RHEP Foster Youth

RHEP 2023 Virtual Conference

Save the date!
February 16, 2023

#RHEPCON23 will bring together an interdisciplinary community to share research, advocacy strategies, tools, stories, arts, and best practices designed to support the healthy sexual development of youth in foster care. Sexual and reproductive health intersects with and influences all aspects of the life of a young person in foster care, including their overall social-emotional wellbeing. No matter what sector you come from – education, workforce, housing, child welfare, health, or advocacy – knowing how to normalize and support the healthy sexual development of young people is an essential aspect of supporting them.

The 2023 conference will take place virtually on February 16th, 2023.

Call for Proposals!

Call for Proposals is now open! RHEP is seeking speakers and presenters for our third annual conference supporting the healthy sexual development of youth in foster care. Share your program, practices, or research with an interdisciplinary audience of over 500 professionals and young people at the 2023 Reproductive Health Equity Project (RHEP) Conference!

Proposals are due by October 14, 2022 at 5:00 pm PST. Proposals can be electronically submitted. You are welcome to submit more than one proposal. To apply or for more information, look below!

The Reproductive Health Equity Project for Foster Youth brings together youth in foster care and the agencies that serve them to promote systems that normalize, support, and promote the bodily autonomy and healthy sexual development of youth in foster care. Health, education, and child welfare systems have failed to reach, engage, and guide youth in foster care across a sexual and reproductive health service journey that meets their needs, circumstances, and goals. This gap fuels disparities in sexual and reproductive health. RHEP works to change this by uplifting youth voices, supporting policy change, creating connections between systems, and piloting innovative programs designed in collaboration with stakeholders and youth to better meet their needs–because healthy development is on all of us!

We envision a future in which the systems serving youth have imbedded practices, tools, and cultures designed in partnership with young people that actively normalize, support and promote the bodily autonomy and healthy sexual development of youth in state custody and care. A future in which youth in the foster care system feel seen, empowered and supported in their health and their healthy sexual development. Where they know they have the right to healthy relationships, healthy sexual development and bodily autonomy, and know how, and are able, to realize their sexual and reproductive health goals.

  • A Breakout Session is a 60-minute, presentation that can include audience interaction and/or discussion. Breakout sessions should enhance the skills and knowledge of a multidisciplinary audience. We are hoping to provide a mix of introductory and advanced content. Sessions that incorporate youth voice and youth presenters are highly encouraged.

  • An Artists’ Session is a 10-30 minute performance or presentation that includes an artistic medium (music, visual arts, poetry, spoken word, etc.) This session can include a discussion, but it is not mandatory. The purpose of Artists’ Sessions are to provide a healing, safe space for attendees to decompress, process and/or be inspired.

  • A Main Stage Session is a short presentation or performance for the entire conference audience. Do you have a powerful and engaging story or perspective to share that aligns with our conference themes? We encourage you to submit a proposal to be one of our main stage speakers by offering a Main Stage proposal.
  • “Head” Sessions: These sessions will offer an opportunity to learn about current research, data, law, policy, and advocacy related to supporting healthy sexual development, sexual and reproductive health and education access, and family construction for youth in foster care. While all proposals are welcome, proposals that focus on California law, policy, and advocacy will have preference.

  • “Hands” Sessions: These sessions will offer an opportunity to learn about new programs, services, training, and other innovative tools and supports. Sessions may focus on supports for the adults and systems working with youth or for young people.

  • “Heart” Sessions: These sessions will offer the opportunity to think about and re-envision traditional narratives about what it means to support young people’s healthy sexual development and family construction. They offer opportunities to hear perspectives from traditionally marginalized communities and think about the stereotypes, myths and stories that influence who we are and what we do. Proposals that center the expert perspectives of young people from traditionally marginalized communities and/or with lived experience in foster care will have preference.

Session themes based on the Head, Heart and Hands framework, developed by Just Communities for talking about and taking action on equity.

  • Experiences, needs, and interests of youth who identify as LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, young parents, immigrants, or victims and survivors of violence or trafficking, –and programming/policy/practices designed to meet their needs.
  • Youth centered policy, programs and practices
  • Healing centered policy, programs and practices
  • How to foster trusting and healthy relationships and communication between adults and youth
  • Reproductive health access for systems involved youth in a changing reproductive and sexual health legal landscape

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