Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC


  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )


  ( Heading of Part 4 amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 429. )

CHAPTER 1. Foster Care Placement [16000 - 16014]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1370, Sec. 1. )


(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 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 (CASAs), 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 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 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.

(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 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, with consideration of their gender identity.

(20) To review his or her own case plan and plan for permanent placement, if he or she is 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement, and to receive information about his or her 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 records.

(25) To have caregivers and child welfare personnel 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.

(26) 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.

(27) To have access to age-appropriate, medically accurate information about reproductive health care, the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections at 12 years of age or older.

(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) of subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 385, Sec. 2. (AB 2119) Effective January 1, 2019.)