Foster Parents Rights ~ Foster Children's Bill of Rights
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Foster Children's Bill of Rights

State

Bill/Statute

Summary/Language

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-529; 2009 Ariz. Sess. Laws, SB 1209, Chap. 159

 

Establishes a list of rights granted to all children in foster care, and additional rights for foster children older than age 16.

A.  A child in foster care has the following rights:

1.  To appropriate care and treatment in the least restrictive setting available that can meet the child's needs according to the best judgment of the foster parent.

2.  To live in a safe, healthy and comfortable placement where the child can receive reasonable protection from harm and appropriate privacy for personal needs and where the child is treated with respect.

3.  To know why the child is in foster care and what will happen to the child and to the child's family, including siblings, and case plans.

4.  Whenever possible, the child should be placed with a foster family that can accommodate the child’s communication needs.

5.  To be disciplined in a manner that is appropriate to the child's level of maturity.

6.  To attend community, school and religious services and activities of the child's choice to the extent that it is appropriate for the child, as planned and discussed with the child's placement worker and caseworker and based on caregiver ability if transportation is available through a responsible party.

7. To go to school and receive an education that fits the child's age and individual needs.

8. To training in personal care, hygiene and grooming.

9. To clothing that fits comfortably and is adequate to protect the child against natural elements such as rain, snow, wind, cold and sun.

10. To have personal possessions at home that are not offensive to the foster family and to acquire additional possessions within reasonable limits, as planned and discussed with the child's foster parent, placement worker and caseworker, and based on caregiver ability.

11. To personal space, in the foster home preferably, in the child's bedroom for storing clothing and belongings.

12. To healthy foods in healthy portions that are appropriate for the child's age.

13. To comply with any approved visitation plan, and to have any restrictions explained to the child in a manner and level of details deemed age appropriate by the foster parent in agreement with the caseworker and documented in the child's record.

14. If the child is six years of age or older, to receive contact information for the child's caseworker, attorney or advocate and to speak with them in private if necessary.

15. To participate in age appropriate child's service planning and permanency planning meetings and to be given a copy or summary of each service plan and service plan review. The child may request someone to participate on the child's behalf or to support the child in this participation.

16. To attend the child's court hearing and speak to the judge.

17. To have the child's records and personal information kept private and discussed only when it is about the child's care except the foster parent shall have full access to the records to determine if the child will be successful in the home. During the foster placement, if the foster parent requests to view the record upon experiencing problems with the child's adjustment, the full record shall be made available for viewing by the foster parent.

18. To be free of unnecessary or excessive medication.

19. To receive emotional, mental health or chemical dependency treatment separately from adults who are receiving services, as planned and discussed with the child's placement worker and caseworker, as is financially reasonable for the foster parent.

20. To report a violation of personal rights specified in this section without fear of punishment, interference, coercion or retaliation, except that an appropriate level of punishment may be applied if the child is proven to have maliciously or wrongfully accused the foster parent.

21. To be informed in writing of the name, address, telephone number and purpose of the Arizona protection and advocacy system for disability assistance.

22. To understand and have a copy of the rights listed in this section.

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 9-28-901 through 903; Ark Stat. Ann. § 9-28-1002-1003; 2007 Ark. Laws, SB 955, Chap. 725

 

Sec. 1. Creates the Foster Parent Support Act of 2007 to support and aid foster parents to ensure the safety of foster parents’ families.

Sec. 2. Establishes the “Safeguards for Children in Foster Care Act” to ensure that the foster child is treated with nurturance and respect; cherished by a family of his or her own; heard and involved in decisions; involved with his or her birth family (if appropriate), friends, teachers and relatives; allowed access to his or her caseworker and an attorney ad litem; in receipt of appropriate education, training and preparation for citizenship; in receipt of quality child welfare services, individualized care and notification of changes; and provided with a plan for the future.

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 9-27-103 (REPEALED); 2005 Ark. Laws, HB 1710, Act 1255

Declares legislative intent that children in foster care should have continuity of educational services, shall be assisted so that they remain in their schools, shall be placed in the least restrictive educational setting, and shall have the same access to academic resources, services and extracurricular activities as all other children. Recommends that teachers, representatives from the departments of human services and education, circuit courts, attorneys, court-appointed special advocates, service providers, parents and guardians work together to ensure children’s educational continuity. Requires every school district to identify a foster care liaison to ensure timely school enrollment of foster children, assist foster children when transferring schools, and expedite the transfer of school records. Requires the department to provide information to the school on health and safety issues affecting foster children. Requires the school district to recognize the rights of foster parents when making educational decisions for children. States that a foster child’s grades may not be lowered because of absences from school due to a change in the child’s school enrollment or because of a child’s attendance at dependency-neglect court proceedings or court-ordered counseling or treatment.

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. §9-28-113

Continuity of educational services to foster children

(a)  (1)  (A) It is the intent of the General Assembly that each child in foster care is:
(i) Entitled to the same opportunities to meet the academic achievement standards to which all children are held;
(ii) Assisted so that the child can remain in his or her current school;
(iii) Placed in the least restrictive educational placement; and
(iv) Given the same access to academic resources, services, and extracurricular enrichment activities as all other children.
(B) Decisions regarding the education of a child in foster care shall be based on what is in the best interest of the child.

California

California Welfare and Institutions Code §361.2 (k); California 2003 AB408

(k) (1) When an agency has placed a child with a relative caregiver, a non-relative extended family member, a licensed foster family home, or a group home, the agency shall ensure placement of the child in a home that, to the fullest extent possible, best meets the day-to-day needs of the child. A home that best meets the day-to-day needs of the child shall satisfy all of the following criteria:

   (A) The child's caregiver is able to meet the day-to-day health, safety, and well-being needs of the child.

   (B) The child's caregiver is permitted to maintain the least restrictive and most family-like environment that serves the day-to-day needs of the child.

   (C) The child is permitted to engage in reasonable, age-appropriate day-to-day activities that promote the most family-like environment for the foster child.

   (2) The foster child's caregiver shall use a reasonable and prudent parent standard, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision

(a) of Section 362.04, to determine day-to-day activities that are age-appropriate to meet the needs of the child. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a child's caregiver to permit the child to engage in day-to-day activities that carry an unreasonable risk of harm, or subject the child to abuse or neglect.

California

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 362.05; California 2003 AB408

(a) Every child adjudged a dependent child of the juvenile court shall be entitled to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. No state or local regulation or policy may prevent, or create barriers to, participation in those activities. Each state and local entity shall ensure that private agencies that provide foster care services to dependent children have policies consistent with this section and that those agencies promote and protect the ability of dependent children to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. A group home administrator, a facility manager, or his or her responsible designee, and a caregiver, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 362.04, shall use a reasonable and prudent parent standard, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 362.04, in determining whether to give permission for a child residing in foster care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. A group home administrator, a facility manager, or his or her responsible designee, and a caregiver shall take reasonable steps to determine the appropriateness of the activity in consideration of the child's age, maturity, and developmental level.

   (b) A group home administrator or a facility manager, or his or her responsible designee, is encouraged to consult with social work or treatment staff members who are most familiar with the child at the group home in applying and using the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

California

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 16001.9, ACR 58, Res. Chap. 150

 

Recognizes that the rights of foster children are critical to ensuring their well-being. Encourages various departments, agencies and associations to develop practices to help foster youth understand their rights and available resources.

 

In 2001, California enacted the following bill of rights along with a provision to its Health and Safety Code requiring that foster care providers must give every school-age child and his/her authorized representative an age-appropriate orientation and an explanation of the child's rights. Furthermore, any facility licensed to care for six or more children in foster care must post those rights in the form of posters provided by the State Foster Care Ombudsperson (Section 1530.91). The rights are listed in the Welfare and Institutions Code (Section 16001.9) as:

 

1. To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where he or she is treated with respect.

2. To be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other abuse, or corporal punishment.

3. To receive adequate and healthy food, adequate clothing, and, for youth in group homes, an allowance.

4. To receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health services.

5. To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances, unless authorized by a physician.

6. To contact family members, unless prohibited by court order, and social workers, attorneys, foster youth advocates and supporters, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and probation officers.

7. To visit and contact brothers and sisters, unless prohibited by court order.

8. To contact the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services or the State Foster Care Ombudsperson regarding violations of rights, to speak to representatives of these offices confidentially, and to be free from threats or punishment for making complaints.

9. To make and receive confidential telephone calls and send and receive unopened mail, unless prohibited by court order.

10. To attend religious services and activities of his or her choice.

11. To maintain an emancipation bank account and manage personal income, consistent with the child's age and developmental level, unless prohibited by the case plan.

