Mental Health Bill of Rights for Foster Youth
Knowledge is power. We believe that if foster youth have a better understanding of their rights when it comes to mental healthcare, they can be powerful advocates for themselves and others. That’s why we partnered with California Youth Connection (CYC) and the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) to create the Mental Health Bill of Rights for Foster Youth.
The Mental Health Bill of Rights is meant to outline some of the legal rights of California foster youth within the public mental health system. The content is based on an original list of mental health rights developed by the Voices of the Unheard Taskforce, a group formed by members of CYC. Young Minds joined this project to help spearhead research needed to connect the needs expressed by foster youth in accessing mental health services to existing legal authority and best practice standards.
The document was prepared on behalf of the California Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS) and Department of Social Services (CDSS) Quality Improvement Youth and Family Education Workgroup with input from mental health stakeholders. Young Minds is continuing to work with our partners to develop a “youth friendly” version of the Mental Health Bill of Rights to share with young people throughout the state. If you are interested in being involved in this effort, please contact us.
It is important to note that simply knowing your rights isn’t always enough. Foster youth are encouraged to reach out to trusted adults who can offer support and help answer questions if they think their rights have been violated. These adults might include social workers, CASA volunteers, attorneys, and foster parents.