Foster Care

Ensure Youth in Foster Care Receive Whole-Health Care and Support

NCYL improves how children, youth, and their families are treated once the system is involved in their lives.

NCYL holds the foster care system accountable for providing youth with safe, stable, family-like placements close to their home communities and access to culturally competent health services, including behavioral,mental, and reproductive health services.

We also uphold children’s rights to connection to their families, including their parents, guardians, siblings and extended family. We believe that children who cannot be reunited with their families are entitled to care and support that prepares them to achieve the future they envision for themselves.

Sexual and reproductive health is essential to whole health 

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. NCYL’s Reproductive Health Equity Project for Foster Youth (RHEP) aims to normalize, support, and promote the bodily autonomy and healthy sexual development of youth in foster care. We provide resources so they can make confident, informed decisions about their health and we engage in policy advocacy so that youth experience the rights to which they are entitled. 

Youth in foster care face barriers to mental health services 

Many children and youth in foster care receive dangerously inadequate and / or inappropriate mental health care. Someare denied access to the mental health services they need. Others are prescribed psychotropic medications inappropriately or without proper oversight to ensure their safety or forced into institutionalized care that removes them from their families and supportive communities. 

NCYL has partnered with children and youth to bring impact litigation against states that have resulted in groundbreaking, statewide reforms, and has engaged in campaigns across the country to educate judges, lawyers, and youth about the proper use of psychotropic medications. We continue to pursue impact litigation to ensure the availability of appropriate mental health services for children in foster care.