12. To not be locked in any room, building, or facility premises, unless placed in a community treatment facility.

13. To attend school and participate in extracurricular, cultural, and personal enrichment activities, consistent with the child's age and developmental level.

14. To work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level that is consistent with state law.

15. To have social contacts with people outside of the foster care system, such as teachers, church members, mentors, and friends.

16. To attend Independent Living Program classes and activities if he or she meets age requirements.

17. To attend court hearings and speak to the judge.

18. To have storage space for private use.

19. To review his or her own case plan if he or she is over 12 years of age and to receive information about his or her out-of-home placement and case plan, including being told of changes to the plan.

20. To be free from unreasonable searches of personal belongings.

21. To confidentiality of all juvenile court records consistent with existing law.

22. To have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.

23. At 16 years of age or older, to have access to existing information regarding the educational options available, including, but not limited to, the coursework necessary for vocational and postsecondary educational programs, and information regarding financial aid for postsecondary education.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 19-7-101 through 19-7-103; 2011 Colo. Session Laws, SB 120, Chap. 102

 

Establishes certain protections for the rights of youth in foster care, except for those in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections or a state mental hospital. These include freedom from administration of prescription medication unless authorized by a physician; promotion of school stability that presumes a youth will remain in his or her current school at the time of placement, unless remaining in that school is not in the child’s best interests; and freedom to maintain an emancipation bank account. To help protect youth against identity theft, the court shall ensure that each youth in foster care who is age 16 to 18 receives a free credit report. In addition, foster parents and group home parents must make reasonable efforts to allow a youth in their care to participate in extracurricular, cultural, educational, work-related and personal enrichment activities.

Connecticut

Conn. Stat. Ann. 17a-10a

Sibling Bill of Rights

(a) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall ensure that a child placed in the care and custody of the commissioner pursuant to an order of temporary custody or an order of commitment is provided visitation with such child’s parents and siblings, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

(b) The commissioner shall ensure that such child’s visits with his or her parents shall occur as frequently as reasonably possible, based upon consideration of the best interests of the child, including the age and developmental level of the child, and shall be sufficient in number and duration to ensure continuation of the relationship.

(c) If such child has an existing relationship with a sibling and is separated from such sibling as a result of intervention by the commissioner including, but not limited to, placement in a foster home or in the home of a relative, the commissioner shall, based upon consideration of the best interests of the child, ensure that such child has access to and visitation rights with such sibling throughout the duration of such placement. In determining the number, frequency and duration of such visits, the commissioner shall consider the best interests of each sibling, given each child’s age and developmental level and the continuation of the sibling relationship.

(d) The commissioner shall include in each child’s plan of treatment information relating to the factors considered in making visitation determinations pursuant to this section. If the commissioner determines that such visits are not in the best interests of the child or that the number, frequency or duration of the visits requested by the child’s attorney or guardian ad litem is not in the best interests of the child, the commissioner shall include the reasons for such determination in the child’s plan of treatment.

Delaware

2015 HB 46

 

Del. Code tit. 13 § 2522

§2522 Rights of children in DSCYF custody.

(a) All dependent, neglected and abused children in DSCYF custody under this chapter shall have the following rights in accordance with his or her age and developmental level, unless prohibited by Court order:

(1) To be informed of the reason they have been placed in DSCYF custody.

(2) To receive water, food, shelter, and clothing that is necessary and appropriate for their age and individual needs.

(3) To be free from abuse or neglect.

(4) To have assistance in obtaining access to medical, vision, and dental treatment that is necessary and appropriate for their age and individual needs; and to have assistance in obtaining access to necessary and appropriate mental health and substance abuse treatment if the need for such treatment is identified.

(5) To receive appropriate placement services.

(6) To contact and visit with their parents, siblings in DSCYF custody, and other individuals, including their own child in DSCYF custody. If such contact or visitation is inappropriate, the child has the right to be notified of the reason for that decision.

(7) To have assistance in obtaining access to an education, at their school of origin when feasible, with minimal disruption to their education when they are placed in DSCYF custody.

(8) To participate in the formation and maintenance of their foster care service, independent living and transition plans, where applicable.

(9) To have regular and meaningful access to and have confidential contact with their caseworker and attorney or court-appointed special advocate.

(10) To be notified, attend, and participate in court hearings and to speak to the judge regarding any decision that may have an impact on their life.

(11) To have their confidentiality protected as required by state and federal law.

(12) To receive independent living services and supports beginning at age 16 if eligible and if resources are available.

(13) To report any violation of their rights or the violation of the rights of others without being punished or retaliated against for such reporting.

(14) To receive a copy of the rights set forth in this section.

(b) Any child aggrieved by a violation of this section may motion the Court, through an attorney or court-appointed special advocate, for appropriate equitable relief.

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 39.4085

Provides the following rights for children in "shelter or foster care:"

1. To receive a copy of this act and have it fully explained to them when they are placed in the custody of the department.

2. To enjoy individual dignity, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and the protection of their civil and legal rights as persons in the custody of the state.

3. To have their privacy protected, have their personal belongings secure and transported with them, and, unless otherwise ordered by the court, have uncensored communication, including receiving and sending unopened communications and having access to a telephone.

4. To have personnel providing services who are sufficiently qualified and experienced to assess the risk children face prior to removal from their homes and to meet the needs of the children once they are in the custody of the department.

5. To remain in the custody of their parents or legal custodians unless and until there has been a determination by a qualified person exercising competent professional judgment that removal is necessary to protect their physical, mental, or emotional health or safety.

6. To have a full risk, health, educational, medical and psychological screening and, if needed, assessment and testing upon adjudication into foster care; and to have their photograph and fingerprints included in their case management file.

7. To be referred to and receive services, including necessary medical, emotional, psychological, psychiatric, and educational evaluations and treatment, as soon as practicable after identification of the need for such services by the screening and assessment process.

8. To be placed in a home with no more than one other child, unless they are part of a sibling group.

9. To be placed away from other children known to pose a threat of harm to them, either because of their own risk factors or those of the other child.

10. To be placed in a home where the shelter or foster caregiver is aware of and understands the child's history, needs, and risk factors.

11. To be the subject of a plan developed by the counselor and the shelter or foster caregiver to deal with identified behaviors that may present a risk to the child or others.

12. To be involved and incorporated, where appropriate, in the development of the case plan, to have a case plan which will address their specific needs, and to object to any of the provisions of the case plan.

13. To receive meaningful case management and planning that will quickly return the child to his or her family or move the child on to other forms of permanency.

14. To receive regular communication with a caseworker, at least once a month, which shall include meeting with the child alone and conferring with the shelter or foster caregiver.

15. To enjoy regular visitation, at least once a week, with their siblings unless the court orders otherwise.

16. To enjoy regular visitation with their parents, at least once a month, unless the court orders otherwise.

17. To receive a free and appropriate education; minimal disruption to their education and retention in their home school, if appropriate; referral to the child study team; all special educational services, including, where appropriate, the appointment of a parent surrogate; the sharing of all necessary information between the school board and the department, including information on attendance and educational progress.

18. To be able to raise grievances with the department over the care they are receiving from their caregivers, caseworkers, or other service providers.

19. To be heard by the court, if appropriate, at all review hearings.

20. To have a guardian ad litem appointed to represent, within reason, their best interests and, where appropriate, an attorney ad litem appointed to represent their legal interests; the guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem shall have immediate and unlimited access to the children they represent.

21. To have all their records available for review by their guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem if they deem such review necessary.

22. To organize as a group for purposes of ensuring that they receive them services and living conditions to which they are entitled and to provide support for one another while in the custody of the department.

23. To be afforded prompt access to all available state and federal programs, including, but not limited to: Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Testing (EPSDT) services, developmental services programs, Medicare and supplemental security income, Children's Medical Services, and programs for severely emotionally disturbed children.

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 587A-3

(a) The department or an authorized agency, as resource family or permanent custodian, shall abide by the following guiding principles and ensure that a child in foster care:

(1) Lives in a safe and healthy home, free from physical, psychological, sexual, and other abuse;

(2) Has adequate:

(A) Food that is nutritious and healthy;

(B) Clothing;

(C) Medical care, dental and orthodontic services, and corrective vision care; and

(D) Mental health services;

(3) Has supervised or unsupervised in-person, telephone, or other forms of contact with the child's parents and siblings while the child is in foster care, unless prohibited by court order;

(4) Has in-person contact with the child's assigned child protective services worker, guardian ad litem, and if applicable, the child's probation officer;

(5) Meets with the presiding judge in the child's case;

(6) Is enrolled in a comprehensive health insurance plan and, within forty-five days of out-of-home placement, is provided with a comprehensive health assessment and treatment as recommended;

(7) May freely exercise the child's own religious beliefs, including the refusal to attend any religious activities and services;

(8) Has a personal bank account and assistance in managing the child's personal income consistent with the child's age and development, unless safety or other concerns require otherwise;

(9) Has the right to attend school and participate in appropriate extracurricular activities and, if the child is moved during a school year, has the right to complete the school year at the same school, if practicable; and

(10) Beginning at age twelve, is provided with age-appropriate life skills training and a transition plan for appropriately moving out of the foster care system, as well as written information concerning independent living programs, foster youth organizations, transitional planning services, and independent living case management programs that are available to all children in foster care who are twelve years of age or older and their resource families.

