Today's Law As Amended

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AB-175 Foster care: rights.(2019-2020)


 Section 16001.9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

 (a) It is the policy of the state that all minors and nonminors in foster care shall have the following rights:
(1) To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where he or she is  they are  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  grooming and hygiene products, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and an age-appropriate  allowance.
(4) To receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health services. mental health, and substance use disorder services in a timely fashion that meet the needs of the youth. 
(5) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances, unless authorized by a physician. physician, without consequences or retaliation. 
(6) To contact family members, unless prohibited by court order, and to be provided with the names and contact information for  social workers, attorneys, health providers,  foster youth advocates and supporters, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and probation officers. education rights holders, and probation officers, and to contact these individuals confidentially. 
(7) To visit and contact brothers and sisters,  siblings and other family members and relatives,  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 immediately upon request  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 and cultural  services and activities of his or her  their  choice.
(11) To maintain an emancipation  a  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 a 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  age, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and  developmental level, with minimal disruptions to school attendance and educational stability.
(14) To work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level, consistent with state law.
(15) To have social contacts with people outside of the foster care system, including teachers, church members, mentors, and friends.
(16) To attend Independent Living Program classes and activities if he or she meets the age requirements. they meet the age requirements, and to not be restricted from attending as a consequence or punishment. 
(17) To attend court hearings and speak to the judge.
(18) To have storage space for private use.
(19) To be involved in the development of his or her  their  own case plan and plan for permanent placement. This involvement includes, but is not limited to, the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care,  healthcare,  with consideration of their gender identity.
(20) To review his or her  their  own case plan and plan for permanent placement, if he or she is 12 for all youth who are 10  years of age or older and in a permanent placement, and to receive information about his or her  their  out-of-home placement and case plan, including being told of changes to the plan.
(21) To be free from unreasonable searches of personal belongings.
(22) To the confidentiality of all juvenile court records consistent with existing law.
(23) 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.
(24) To be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare  court, child welfare, medical, or vital  records.
(25) To be placed with a relative or nonrelative extended family member if an appropriate and willing individual is available.
(26) To be placed in the least restrictive setting possible, regardless of age, physical health, mental health, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, juvenile court record, or status as a pregnant or parenting youth, unless a court orders otherwise.
(25) (27)  To have caregivers and child welfare personnel  caregivers, child welfare and probation personnel, and legal counsel  who have received instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in out-of-home care.
(28) To be referred to by their preferred name and gender pronoun.
(29) To maintain the privacy of their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning status and gender identity, unless they specifically permit the information to be shared, or disclosure is required to protect their health and safety, or disclosure is compelled by law or a court order.
(26) (30)  At  For all youth who are  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.
(27) (31)  To  For all youth who are 10 years of age or older, to  have access to age-appropriate, medically accurate information about reproductive health care,  healthcare,  the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections at 12 years of age or older. infections. 
(32) To review and receive copies of educational records, child welfare records, juvenile court records, and medical and mental health records at no cost to the youth until they are 26 years of age.
(33) To have reasonable access to computer technology and the internet.
(b) This section does not require and shall not be interpreted to require a foster care provider to take any action that would impair the health and safety of children in out-of-home placement.
(c) The State Department of Social Services and each county welfare department are encouraged to work with the Student Aid Commission, the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges to receive information pursuant to paragraph (26) (30)  of subdivision (a).