particularly when making decisions regarding foster children's participation in extracurricular or other activities.
Foster Children's Bill of Rights have been enacted in 15 states and Puerto Rico and Foster Parent Bill of Rights have been enacted in 17 states. Also, during the 2014 legislative session, ten states introduced fifteen bills (six enacted) either seeking to enact a bill of rights or otherwise extending or defining the rights of foster children and parents including independent living services for older youth, educational consistency and enrollment, foster child input into evaluations of out-of-home care placements, and extracurricular activities.
New federal legislation, Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 (H.R. 4980), now requires state child welfare agencies to:
- Ensure that children in foster care age 14 or older participate in the development of, or revision to, his or her case plan which must describe the foster child’s rights.
View the statutes providing for Foster Children's Bill of Rights and Foster Parent's Bill of Rights below.
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About This NCSL Project
The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration. Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or email@example.com.