Massachusetts

Department of Health and Human Services

Foster Children’s Bill of Rights

Preamble

The Department of Children and Families recognizes the following rights of children and youth in foster care. These rights are intended to guide the Department and its providers in the delivery of care and services to foster youth with the commitment to permanency, safety and well being. This Bill of Rights was developed by the Department's Youth Advisory Board.

Every Foster Child

  • Shall be treated with respect by DCF staff, foster parents and providers without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and/or disability.
  • Shall have family and relatives explored first as potential placement providers.
  • Shall have reasonable access to a caseworker who makes case plan decisions. Reasonable access shall include the social worker and supervisor's office telephone numbers and email addresses as well as, a minimum, monthly visits by social worker.
  • Shall participate in the development and review of the service plan and have input into changes to the plan that affect permanence, safety, stability or well being. Youth age 14 and older should also be presented with the service plan for their review and signature.
  • Shall be informed in a manner appropriate to age and level of understanding of the reason(s) the Department of Children and Families became involved with his/her family and why he/she is in care.
  • Shall be included in the Foster Care Review meeting, Permanency Hearing and Lead Agency Team meeting if age 14 and older, unless documented by court order or service plan that participation would be detrimental to the youth. If the youth is unable to attend in person, he/she Shall have the right to submit a written statement to be considered at the meeting.
  • Shall be provided with information about a foster family or program and, whenever possible, Shall have an opportunity to meet the foster parent or program staff before placement occurs.
  • Shall live with a family and in placement settings that provide a safe and nurturing environment while supporting permanency, and well being, including encouraging youth's goals, interests, social and school activities.
  • Shall have involvement as appropriate with family members and should participate in the development of visitation plans.
  • Shall receive support from social worker, foster family/provider in maintaining positive contact with significant people (relatives, teachers, friends and community supports) including assistance with contact information and visitation.
  • Shall be treated as a family member and, whenever possible, be included in a foster family's activities, holidays and rituals and be able to freely discuss reason(s) with social worker and foster family if choosing to not participate.
  • Shall have access to medical, dental, vision, mental and behavioral health services regularly and more often as needed.
  • Shall have access to information contained in medical, dental, and educational records held by DCF as well as personal documents such as social security card, birth certificate, green card, etc. When youth leave DCF, they Shall be given copies of medical, dental and educational records held by DCF and original social security card, birth certificate, and green card.
  • Shall have the opportunity to have private conversations with social worker on a regular basis. Foster youth should also be made aware of the process for contacting the supervisor and attorney regarding any questions or concerns.
  • Shall be informed of the names and phone numbers of assigned attorneys and be aware that they can contact their attorneys and
    that there is a process to request a change of attorneys.
  • Shall have access to personal possessions, personal space and privacy with allowance for safety. Shall receive assistance in acquiring life skills, education, training and career guidance to accomplish personal goals and prepare for the future and be informed of the post-secondary educational and employment supports available to youth in care through the Department.
  • Shall be informed that DCF provides clothing, birthday and holiday payments to foster parents and placement providers for youth in placement.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.018; 2009 Mo. Laws, HB 154

 

Creates a “Foster Care Education Bill of Rights,” which designates an educational liaison from each school district for children in foster care. Establishes that each child-placing agency shall promote educational stability for foster children when making placement decisions by considering their current school attendance area. The foster care pupil shall have the right to remain enrolled in and attend his or her school of origin pending resolution of school placement. Requires the state to make diligent efforts to contact and locate grandparents of a child for emergency placement, except when the Children’s Division determines this not to be in the best interests of the child. Defines “diligent efforts” to include a good-faith attempt, documented in writing, which exercises reasonable efforts and care to use all available services and resources related to meeting the ongoing health and safety needs of the child and to locating a grandparent of the child.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 432.500 through § 432.550; 2011 Nev. Stats., AB 154, Chap. 133

 

Secs. 3−5: Establishes certain rights of children who are placed in foster homes. The law standardizes rights for children in foster care among foster care and treatment providers. It ensures consistency of care for children among the various types of care provided. It brings issues related to the Bill of Rights for Children in Foster Care into one place in the statute to allow more effective communication among families. The law also sets a standard so that all foster children are afforded the same basic rights.

Sec. 6: Requires a provider of family foster care that places a child in a foster home to inform the child of his or her rights and to provide the child with a written copy of those rights. The law requires each group foster home that provides care to more than six children to post a written copy of these rights in the group foster home.

Sec. 7: Authorizes a provider of family foster care to place reasonable restrictions on the rights of a child based upon the time, place and manner of a child’s exercise of those rights if such restrictions are necessary to preserve the order or safety of the foster home.

Sec. 8: Authorizes a child placed in foster care who believes that his or her rights as set forth in this law have been violated to raise and redress a grievance with any of a number of people or institutions responsible for the child.

New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 9:6B-4

Lists the following rights for children placed outside their home:

1. To placement outside his home only after the applicable department has made every reasonable effort, including the provision or arrangement of financial or other assistance and services as necessary, to enable the child to remain in his home;

2. To the best efforts of the applicable department, including the provision or arrangement of financial or other assistance and services as necessary, to place the child with a relative;

3. To the best efforts of the applicable department, including the provision or arrangement of financial or other assistance and services as necessary, to place the child in an appropriate setting in his own community;

4. To the best efforts of the applicable department to place the child in the same setting with the child's sibling if the sibling is also being placed outside his home;

5. To visit with the child's parents or legal guardian immediately after the child has been placed outside his home and on a regular basis thereafter, and to otherwise maintain contact with the child's parents or legal guardian, and to receive assistance from the applicable department to facilitate that contact, including the provision or arrangement of transportation as necessary;

6. To visit with the child's sibling on a regular basis and to otherwise maintain contact with the child's sibling if the child was separated from his sibling upon placement outside his home, including the provision or arrangement of transportation as necessary;

7. To placement in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the child's needs and conducive to the health and safety of the child;

8. To be free from physical or psychological abuse and from repeated changes in placement before the permanent placement or return home of the child;

9. To have regular contact with any caseworker assigned to the child's case who is employed by the applicable department or any agency or organization with which the applicable department contracts to provide services and the opportunity, as appropriate to the age of the child, to participate in the planning and regular review of the child's case, and to be informed on a timely basis of changes in any placement plan which is prepared pursuant to law or regulation and the reasons therefore in terms and language appropriate to the child's ability to understand;

10. To have a placement plan, as required by law or regulation, that reflects the child's best interests and is designed to facilitate the permanent placement or return home of the child in a timely manner that is appropriate to the needs of the child;

11. To services of a high quality that are designed to maintain and advance the child's mental and physical well-being;

12. To be represented in the planning and regular review of the child's case, including the placement and development of, or revisions to, any placement plan which is required by law or regulation and the provision of services to the child, the child's parents or legal guardian and the temporary caretaker, by a person other than the child's parent or legal guardian or temporary caretaker who will advocate for the best interests of the child and the enforcement of the rights established pursuant to this act, which person may be the caseworker, as appropriate, or a person appointed by the court, for this purpose;

13. To receive an educational program which will maximize the child's potential;

14. To receive adequate, safe and appropriate food, clothing and housing;

15. To receive adequate and appropriate medical care; and

16. To be free from unwarranted physical restraint and isolation.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 131D-10.1; 2013 HB 510, Act No. 2013-326

(a) It is the policy of this State to strengthen and preserve the family as a unit consistent with a high priority of protecting children's welfare. When a child requires care outside the family unit, it is the duty of the State to assure that the quality of substitute care is as close as possible to the care and nurturing that society expects of a family. However, the State recognizes there are instances when protecting a child's welfare outweighs reunifying the family unit, and as such, the care of residential care facilities providing high quality services that include meeting the children's educational needs as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services can satisfy the standard of protecting a child's welfare, regardless of the child's age, particularly when the sibling groups can be kept intact. To that end, the General Assembly promotes the following in the provision of foster care:

(1) A safe foster home free of violence, abuse, neglect, and danger.

(2) First priority regarding placement in a home with siblings.

(3) The ability to communicate with the assigned social worker or case worker overseeing the child's case and have calls made to the social worker or case worker returned within a reasonable period of time.

