Know Your Rights
Knowing Your Rights: A Handbook for Kids in Foster Care
Click to download: Knowing Your Rights: A Handbook for Kids in Foster Care, Copyright 2011, Updated 2014, Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, All Rights Reserved.
Special thanks for the in-kind contributions: of Thomson Reuters for printing the “Knowing Your Rights” handbook, and Rea Koren for her graphic design and layout of this handbook.
Please contact CLC for permission before making multiple copies of the Knowing Your Rights handbook, or to request a published copy or copies, please call: (651) 644-4438.
Ratified in Congress Hall, Philadelphia Saturday April 28, 1973.
EVEN more than for other children, society has a responsibility along with parents for the well-being of foster children. Citizens are responsible for acting to ensure their welfare.
EVERY foster child is endowed with the rights inherently belonging to all children. In addition, because of the temporary or permanent separation from and loss of parents and other family members, the foster child requires special safeguards, resources, and care.
CLC has also developed helpful information for people of all ages to understand their rights and legal options in different situations. Click here to download the brochure you are interested in:
- youth guide to EXPUNGEMENT – how expungement of criminal records can help people overcome some of the obstacles that come from having a criminal record
- can I be EMANCIPATED? – what Minnesota law says about emancipation, and options available to young people interested in emancipation
- right to VOTE – learn all the basics about voter registration, rights, and the voting process
- right to WORK – basic employment rights all young people should know
- requesting and consenting to MEDICAL PROCEDURES – understand the types of medical care youth can request and consent to on their own
- rights of PREGNANT TEENS / rights of TEENAGE PARENTS – options for pregnant teens, and information about the rights of teen mothers and fathers
- INCOME TAX rights and responsibilities – understand your responsibilities for paying taxes, filing a tax return, and how to get started
- CREDIT CARDS rights and responsibilities / CONSUMER CREDIT / and IDENTITY THEFT – important about credit and credit cards, and how to protect yourself from identity theft
Resources for Foster Youth in Transition to Adulthood
CLC has put together four brochures for Minnesota metro area foster care children who are in the process of transitioning out of foster care. These brochures contain a comprehensive listing of housing, healthcare, education, and employment resources available to youth and young adults. Read More.
A tool for developing a youth-driven transition plan using a team approach. A transition plan is an investment in the future – your future, if you are a young person leaving foster care or the future of someone you know, if you are a caring adult wanting to help someone with that transition. The FosterClub Transition Toolkit includes an overview of the skills, knowledge and resources needed for young people leaving foster care to prepare for life on their own as young adults. Read More.
Click here for more information on scholarships and other funding for foster and former foster youth.
Higher Education for Foster Youth
This website will give you access and information on how to fill out a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. All persons applying to colleges, universities, vocational, or technical schools must fill out the FAFSA form.
- FOR ALL FOSTER YOUTH IN CARE WHEN THEY ARE 18: On the FAFSA Form, answer yes to the question “Are you an orphan, or are you or were you (until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court?” Answering “Yes” will maximize your chance of getting Pell Grants (monies you do not pay back to the government). Also, it will maximize the aid you get on loans that do not acquire interest.
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
This website will help you find information on all of the public colleges, universities, vocational, and technical schools in Minnesota, except the University of Minnesota. This website will also provide the language of the tuition waiver in the Board Policies section. Procedure 5.12.2 explains the terms of the tuition waiver for state wards, youth whose parents’ rights have been terminated and the state of Minnesota is their legal guardian until they reach the age of 21. www.mnscu.edu/board/policy/index.html
Orphan Foundation of America
This is the Orphan Foundation website. It will provide scholarship information for foster youth who wish to find funding for higher education.
Other Links/ Resources
CLC has developed a comprehensive resource guide for youth experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. This guidebook contains information about the various organizations that provide services for youth, including legal services, shelter, housing, medical services, clothing, food, mental health services, and advocacy. The Resources for Youth Experiencing Homelessness guide can be downloaded here.
FosterClub is the national network for young people in foster care. Every two minutes, a child’s life changes as they enter the foster care system. Currently, there are over 513,000 young people in foster care across America. FosterClub is their club — a place to turn for advice, information, and hope. They offer free forms and resources for foster youth and caregivers, have a great question & answer page for foster care youth, and same great resources for grownups who want to get involved.
The Healthy Foster Care America (HFCA) Web site was developed as a place where foster parents, caregivers, professionals and organizations can find the latest information, facts, and figures on the health care of children and teens in foster care, including ready-to-use tools and resources. Resources include: Expert information on the health issues and needs of children and teens in foster care, customizable forms for health care professionals, links to www.HealthyChildren.org, and portal of resources for children and teens in care, parents (foster and birth) and kin.
United Way First Call
Call for help if you need a number that’s not listed here.
For ADDITIONAL RESOURCES for CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULTS click here.