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May 2023Vol. 24, No. 4Tip Sheet Promotes Healthy Sexuality for Youth in Foster Care

Taking risks can be a healthy, rewarding part of growing up. Joining school clubs, meeting new people, and learning to drive for the first time are examples of positive risk-taking. However, some adolescent risk-taking—especially for youth in foster care—is often associated with negative behaviors like smoking, drinking and driving, or having unprotected sex.

A new tip sheet from the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focuses on risky sexual behavior in adolescence and how parents and caregivers can support the youth in their care and keep them safe. The six-page resource, which is part of FYSB’s “Healthy Sexuality for Youth in Foster Care: An Online Training for Parents and Caregivers of Youth in Foster Care” (discussed in the Training and Conferences section of this issue of CBX), emphasizes the importance of parents and youth working together to set rules and expectations that encourage healthy behaviors and avoid negative risks. It also provides parents with practical guidance on communicating openly and regularly with youth about the following topics:

  • Navigating romantic and sexual relationships
  • Staying safe online
  • Explicit material
  • Sex trafficking and recognizing the warning signs

Additionally, considerations specific to youth in care are highlighted. Supplemental resource lists for parents, caregivers, and youth appear at the end of the document and cover a variety of related topics, such as social media, bullying and cyberbullying, online privacy and digital awareness, teen dating violence, consent, exploitation, and more.

The Healthy Sexuality for Youth in Foster Care: Tip Sheet was developed by Mathematica under contract with the FYSB.