(4) Allowing the child to remain enrolled in the school the child attended before being placed in foster care, if at all possible.

(5) Having a social worker, when a child is removed from the home, to immediately begin conducting an investigation to identify and locate all grandparents, adult siblings, and other adult relatives of the child to provide those persons with specific information and explanation of various options to participate in placement of a child.

(6) Participation in school extracurricular activities, community events, and religious practices.

(7) Communication with the biological parents if the child placed in foster care receives any immunizations and whether any additional immunizations are needed if the child will be transitioning back into a home with his or her biological parents.

(8) Establishing and having access to a bank or savings account in accordance with State laws and federal regulations.

(9) Obtaining identification and permanent documents, including a birth certificate, social security card, and health records by the age of 16, to the extent allowed by federal and State law.

(10) The use of appropriate communication measures to maintain contact with siblings if the child placed in foster care is separated from his or her siblings.

(11) Meaningful participation in a transition plan for those phasing out of foster care, including participation in family team, treatment team, court, and school meetings.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 418.200 through § 418-202; 2013 SB 123, Act No. 515

Requires the Department of Human Services to adopt rules to establish the Oregon Foster Children's Bill of Rights, provides for rights of complaint, provides for notice of placement, how to obtain a driver license, establish a bank account, obtain a credit report and how to obtain health care and mental health care, including services and treatments available without parental consent.

Pennsylvania

Act 119 of 2010

Creates the “Children in Foster Care Act.” The law stipulates that all foster children, caregivers and birth parents have rights, including the right to contact their attorneys or guardians ad litem, receive notice of court hearings, have educational stability, have access to necessary health services, consent to medical and mental health treatment consistent with current law, participate in religious observances, and visit and have contact with family. It defines corporal punishment as a form of physical discipline in which an individual is spanked, paddled or hit on any part of the body with a hand or instrument. It also provides for a grievance policy and procedure and provides that a copy of the grievance policy and procedure shall be given to the child.

Pennsylvania

Act 119 of 2010

Section 3.  Children in foster care.

Children in foster care shall be provided with the following:

(1)  Treatment with fairness, dignity and respect.

(2)  Freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, age or gender.

(3)  Freedom from harassment, corporal punishment, unreasonable restraint and physical, sexual, emotional and other abuse.

(4)  The ability to live in the least restrictive, most family-like setting that is safe, healthy and comfortable and meets the child's needs.

(5)  Proper nourishment.

(6)  Clothing that is clean, seasonal and age and gender appropriate.

(7)  Access to medical, dental, vision, mental health, behavioral health and drug and alcohol abuse and addiction services consistent with the laws of this Commonwealth and for which the child qualifies.

(8)  Information related to services under paragraph (7), including, but not limited to, medication and medication options and the opportunity to communicate a preference regarding a treatment plan, medication or medication options. If a child objects to a treatment plan, his or her objection shall be noted in the child's case record.

(9)  Opportunity to consent to medical and mental health treatment consistent with applicable law.

(10)  Permission to visit and have contact with family members, including siblings, as frequently as possible, consistent with the family service plan and the child's permanency plan, unless prohibited by court order, but no less than that prescribed by statute or regulation.

(11)  The contact information of the child's guardian ad litem, attorney, court-appointed special advocate and members of the integrated services planning team and the opportunity to contact those persons.

(12)  An environment that maintains and reflects the child's culture as may be reasonably accommodated.

(13)  Education stability and an appropriate education consistent with the laws of this Commonwealth, including the opportunity to participate in extracurricular, cultural and personal enrichment activities that are reasonably available and accommodated and consistent with the child's age and developmental level.

(14)  The opportunity to work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level, consistent with the laws of this Commonwealth and as may be reasonably accommodated.

(15)  The ability to receive appropriate life skills training and independent living services to prepare the child for the transition to adulthood, as consistent with Federal and State laws.

(16)  Notice of and the ability to attend court hearings relating to the child's case and to have the opportunity to be heard consistent with 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters).

(17)  Confidentiality consistent with the laws of this Commonwealth.

(18)  First consideration for placement with relatives, including siblings. In the absence of relatives, to have any kinship resource be considered as the preferred placement resource if the placement is consistent with the best interest of the child and the needs of other children in the kinship residence.

(19)  Consideration of any previous resource family as the preferred placement resource, if relative and kinship resources are unavailable and the placement resource is consistent with the best interest of the child.

(20)  If the child in foster care has a child of his or her own and that child has been placed in the same resource family with the parent, the child in foster care may exercise parental and decision-making authority over his or her own child, so long as there are no safety concerns on the part of the county child welfare agency or determined by the juvenile court.

(21)  Permission to participate in religious observances and activities and attend religious services of the child's preference or the religion of the child's family of origin or culture as may be reasonably accommodated.

(22)  A permanency plan and transition plan developed in conjunction with the child, and reviewed with the child, that provides the child with:

(i)  Safety.

(ii)  Stability.

 iii)  Permanence and well-being, including stable and safe housing, opportunities for postsecondary education and training and employment and a stable source of income, health insurance and a plan for future treatment.

 (iv)  Connections with reliable adults.

 (23)  Notification that the child may request to remain under the court's jurisdiction under paragraph (3) of the definition of "child" under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6302 (relating to definitions).

(24)  The grievance policy and procedure from a county agency or private agency and in accordance with section 4.

(25)  The ability to file a grievance related to any of the provisions under this section to the appropriate official overseeing the child's care in accordance with a county or private agency's grievance policy and procedure.

Puerto Rico

2011 PR Sess. Laws, L 0087

Requires the Department of Education, in coordination with the Department of Family and the Office of Youth Affairs,

to establish mechanisms and systems for publishing and disseminating information about the Child’s Bill of Rights.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-72-15

The Children's Bill of Rights protects the legal and civil rights of all children in state care.

It provides:

  • No child in DCYF care shall be deprived of any personal property of civil rights without due process.
  • Each child shall receive humane and dignified treatment with full respect for his or her personal dignity and right to privacy.
  • Each child may communicate with any individual, group or agency, consistent with the child's treatment plan.
  • Regarding children in secure facilities, DCYF shall specify when restraint and seclusion may be used, and when and how communication by mail or phone may be restricted.
  • Each child in a secure facility may receive visitors, including his or her attorney,
  • Guardian ad litem, special advocate, Child Advocate, physicians, mental health professionals, and members of the clergy.
  • A child is entitled to a free and appropriate education immediately upon being placed.
  • Child victims as witnesses are afforded statutory protections.
  • A child cannot be denied drug treatment solely because of DCYF placement.
  • Violations of the Children's Bill of Rights are handled exclusively by the Family Court.
  • The Children's Bill of Rights must be posted in a conspicuous place in all secure facilities and /or residential placement facilities.

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 59-38-10

School district procedures and responsibilities; Department of Social Services responsibilities; educational and school placement decisions; transfer of credits and grades; court appearances treated as excused absences; Department access to school records; adult advocates. [SC ST SEC 59-38-10]
(A) Each school district shall have in place procedures to ensure seamless transitions between schools and school districts for children upon notice that a child is in foster care. School districts shall consider maintaining a child in foster care in the same school if it is in the child's best interest. A school district must not place additional enrollment requirements on a child based solely on the fact that the child is in foster care.
(B) Each school district shall:
(1) facilitate the immediate enrollment of a child in foster care residing in a foster home, group living facility, or any other setting that is located within the district or area served by the district;
(2) assist a child in foster care transferring from one district to another by ensuring proper transfer of records;
(3) request school records within two school days of placement into a school and transfer records within two school days of receiving a request for school records.
(C) The Department of Social Services immediately shall enroll the child in school, maintaining the child in the same school if possible, and shall provide a copy of the court order to the school district to be included in the student's school record.
(D) Educational and school placement decisions for children in foster care must be made to ensure that each child immediately is placed in the least restrictive educational program and has access to all academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all students.
(E) Each school district shall accept for credit full or partial course work satisfactorily completed by a child in foster care while attending a public school, nonpublic school, or nonsectarian school in accordance with state and district policies or regulations.
(F) Each school district shall ensure that when a decision to change the foster home placement of a child is made by the court or the Department of Social Services and the child must change schools, the grades and credits of that child must be calculated as of the date the child left school, and the child's grades must not be lowered as a result of these circumstances.
(G) Each school district shall ensure that if a child in foster care is absent from school due to a certified court appearance or related court-ordered activity including, but not limited to, court-ordered treatment services, these absences must be counted as excused absences upon submission of appropriate documentation. If these absences exceed the limit provided for by law, the school administrator shall allow the child an opportunity to make up all assignments and required seat time.
(H) Each school district, subject to federal law, may permit an authorized representative of the Department of Social Services to have access to the school records of a child in foster care for the purpose of fulfilling educational case management responsibilities required by law and to assist with the school transfer or placement of the child.
(I) The Department of Social Services shall ensure that children in foster care have a willing and available adult to advocate for their best educational interests, and school districts shall acknowledge and accept this person's role in advocating for educational services necessary to meet each child's needs.

