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February 2018Vol. 19, No. 1Updated Handbook Addresses Rights and Responsibilities of Youth in Foster Care

The Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OYAB) has issued an updated handbook on the rights and responsibilities of youth in foster care. The handbook was first published in 2009 by a team of young adults formerly in foster care to inform youth in foster care about their rights and responsibilities and to help them understand that there are people who care about them and want them to succeed. The handbook was developed to advise youth on how to talk to someone if their rights are violated.

The updated handbook includes the following categories of foster youth rights and responsibilities:

  • Spirituality and religion
  • Privacy
  • Case plan
  • Living environment
  • Staying safe
  • Support and guidance
  • Right to protection
  • Mental and physical health
  • Personal items
  • Basic needs
  • Communicating with others
  • Being responsible
  • Education

The updated handbook also addresses the rights and responsibilities of caseworkers and caregivers, the process of leaving foster care, independent living, how to find additional resources, and frequently asked questions. It includes real-life stories from current and former foster care youth about their experiences in foster care. Former OYAB president Alex McFarland explains in the introduction to the handbook that its underlying message is "You are important, you are loved, and you have a voice that nobody can take away."

The Foster Youth Rights Handbook is available at (1,430 KB).