RHEP Foster Youth

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RHEPCON2023 Virtual Conference

Thinking Outside Of The Systems: (Re)Imagining Healthy Sexual Development For Youth In Foster Care

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

At this year’s #RHEPcon23, we explored “thinking outside of the systems” we exist within. Conference sessions discussed the current landscape of sexual & reproductive health, and reimagined what our systems would look like if they were truly made to serve all youth in foster care. Dr. Khiara M. Bridges headlined as keynote speaker. Sessions covered a wide range of topics including, the state of abortion, alternative birthing experiences, culturally specific programming & models of care, young parenthood, and more!

This conference was made possible in part through a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to the National Center for Youth Law to support the Reproductive Health Equity Project for Foster Youth (RHEP). We are grateful for their support.

For attendees, recordings will be available on Whova until May 15, 2023

Thank you Rio for the graphic recording! Check out Rio’s website here 

Session Highlights

Abortion and Gender-Affirming Care: How Do Recent Changes in Laws Impact Foster Youth Access to Care?

Speakers: Rebecca Gudeman and Luciana Svidler

The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade has pushed reproductive health rights to the forefront of health and political discourse. In addition, some states are waging an attack on trans youth and their families by trying to limit access to gender-affirming care. Even before these changes, youth in care faced additional barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive care. This workshop will review the landscape of newly enacted laws and proposed legislation impacting access to abortion and gender-affirming care across the country. We will talk about the specific implications of these laws on healthcare access for youth in care and how best to support youth access to the services and education they want and need.

Foster Youth Mental Health: Current Landscape and Accessing Medi-Cal Services

Speakers: Nancy Lam, Carly Myers, and Dana Paycao

This session provides an overview of the mental health of foster youth and former foster youth in California, focusing on current trends in mental wellbeing and how youth can access mental health services through California’s Medicaid program (“Medi-Cal”). We present data highlighting trends in youth mental health; and we will discuss what Medi-Cal mental health services are available, how youth can access them, and recent reforms that make it easier to access care.

Supporting Youth Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation Through Reproductive Experiences

Speakers: Maria Contreras, Alia Dewees, Chelsey Holzer, Angelica Zuniga

This session provides an understanding of the needs of youth experiencing commercial sexual exploitation who are also experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and who are seeking other reproductive care. Lived experience experts share practical tips to understand how trauma may manifest and how service providers can and should continue to support youth through these experiences.

Shifting From Trauma-informed to Trauma-responsive Engagement

Speakers: Theresa Reed 

Being trauma-informed is the first tool needed to engage with foster youth. Knowing and doing are not synonymous. To aid youth in their healthy sexual development, we need to be trauma-responsive doers. Learn how to put this knowledge into action by being responsive versus reactionary.

Artistic Performance

Rainbow Rainbow By Poetry Knows (Ze/Zir)​ follow Parker on TikTok and Instagram.

“The Impact Of Dobbs Keynote And Youth Panel”
Graphic Recording by Rio Holaday

“Thinking Outside The Systems: How Culturally Specific Services Impact Youth”
Graphic Recording by Rio Holaday

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