Foster Youth Mental Health Bill of Rights
As a foster youth in California you have some legal rights when it comes to your public mental health care.
You have the right to receive mental health services and supports.
You have the right to receive information about your mental health, including your diagnosis and available treatment options, in a way that is easy to understand and age appropriate.
You have the right to participate in decisions made about what mental health treatments, services, and medications they receive.
You have the right to receive needed mental health services and supports in a timely fashion.
You have the right to receive mental health services and supports in the least restrictive environment appropriate to meet your individual needs.
You who are twelve or older have the right to privately seek and consent to outpatient mental health counseling and treatment (except for psychotropic medications).
You have the right to take only medication or other chemical substances that are authorized by a doctor.
You have the right to be informed about the risks and benefits of psychotropic medications in an age appropriate manner.
You have the right to tell your doctor that they disagree with any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication. You have the right to go to the judge and say you disagree with any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medications. (You are encouraged to talk to your attorney first to make sure the youth does not say something against his or her interests.
You have the right to ask for mental health services, including reassessments regarding your diagnoses and your prescriptions for psychotropic medications.
You have the right to work with your prescribing doctor in order to safely stop taking psychotropic medications.
You have the right to be able to contact your mental health treatment providers.
If you are twelve or older you have the right to confidentiality when speaking with your therapist or doctor. With a few limited exceptions, a health care provider must get permission from you if you are twelve or older before sharing confidential medical information with others. (You are encouraged to ask your therapist or doctor what information will or will not be kept confidential and who the provider is allowed to share the information with.)
You have a right to keep your medical information and diagnoses confidential and only shared with those authorized to know this information for the purposes of arranging for, coordinating, and providing health care services and medical treatment to the youth.
You have the right to see and get a copy of your court record. (If you are twelve or older you have the right to see and get a copy of your medical and mental health records.(You can request your mental health records, but if a health care provider determines that seeing these records would be harmful to you they can refuse your request.)
You have the right to continue receiving mental health treatment when your placement changes, including when they are moved to a different county.
You who are in foster care on your 18th birthday have the right to continue to receive health care, including mental health services, through Medi-Cal until age 26 regardless of your income level.
Resources & Contacts
Do you think your rights have been violated? Do you want to speak with someone about questions or concerns you have? Help is available!
Foster youth are encouraged to reach out to trusted adults who can offer support and help answer questions. These adults might include social workers, CASA volunteers, attorneys, and foster parents.
Foster youth can also contact any of the resources listed below. They can listen to
concerns, answer questions, document complaints, and provide feedback on what steps foster youth can take to advocate for your mental health rights.
California State Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman
Toll Free: (877) 846-1602
California Office of Patients’ Rights
Disability Rights California
Toll Free: (800) 776-5746, (800) 719-5798 TTY
California Mental Health Ombudsman
Toll Free: (800) 896-4042, (800) 896-2512 TTY
The Foster Youth Mental Health Bill of Rights is for informational purposes only.
The information provided should not be construed or relied on as legal advice on any issue.