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Foster Youth Reproductive Justice

FosterCare (1)In May, we celebrate both National Foster Care Month as well as National Teen Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Month. This makes May the perfect time to call attention again to unintended pregnancy in foster youth and access to reproductive and sexual health care services and education.

Young women in foster care are far more likely to experience teen pregnancy and childbirth compared to their peers not in care, and critically, they are far more likely to say that these pregnancies were unintended or unwanted.  NCYL has an ongoing project to improve foster youth access to sexual and reproductive health services and education in California.  You can find out more about the important need for this project here. You can find out about related litigation here, and additional resources and information here. To support access to services and address legal questions, we have resources available for health care providers and other youth serving professionals at TeenHealthLaw.org, and we have resources for young people on our website Pregnantyouth.org.

The National Center for Youth Law is participating on the California Department of Social Services’ Healthy Sexual Development workgroup.  The group held its first meeting on February 25, 2016.  Over the next months, the workgroup will be developing a California state plan to address unplanned pregnancy in foster youth.  The plan will address effective strategies to prevent unplanned pregnancy for preteen and older teen foster youth and nonminor dependents, as well as the roles of foster caregivers and social service case workers in unplanned pregnancy prevention.  In addition to strategies, the plan will address education and training and how to involve foster youth.  The completed plan will be used to inform the agency’s regulation development process and may lead to issuance of best practices or other materials.

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