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Know the Law

Child Welfare Agencies

When it comes to supporting the healthy sexual development of youth in foster care, county child welfare agencies have a legal duty to:
  1.  Use the reasonable and prudent parent standard to create normalcy and support the healthy sexual development of youth in foster care based on their individual need 
  2. Ensure youth in foster care receive health services to meet their medical and mental health needs 
  3. Ensure the rights in the Foster Care Bill of Rights are honored 
  4. Ensure that caseworkers receive SB 89 compliant sexual health training 
  5. Ensure that caseworkers are appropriately documenting their conversations about rights and access to sexual health education in the case plan and CWS/CMS as required by SB 89. 

Child Welfare Caseworkers

Caseworkers have specific duties related to supporting the healthy sexual development of youth and nonminor dependents in foster care. These include: 
Supporting Access to Healthy Sexual Development Information and Education by
  • Providing the youth with a copy of their foster youth rights upon entry into faster care and at least once every six months. 
  • Informing each youth age 10 and older of (1) their right to age appropriate, medically accurate information about reproductive and sexual health care, (2) their right to consent to and right to confidentiality in such services, and (3) how to access reproductive and sexual health services, at least once a year. 
  • Verifying and Connecting: verifying the youth has received sexual health education at least once in middle school and at least once in high school – and if they have not, connecting them to a state mandate compliant education program in the community. 
  • Documenting in the case plan that they have notified youth of their rights to access information and verified sexual health education annually.  
  • Where does it say this in the law? Click here 
  • How to document this in CWS/CMS? Click here
  • Need tools to support having these conversations?
  • For RHEP tool and sample scripts for age- and developmentally -appropriate conversations with youth, click for English, Spanish
Facilitating Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care by 
  • Ensuring youth are up to date on annual medical appointments  
  • Facilitating access to care 
  • Assisting in addressing identified barriers to care in a timely mannersuch as ensuring youth have transportation support, privacy in exam rooms, confidentiality, access to provider of choice, and access to gender affirming and trauma informed, culturally responsive care 
  • Where does it say this in the law? Click here 
  • For clinic referral resources, click here. 
  • For guidance on supporting gender affirming care, click here. 
  • For fast facts about the California Healthy Youth Act, click here.
Honoring privacy law by 
  • Documenting in the case plan a way that protects privacy 
  • Explaining the limits of privacy and respecting youth requests to limit disclosures of sensitive information about gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or sexual and reproductive health status. 
  • What is the applicable law? click here
  • For guidance on how to document sensitive information in CWS/CMS and a case plan, click here. 
  • For tips on talking to youth about confidentiality, click here. 
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