Texas

Tex. Family Code Ann. § 263.008; 2011 Tex. Gen. Laws, HB 2170, Chap. 791

 

Sec. 1: Creates a “Foster Child Bill of Rights” for children in foster care that is to include rights to food, shelter and education; medical, dental, vision and mental health services; emergency behavioral intervention; placement with siblings; privacy; participation in school-related extracurricular or community activities; interactions with people outside the foster care system; contact and communication with caseworkers, attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem and court appointed special advocates; participation in religious activities; confidentiality of records; job skills, personal finances and preparation for adulthood; participation in court hearings involving the child; and advocacy for and protection of any disability rights for the child. The law requires the Department of Family and Protective Services to provide a written copy and oral review of the Bill of Rights to each child in foster care in the child’s primary language. It further requires the department to promote participation of foster children and former foster children in educating other foster children about the Bill of Rights and in developing and implementing a policy for receiving and handling reports that the rights of a foster child are not being observed.

Sec. 2: Requires the Department of Family and Protective Services to ensure that each child in foster care who is age 16 or older annually obtains a free copy of his or her credit report and information regarding interpreting the report and correcting inaccuracies, until the child is discharged from foster care.

 

Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights

State

Bill/Statute

Summary/Language

Alabama

Ala. Code § 38-12A-1

Foster Parent Bill of Rights

The Department of Human Resources shall ensure that each foster parent shall have all of the following rights:

(1) The right to be treated with dignity, respect, trust, value, and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and a member of the professional team caring for foster children.

(2) The right to receive information concerning the rights enumerated in this section.

(3) The right to a concise written explanation of their role as foster parents in partnership with children and their families, the department, and other providers, the role of the department, and the rights and role of the members of the birth family of a child in foster care.

(4) The right to training and support for the purpose of improving skills in providing daily care and meeting the needs of the child in foster care.

(5) The right to training, consultation, and assistance in evaluating, identifying, and accessing services to meet their needs related to their role as foster care providers. This includes, but is not limited to, all foster care polices, the Foster Parent Handbook, Foster Family Homes Minimum Standards, the Therapeutic Foster Care Manual, and a mediation process.

(6) The right to provide input to the department in identifying the types of resources and services that would meet the needs of children currently in their care and of their families, and advocate for the same without threat of reprisal.

(7) The right to information concerning behavioral problems, health history, educational status, cultural and family background, and other issues relative to the child which are known to the department at the time the child is placed in foster care prior to the child's placement with a foster parent or parents. When the department knows such information after placement, the department shall make that information available to the foster parent as soon as practicable.

(8) The right to a written explanation of the plan concerning the placement of a child in the foster parent's home. For emergency placements where time does not allow prior preparation of the explanation, the department shall provide such explanation within 72 hours. Prior to placement, the department shall allow the foster parent to review a written summary of information concerning the child, including, but not limited to, assessments, evaluations, and case plans, and allow the foster parent to assist in determining if the child would be a proper placement for the prospective foster family. For emergency placements where time does not allow prior review of the information, the department shall provide the information within 72 hours of placement. Confidential information shall be kept confidential by the foster parents, except as determined through the individualized service plan (ISP) process to promote the health and welfare of the child.

(9) The right to a staff person representing the department on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of aiding the foster parent in receiving departmental assistance.

(10) The right to fair and equitable board payments based on a system of daily board rates and other financial reimbursement as specified in a plan adopted by the department after consultation with foster parents, subject to the availability of funds.

(11) The right to accept or refuse placement within their home, or to request, upon reasonable notice to the department, the removal of a child from their home for good cause without threat of reprisal for acting on such good cause.

(12) The right to information of scheduled meetings and appointments concerning the foster child and permission for the foster parent to actively participate in and provide input to be used by the ISP team in the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child in foster care, including, but not limited to, individual service planning meetings, foster care reviews, individual educational planning meetings, and medical appointments.

(13) The right to request that a person or persons serve as a volunteer advocate and to be present at all meetings with the department, including, but not limited to, individualized service planning, administrative hearings, the grievance/mediation process, the adoption process, and the allegation process where the foster parent is present. All communications received by the volunteer advocate shall be in strict confidence.

(14) The right to notice and an opportunity to be heard, including timely information concerning all court hearings. This notification may include, but is not limited to, notice of the date and time of the court hearing, the name of the judge or hearing officer assigned to the case, the guardian ad litem, the location of the hearing, and the court docket number. The notification shall be made upon receipt of this information by the department. Although not a party to the case, the foster parent may attend court hearings at the discretion of the judge.

(15) The right to communication with professionals who work with the foster child, including, but not limited to, therapists, physicians, and teachers who work directly with the child.

(16) The right to communicate with the child's birth family, other foster parents of the child, and prospective and finalized adoptive parents of the child with ISP team approval and without the threat of reprisal.

(17) The right to necessary information on an ongoing basis which is relevant to the care of the child, including timely information on changes in the case plan or termination of the placement and reasons for the changes or termination of placement to the foster parent, except in the instances of immediate response of child protective service.

(18) The right to first consideration as the resource for a child in a foster parent's home who becomes free for adoption or another planned permanent living arrangement.

(19) The right to a period of respite upon the request of a foster parent. The foster parent shall provide reasonable notice of a request for respite.

(20) The right to information, in person and in writing, of any allegations of maltreatment of children in the home of the foster parent alleged to have been perpetrated by a member of the foster parent's household, the process for disposition of these allegations, and any review process for reports of indicated child abuse and neglect upon receipt of the allegations. A written notification of any report in which a finding is not indicated on the county level shall be provided to a foster parent within five days of the findings.

(21) The right to copies of all information relative to their family and services contained in the personal foster home record.

(22) The right to mediation procedures that may be developed and adopted by the department and the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Board. The foster parent may request mediation in accordance with any mediation policy adopted by the department and the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Board without threat of reprisal.

(23) The right to appeal the closing of a foster family home by the department in accordance with any appeal procedure adopted by the department and the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Board without threat of reprisal.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-530

Foster Parent Rights

A. A foster parent in this state has the following rights:

1. To be treated with consideration and respect for the foster parent's personal dignity and privacy.

2. To be included as a valued member of the team that provides services to the foster child.

3. To receive support services that assist the foster parent to care for the child in the foster home, including open and timely responses from agency personnel.

4. To be informed of all information regarding the child that will impact the foster home or family life during the care of the foster child.

5. To contribute to the permanency plan for the child in the foster home.

6. To have placement information kept confidential when it is necessary to protect the foster parent and the members of the foster parent's household.

7. To be assisted in dealing with family loss and separation when a child leaves the foster home.

8. To be informed of all agency policies and procedures that relate to the foster parent's role as a foster parent.

9. To receive training that will enhance the foster parent's skills and ability to cope as a foster parent.

10. To be able to receive services and reach personnel on a twenty-four hour, seven days per week basis.

11. To be granted a reasonable plan for respite from the role of foster parent.

12. To confidentiality regarding issues that arise in the foster home.

13. To not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age or physical handicap.

14. To receive an evaluation on the foster parent's performance.

B. This section does not establish any legally enforceable right or cause of action on behalf of any person.

Arkansas

Foster Parent Handbook

Responsibilities of DCFS to Foster Parents

1. Provide pre-service training and continuing education.

2. Provide all available information concerning the child and the birth/legal family situation to enable them to make an informed decision about the ability or inability to provide care for the child and participate in the case.

3. Involve them as team members in pre-placement activities and case planning as well as staffings and court proceedings.

4. Ensure they have a clear understanding of their role as well as the role of other team members in achieving case goals.

5. Provide them with a board payment for food, clothing, and shelter for children in their care.

6. Allow them to continue their own family patterns and routine, as much as possible.

7. Allow them to request the removal of a child from their home, with notice.

8. Give advance notice, whenever possible, when a child is to be removed from their home.

9. Promptly inform them of any complaint against their home or of any condition or problem in the home which adversely affects their status as foster parents and provide guidance and support toward resolution of the condition or problem.(See section on Complaints Against Foster Family Other Than Child Maltreatment.)

10. Provide access to a internal review of adverse action procedure when differences arise with DCFS which have not been resolved to their satisfaction (see section on Internal Review of Adverse Action Involving Foster Parents).

