Ask NCYL: If I’m in Foster Care can I still live with my child?

You’ve sent us your questions about sex, pregnancy, and parenting rights. Each month, we’ll pick one to answer here on the blog. Check out our latest Q&A below!

First of all it’s important to know that even if you’re in foster care, that doesn’t mean your child will enter foster care as well. Children are put into foster care if their parent or guardian can no longer take care of them. If you’re able and willing to take care of your child, they can live with you. No one can take your child away from you just because you’re under 18 or live in foster care. But you must care for your child just like any other parent.

If you’re staying with a foster family or group home, they may receive extra money if your child stays there with you. But depending on your foster care situation, you may need to move to a new placement if you’re pregnant and want to have the child. If you become pregnant and decide to have the baby, make sure to speak with your social worker, lawyer, and foster parents. You can all come together to decide whether the foster home you’re in will be the right place for you, or if you need to find a new place to stay.

If you are not taking good care of your child, Child Protective Services might ask you to give up custody. If you choose to give up custody, it may be very difficult to get your child back, even after you turn 18 or leave foster care. Don’t give up your child unless you have thought about it very carefully, talked to a lawyer, and talked to a trusted adult.

Learn more about your health rights while in Foster Care by visiting the Foster Care Section in our Youth Legal Guide. 

 

ASK NCYL: Can I get kicked out of school for being pregnant or being a parent?

You’ve sent us your questions about sex, pregnancy, and parenting rights. Each month, we’ll pick one to answer here on the blog. Check out our answers below!

 

No! You have the right to stay in school if you become pregnant or a teen parent.  Your school cannot treat you unfairly or harass you just because you’re pregnant or have a child; the school also can’t kick you out or force you to go to a different school.

In California, you have to stay in school until you are 18, you graduate, or you get a certificate of proficiency. Once you become pregnant or a parent, you can stay in your current school, but you also can choose to leave your current school and find a new one that might better meet the new needs you face as a pregnant or parenting teen. You can go to a continuation program, a GED program, adult education classes, community college, or a special school for pregnant and parenting teens. The choice is yours.

If you do decide to look into a different school, try to find out as much about that school as possible. Ask whether the school has flexible schedules, what degrees they offer, and what kinds of programs they may have for pregnant and parenting teens. Talk to trusted adults, your school counselor, teachers, and recent graduates of programs you’re interested in to get a better sense of what you can expect.

There are programs that will help you regardless of what school you’re in. You can find out more about these programs here.

As a teen parent, you have unique rights when it comes to staying in school and completing your education. Make sure to visit the School and Education section of our Youth Legal Guide for a complete guide to your rights in school as a teen parent.

How Can I Prevent Pregnancy?

You can prevent pregnancy by getting birth control from a health care provider before you have sex and using that birth control in the correct way. You can also pick up condoms from a health care provider or pharmacy.

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When to Test

Timing is important – if you take a pregnancy test too early, it might show a negative result (not pregnant) even if you are pregnant!

To get an accurate pregnancy test result, you should take the test:

  • 14 days after you had sex, or
  • at least one day after your period is late.

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