Your Rights

Some people say kids don’t have any rights. Other people say kids have all the same basic rights that adults have. What are rights anyway? There are human rights and legal rights and even civil rights. Some apply to all people and some apply only to specific groups.

Kids do have some rights, and there are even some special ones for children in foster care. You can read about those in this Bill of Rights for Children in Foster Care (PDF, 11kb).

Every child in a foster care placement has the right to tell someone that you don’t like the way you are being treated in your placement. There is a word for this—it’s called a “grievance.” If you don’t know who to tell at your foster care agency or group home, your caseworker or your Guardian ad Litem (remember, that’s your lawyer) will help you report your grievance.

Some agencies advocate just for children. That means they are on your side and speak for what you or all children need. Some of them have websites you might want to look at, including the Juvenile Law Center and PA Partnerships.

When you become a teenager, you start thinking about your rights more and more. Teens want to know what privileges they have and what responsibilities come with those privileges. Teens who are 16 and older and in foster care often think about these things as part of an Independent Living Program. Our State has a website especially for teens involved with Independent Living that you can visit.

On that website is a really good guide called Know Your Rights. Check it out; it’s full of good stuff that you need to know.

Boys playing
You do have rights and what you want is a big factor in deciding what your living situation will look like. Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself.

Related Files

Bill of rights for Children in Foster Care

Know Your Rights: A guide for Youth in Substitute Care