11. Inform them of DCFS programs, services, and policies, which relate to foster care.

California

Cal. Education Code §56055

Rights of foster parents pertaining to foster child’s education

56055.  (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), a foster parent may exercise, to the extent permitted by federal law, including, but not limited to, Section 300.30 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the rights related to his or her foster child's education that a parent has under Title 20 (commencing with Section 1400) of the United States Code and pursuant to Part 300 (commencing with Section 300.1) of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The foster parent may represent the foster child for the duration of the foster parent-foster child relationship in matters relating to identification, assessment, instructional planning and development, educational placement, reviewing and revising an individualized education program, if necessary, and in all other matters relating to the provision of a free appropriate public education of the child. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this representation shall include the provision of written consent to the individualized education program, including nonemergency medical services, mental health treatment services, and occupational or physical therapy services pursuant to this chapter.

The foster parent may sign any consent relating to individualized education program purposes.

   (2) A foster parent exercising rights relative to a foster child under this section may consult with the parent or guardian of the child to ensure continuity of health, mental health, or other

services.

   (b) A foster parent who had been excluded by court order from making educational decisions on behalf of a pupil does not have the rights relative to the pupil set forth in subdivision (a).

   (c) This section only applies if the juvenile court has limited the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions on behalf of the child, and the child has been placed in a planned permanent living arrangement pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of Section 366.21, Section 366.22, Section 366.26, or paragraph (5) or (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 727.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

   (d) For purposes of this section, a foster parent shall include a person, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, who has been licensed or approved by the county welfare department,

county probation department, or the State Department of Social Services, or who has been designated by the court as a specified placement.

Georgia

Ga. Code § 49-5-281

Creates the foster parents’ bill of rights.

(a) The General Assembly finds that foster parents providing care for children who are in the custody of the Department of Human Services play an integral, indispensable, and vital role in the state's effort to care for dependent children displaced from their homes. The General Assembly further finds that it is in the best interest of Georgia's child welfare system to acknowledge foster parents as active and participating members of this system and to support them through the following bill of rights for foster parents who care for children in the custody of the Department of Human Services through direct approval and placement by the department:
   (1) The right to be treated by the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services and other partners in the care of abused children with dignity, respect, and trust as a primary provider of foster care and a member of the professional team caring for foster children;
   (2) The right not to be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, color, creed, gender, marital status, national origin, age, or physical handicap;
   (3) The right to continue with his or her own family values and beliefs, so long as the values and beliefs of the foster child and the birth family are not infringed upon and consideration is given to the special needs of children who have experienced trauma and separation from their families. This shall include the right to exercise parental authority within the limits of policies, procedures, and other directions of the Division of Family and Children Services and within the limits of the laws of the State of Georgia;
   (4) The right to receive both standardized pre-service training, including training in Division of Family and Children Services policies and procedures and appropriate ongoing training, by the Division of Family and Children Services or the placing agency at appropriate intervals to meet mutually assessed needs of the child and to improve foster parents' skills and to apprise foster parents of any changes in policies and procedures of the Division of Family and Children Services and any changes in applicable law;
   (5) The right to be apprised of information, laws, and guidelines on the obligations, responsibilities, and opportunities of foster parenting and to be kept informed of any changes in laws, policies, and procedures regarding foster parenting by the Division of Family and Children Services in a timely manner and at least annually;
   (6) The right to receive timely financial reimbursement according to the agreement between the foster parents and the Department of Human Services from funds appropriated by the General Assembly and to be notified of any costs or expenses for which the foster parent may be eligible for reimbursement;
   (7) The right to receive information from the Division of Family and Children Services on how to receive services and reach personnel 24 hours per day, seven days per week;
   (8) The right prior to the placement of a child to be notified of any issues relative to the child that may jeopardize the health and safety of the foster family or the child or alter the manner in which foster care should be administered;
   (9) The right to discuss information regarding the child prior to placement. The Division of Family and Children Services will provide such information as it becomes available as allowable under state and federal laws;
   (10) The right to refuse placement of a child in the foster home or to request, upon reasonable notice, the removal of a child from the foster home without fear of reprisal or any adverse effect on being assigned any future foster or adoptive placements;
   (11) The right to receive any information through the Division of Family and Children Services regarding the number of times a foster child has been moved and the reasons therefor; and to receive the names and phone numbers of the previous foster parents if the previous foster parents have authorized such release and as allowable under state and federal law;
   (12) The right, at any time during which a child is placed with the foster parent, to receive from the Division of Family and Children Services any and all additional pertinent information relevant to the care of the child;
   (13) The right to be provided with a written copy of the individual treatment and service plan concerning the child in the foster parent's home and to discuss such plan with the case manager, as well as reasonable notification of any changes to that plan;
   (14) The right to participate in the planning of visitation with the child and the child's biological family with the foster parents recognizing that visitation with his or her biological family is important to the child;
   (15) (For effective date, see note.) The right to participate in the case planning and decision-making process with the Division of Family and Children Services regarding the child as provided in Code Section 15-11-201;
   (16) The right to provide input concerning the plan of services for the child and to have that input considered by the department;
   (17) The right to communicate for the purpose of participating in the case of the foster child with other professionals who work with such child within the context of the professional team, including, but not limited to, therapists, physicians, and teachers, as allowable under state and federal law;
   (18) (For effective date, see note.) The right to be notified in advance, in writing, by the Division of Family and Children Services or the court of any hearing or review where the case plan or permanency of the child is an issue, including initial and periodic reviews held by the court in accordance with Code Section 15-11-216 or by the Judicial Citizen Review Panel in accordance with Code Section 15-11-217, hearings following revocation of the license of an agency which has permanent custody of a child in accordance with Code Section 31-2-6, and permanency plan hearings in accordance with Code Section 15-11-230;
   (19) The right to be considered, where appropriate, as a preferential placement option when a child who was formerly placed with the foster parents has reentered the foster care system;
   (20) The right to be considered, where appropriate, as the first choice as a permanent parent or parents for a child who, after 12 months of placement in the foster home, is released for adoption or permanent foster care;
   (21) The right to be provided a fair and timely investigation of complaints concerning the operation of a foster home;
   (22) The right to an explanation of a corrective action plan or policy violation relating to foster parents; and
   (23) The right, to the extent allowed under state and federal law, to have an advocate present at all portions of investigations of abuse and neglect at which an accused foster parent is present. Child abuse and neglect investigations shall be investigated pursuant to Division of Family and Children Services policies and procedures, and any removal of a foster child shall be conducted pursuant to those policies and procedures. The Division of Family and Children Services will permit volunteers with the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia to be educated concerning the procedures relevant to investigations of alleged abuse and neglect and the rights of accused foster parents. After such training, a volunteer will be permitted to serve as an advocate for an accused foster parent. All communication received by the advocate in this capacity shall be strictly confidential.

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20, § 520/1-15

A foster parent's rights include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) The right to be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration as a professional member of the child welfare team.

(2) The right to be given standardized pre-service training and appropriate ongoing training to meet mutually assessed needs and to improve the foster parent's skills.

(3) The right to be informed as to how to contact the appropriate child placement agency in order to receive information and assistance to access supportive services for children in the foster parent's care.

(4) The right to receive timely financial reimbursement commensurate with the care needs of the child as specified in the service plan.

(5) The right to be provided a clear, written understanding of a placement agency's plan concerning the placement of a child in the foster parent's home. Inherent in this right is the foster parent's responsibility to support activities that will promote the child's right to relationships with his or her own family and cultural heritage.

(6) The right to be provided a fair, timely, and impartial investigation of complaints concerning the foster parent's licensure, to be provided the opportunity to have a person of the foster parent's choosing present during the investigation, and to be provided due process during the investigation; the right to be provided the opportunity to request and receive mediation or an administrative review of decisions that affect licensing parameters, or both mediation and an administrative review; and the right to have decisions concerning a licensing corrective action plan specifically explained and tied to the licensing standards violated.

(7) The right, at any time during which a child is placed with the foster parent, to receive additional or necessary information that is relevant to the care of the child.

(7.5) The right to be given information concerning a child (i) from the Department as required under subsection (u) of Section 5 of the Children and Family Services Act and (ii) from a child welfare agency as required under subsection (c-5) of Section 7.4 of the Child Care Act of 1969.

(8) The right to be notified of scheduled meetings and staffings concerning the foster child in order to actively participate in the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child, including individual service planning meetings, administrative case reviews, interdisciplinary staffings, and individual educational planning meetings; the right to be informed of decisions made by the courts or the child welfare agency concerning the child; the right to provide input concerning the plan of services for the child and to have that input given full consideration in the same manner as information presented by any other professional on the team; and the right to communicate with other professionals who work with the foster child within the context of the team, including therapists, physicians, and teachers.

(9) The right to be given, in a timely and consistent manner, any information a case worker has regarding the child and the child's family which is pertinent to the care and needs of the child and to the making of a permanency plan for the child. Disclosure of information concerning the child's family shall be limited to that information that is essential for understanding the needs of and providing care to the child in order to protect the rights of the child's family. When a positive relationship exists between the foster parent and the child's family, the child's family may consent to disclosure of additional information.

(10) The right to be given reasonable written notice of (i) any change in a child's case plan, (ii) plans to terminate the placement of the child with the foster parent, and (iii) the reasons for the change or termination in placement. The notice shall be waived only in cases of a court order or when the child is determined to be at imminent risk of harm.

(11) The right to be notified in a timely and complete manner of all court hearings, including notice of the date and time of the court hearing, the name of the judge or hearing officer hearing the case, the location of the hearing, and the court docket number of the case; and the right to intervene in court proceedings or to seek mandamus under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987.

(12) The right to be considered as a placement option when a foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent is to be re-entered into foster care, if that placement is consistent with the best interest of the child and other children in the foster parent's home.

(13) The right to have timely access to the child placement agency's existing appeals process and the right to be free from acts of harassment and retaliation by any other party when exercising the right to appeal.

(14) The right to be informed of the Foster Parent Hotline established under Section 35.6 of the Children and Family Services Act and all of the rights accorded to foster parents concerning reports of misconduct by Department employees, service providers, or contractors, confidential handling of those reports, and investigation by the Inspector General appointed under Section 35.5 of the Children and Family Services Act.

Iowa

Iowa Code § 237.3(2)(k); 2006 Iowa Acts, SF 2249, Chap. 1160

Enacts a foster parents bill of rights. Provides foster parents with the rights to information about the child, regularly scheduled meetings with case managers, and receipt of reports prepared by service providers regarding the child, unless access to such

reports is prohibited by law

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 620.360

620.360 Rights and responsibilities of foster parents; training of person investigating abuse or neglect in foster homes; nonliability of cabinet

(1) Persons who provide foster care services to children who have been committed to the custody of the state shall be considered a primary partner and member of a professional team caring for foster children. Foster parents who contract directly with the cabinet shall have the following rights:

(a) To be treated with respect, consideration, and dignity;

(b) To fully understand the role of the cabinet and the role of other members of the child's professional team;

(c) To receive information and training about foster parents' rights, responsibilities, and access to local and statewide support groups, including but not limited to the Kentucky Foster/Adoptive Care Association, the Kentucky Foster and Adoptive Parent Network, and Adoption Support of Kentucky;

(d) To receive information and training to improve skills in the daily care and in meeting the special needs of foster children;

(e) To receive timely and adequate financial reimbursement for knowledgeable and quality care of a child in foster care within budgetary limitations;

(f) To maintain the foster family's own routines and values while respecting the rights and confidentiality of each foster child placed in their home;

(g) To receive a period of respite from providing foster care, pursuant to cabinet policies;

(h) To receive, upon an open records request, a copy of all information contained in the cabinet's records about the family's foster home and the foster care services provided by the family consistent with KRS 605.160;

(i) To access cabinet support and assistance as necessary twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week;

(j) To receive, prior to a child being placed in the foster home pursuant to KRS 605.090, information relating to the child's behavior, family background, or health history that may jeopardize the health or safety of any member of the foster family's household, including other foster children, and similar information that may affect the manner in which foster care services are provided, consistent with KRS 605.160. In an emergency situation, the cabinet shall provide information as soon as it is available;

(k) To refuse placement of a child within the foster home and to request, with reasonable notice to the cabinet, the removal of a child from the foster home without fear of reprisal;

(l) To communicate, with an appropriate release of information consistent with KRS 605.160, with other professionals who work directly with the foster child, including but not limited to teachers, therapists, and health care practitioners and to notify the cabinet within twenty-four (24) hours of the communication;

(m) To assist the cabinet in the development of the child's plan of care;

(n) To receive an explanatory notice from the cabinet, consistent with KRS 620.130 and when it is in the best interest of the child, when a foster child's case plan has changed and, except in an immediate response to a child protective services investigation involving the foster home, an explanatory notice of termination or change in placement affecting the foster home within fourteen (14) days of the change or termination in placement;

(o) To have priority consideration for placement if a child who has previously been placed in the foster home reenters foster care, consistent with KRS 605.130 and 620.130 and to the extent it is in the best interest of the child;

(p) To have priority consideration for adoption if a foster child who has been placed in the foster home for a period of at least twelve (12) consecutive months becomes eligible for adoption consistent with KRS 605.130 and 620.130 and to the extent it is in the best interest of the child; and

(q) To maintain contact with the foster child after the child leaves the foster home, unless the child, a biological parent, the cabinet when the cabinet retains custody of the child, or other foster or adoptive parent refuses such contact.

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 46:286.11 et.seq.

Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights.

Foster parents shall be entitled to the following rights granted to them by the Department of Children and Family Services:

(1)  The right to be treated with dignity, respect, trust, and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and a member to the professional team caring for foster children.  This right includes the right to uniform treatment throughout the state by the department in the providing of information to foster parents and in ensuring the exercise of the rights granted to foster parents.

(2)  The right to receive explanation and clarification as to the expectations and roles of all team members and to receive evaluation and feedback on their role as foster caregiver.  Information provided to foster parents by the department shall include written information explaining the rights and duties of foster parents, and a record shall be kept by the department showing the signatures of the foster parents acknowledging receipt of this information.

(3)  The right to receive all information on a child, at placement, and on an ongoing basis, that could impact the care provided the child, the health, and safety of the child and foster family members.  Information shall include the case plan and the health, medical, educational, legal, and social history as known to the Department of Children and Family Services to better meet the needs of children in their care.

(4)  The right to receive the necessary training and support to enable them to provide quality services in meeting the needs of children in their care, including reasonable relief and respite, as allowed by agency resources.

(5)  The right to be informed of available support services, case planning meetings, court hearings, and other decisionmaking meetings in a timely manner in recognition of the importance of their role as foster caregivers.  This includes information concerning participation as foster caregivers in legal and administrative actions as authorized by law.

(6)  The right to actively participate in the development of the child's case plan, educational plan, and in other service planning decisionmaking processes.

(7)  The right to access agency staff for assistance in dealing with emergencies on a twenty-four-hour basis, to assistance in dealing with family loss and separation when a child leaves their home, and access to available advocacy services to help support the foster parent in their role as caregiver.

(8)  The right to receive information concerning agency policies and procedures related to their role as a foster parent or to the child in their care, and information contained in the foster parents' record, as allowed by law.

(9)  The right for first consideration as a placement option for a child previously placed in their home and for a child placed in their home who becomes available for adoption, if relative placement is not available.

(10)  The right to permit a member of the Louisiana Advocacy Support Team to accompany a foster parent into meetings with departmental staff during investigations or grievance procedures.

Maryland

Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 5-504

Rights of Foster Parents

(a) Foster parents in this State have the following rights:

(1) the right, at the initial placement, at any time during the placement of a child in foster care, and as soon as practicable after new information becomes available, to receive full information from the caseworker, except for information about the family members that may be privileged or confidential, on the physical, social, emotional, educational, and mental history of a child which would possibly affect the care provided by a foster parent;

(2) with regard to the local department case planning, the right to:

(i) except for meetings covered by the attorney-client privilege or meetings in which confidential information about the natural parents is discussed, be notified of, and when applicable, be heard at scheduled meetings and staffings concerning a child in order to actively participate, without superseding the rights of the natural parents to participate and make appropriate decisions regarding the child, in the case planning, administrative case reviews, interdisciplinary staffings, and individual educational planning and mental health team meetings;

(ii) be informed of decisions made by the courts or a child welfare agency concerning a child; and

(iii) provide input concerning the plan of services for a child and to have that input given full consideration by the local department; and

(3) the right to be given reasonable written notice, waived only in cases of a court order or when a child is determined to be at imminent risk of harm, of plans to terminate the placement of a child with a foster parent.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.953

The purposes of this act are all of the following:

(a) To assist foster parents to provide a stable, loving family environment for children who are placed outside of their homes on a temporary basis.

(b) To help eliminate barriers to the adoption of children and to promote the provision of a stable and loving family environment to children who are without permanent families.

(c) To promote the well-being and safety of all children who receive foster care or are adopted under the laws of this state.

(d) To protect and assist prospective adoptive families as they negotiate the adoption process.

(e) To regulate child placing agencies who certify foster parents and serve adoptees and adoptive families in this state.

(f) To regulate adoption attorneys who facilitate direct placement adoptions.

(g) To ensure foster parents and prospective adoptive parents receive all applicable resources as described in section 8a.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 210.566

Foster parents' bill of rights.

3. (1) Foster parents shall make decisions about the daily living concerns of the child, and shall be permitted to continue the practice of their own family values and routines while respecting the child's cultural heritage. All discipline shall be consistent with state laws and regulations. The children's division shall allow foster parents to help plan visitation between the child and the child's siblings or biological family. Visitations should be scheduled at a time that meets the needs of the child, the biological family members, and the foster family whenever possible. Recognizing that visitation with family members is an important right of children in foster care, foster parents shall be flexible and cooperative with regard to family visits.

(2) Foster parents shall provide care that is respectful of the child's cultural identity and needs. Recognizing that cultural competence can be learned, the children's division and their contractors shall provide foster parents with training that specifically addresses cultural needs of children, including but not limited to, information on skin and hair care, information on any specific religious or cultural practices of the child's biological family, and referrals to community resources for ongoing education and support.

(3) Foster parents shall recognize that the purpose of discipline is to teach and direct the behavior of the child, and ensure that it is administered in a humane and sensitive manner. Foster parents shall use discipline methods which are consistent with children's division policy.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Tit. 10, § 1-9-119

A. A statement of foster parent's rights shall include, but not be limited to, the right to:

1. Be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration as a professional member of the child welfare team;

2. Be notified of and be given appropriate, ongoing education and continuing education and training to develop and enhance foster parenting skills;

3. Be informed about ways to contact the state agency or the child-placing agency in order to receive information and assistance to access supportive services for any child in the foster parent's care;

4. Receive timely financial reimbursement for providing foster care services;

5. Be notified of any costs or expenses for which the foster parent may be eligible for reimbursement;

6. Be provided a clear, written explanation of the individual treatment and service plan concerning the child in the foster parent's home, listing components of the plan pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Children's Code;1

7. Receive, at any time during which a child is placed with the foster parent, additional or necessary information that is relevant to the care of the child;

8. Be notified of scheduled review meetings, permanency planning meetings, and special staffing concerning the foster child in order to actively participate in the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child;

9. Provide input concerning the plan of services for the child and to have that input be given full consideration in the same manner as information presented by any other professional on the team;

10. Communicate with other foster parents in order to share information regarding the foster child. In particular, receive any information concerning the number of times a foster child has been moved and the reasons why, and the names and telephone numbers of the previous foster parent if the previous foster parent has authorized such release;

11. Communicate with other professionals who work with the foster child within the context of the team including, but not limited to, therapists, physicians, and teachers;

12. Be given, in a timely and consistent manner, any information regarding the child and the child's family which is pertinent to the care and needs of the child and to the making of a permanency plan for the child. Disclosure of information shall be limited to that information which is authorized by the provisions of Chapter VI of the Oklahoma Children's Code for foster parents;

13. Be given reasonable notice of any change in or addition to the services provided to the child pursuant to the child's individual treatment and service plan;

14. a. Be given written notice of:

(1) plans to terminate the placement of the child with the foster parent pursuant to Section 1-4-805 of this title, and

(2) the reasons for the changes or termination in placement.

b. The notice shall be waived only in emergency cases pursuant to Section 1-4-805 of this title;

15. Be notified by the applicable state agency in a timely and complete manner of all court hearings, including notice of the date and time of any court hearing, the name of the judge or hearing officer hearing the case, the location of the hearing, and the court docket number of the case;

16. Be informed of decisions made by the court, the state agency or the child-placing agency concerning the child;

17. Be considered as a preferred placement option when a foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent is to reenter foster care at the same level and type of care, if that placement is consistent with the best interest of the child and other children in the home of the foster parent;

18. Be provided a fair, timely, and impartial investigation of complaints concerning the certification of the foster parent;

19. Be provided the opportunity to request and receive a fair and impartial hearing regarding decisions that affect certification retention or placement of children in the home;

20. Be allowed the right to exercise parental substitute authority;

21. Have timely access to the appeals process of the state agency and child placement agency and the right to be free from acts of harassment and retaliation by any other party when exercising the right to appeal;

22. Be given the number of the statewide toll-free Foster Parent Hotline; and

23. File a grievance and be informed of the process for filing a grievance.

B. The Department of Human Services and a child-placing agency under contract with the Department shall be responsible for implementing this section.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private right of action or claim on the part of any individual, the Department, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, or any child-placing agency.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 418.648

A foster parent has the right to:

(1) Be treated with dignity, respect and trust as a member of a team, including respect for the family values and routines of the foster parent.

(2) Be included as a valued member of a team that provides care and planning for a foster child placed in the home of the foster parent.

(3) Receive support services, as resources permit, from the Department of Human Services that are designed to assist in the care of the foster child placed in the home of the foster parent.

(4) Be informed of any condition that relates solely to a foster child placed in the home of the foster parent that may jeopardize the health or safety of the foster parent or other members of the home or alter the manner in which foster care should be provided to the foster child. The information shall include complete access to written reports, psychological evaluations and diagnoses that relate solely to a foster child placed in the home of the foster parent provided that confidential information given to a foster parent must be kept confidential by the foster parent, except as necessary to promote or to protect the health and welfare of the foster child and the community.

(5) Have input into a permanency plan for a foster child placed in the home of the foster parent.

(6) Receive assistance from the department in dealing with family loss and separation when the foster child leaves the home of the foster parent.

(7) Be informed of all policies and procedures of the department that relate to the role of the foster parent.

(8) Be informed of how to receive services and to have access to department personnel or service providers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

(9) Initiate an inactive referral status for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 12 months, to allow a foster parent relief from caring for foster children.

(10) Not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age or disability.

(11) Be notified of the foster parent's right to limited participation in proceedings in the juvenile court and provided with an explanation of that right.

Pennsylvania

11 P.S. § 2603; 11 P.S. § 2604

“Resource family.” A family which provides temporary foster or kinship care for children who need out-of-home placement and which may eventually provide permanency for those children, including as an adoptive family.

County and private agencies shall provide the following to resource families:

(1) Notification of scheduled meetings by the county or private agency concerning a child residing with a resource family in order to actively participate and have input into the service and permanency planning process regarding the child.

(2) Support services to assist in the care of the child, consistent with the child's approved permanency plan.

(3) Open, complete and timely responses from the county or private agency when contacted by the resource family regarding the role of the resource family and the care of the child.

(4) Information about the child's medical history, general behavior and relationship with his or her parents shall be provided to the resource family as soon as that information is obtained by the county or private agency. Within a reasonable amount of time the agency shall also provide information to the resource family concerning the educational history, life experiences and previous and prospective placement circumstances of the child.

(5) Consultation with the resource family in the development of the permanency plan.

(6) Consultation with the resource family in the decision to release the resource family's address to the child's parent and to be informed prior to such information being shared with the child's parent.

(7) Assistance with the coordination of services that may be deemed necessary due to resulting family loss and separation upon a child's departure from the resource family's home when such relocation is not the result of an immediate threat to the health and safety of the child caused by the resource family.

(8) Information on all county or private agency policies and procedures that relate to the role of a resource family.

(9) Any appropriate training deemed necessary to enhance the skills and performance of the resource family.

(10) Information on how to receive services and reach county or private agency personnel on a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week basis.

(11) Confidentiality regarding allegations of abuse involving a member of the resource family. The provision of confidentiality shall not interfere with the safety of the child.

(12) Opportunity to be heard regarding agency decisions or practices involving a child residing family. The agency shall not discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against a resource family for an appropriate inquiry regarding the decisions or practices of an agency that affect a child residing with the resource family.

 

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 42-72.10-1

(a) The Rhode Island general assembly recognizes the importance of foster parents in the care and nurturing of children who are in the care and custody of the department of children, youth and families. In an effort to ensure that foster parents are treated with dignity, respect and trust in their work for the department and/or the department's designated child placing agency, the general assembly hereby directs the department to promulgate through policy, rule and/or regulations a statement of foster parents' rights by no later than January 1, 2011. Said policy, rule and/or regulations shall address at a minimum issues related to the following:

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-2-415

Foster Parent Rights Act: (a) To the extent not otherwise prohibited by state or federal statute, the department shall, through promulgation of rules in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, implement each of the following tenets. With respect to the placement of any foster child with a foster parent that is contracted directly with the department of children's services, or through an agency that contracts with the department to place children in foster care, pursuant to this part.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 74.13.332

Foster parents have the right to be free of coercion, discrimination, and reprisal in serving foster children, including the right to voice grievances about treatment furnished or not furnished to the foster child.

About This NCSL Project

The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or childwelfare@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Rachel Morgan at (202) 624-3569 or by e-mail at rachel.morgan@ncsl.org.