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. 


What does a healthy relationship look like?

*This piece was written by Brandon R., a youth member of the University of Michigan’s Adolescent Health Initiative’s Teen Advisory Council*

Relationships with others have a big impact on who we are. Healthy relationships between friends, partners, family members or significant others all have a few important traits.

All relationships involve tolerance, patience, and understanding. But despite our best efforts, everyone makes mistakes. No relationship is going to be that perfect Cinderella-esque tale of romance and love. Arguments and disagreements happen.

But sometimes, those rough patches can go too far. Then, a relationship can go from healthy to unhealthy. Here are some warning signs to take note of, so you can recognize if you’re in an unhealthy relationship. (Remember, “your partner” can refer to anyone with whom you have a relationship, including friends, family, and significant others.)

  • Your partner has physically harmed you out of anger or frustration, either on purpose or accidentally.
  • Your partner has verbally harmed you—he or she has used words to make you feel hurt or depressed
  • Your partner forces you to cut off relationships with other friends or family members
  • Your partner makes you change an aspect of yourself in order to be with them. They may pressure you to wear different clothes, get new hobbies, or change your beliefs.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, you can (and should) try to get help. You can talk to a counselor at school, speak with a trusted adult, or even seek out therapy with you and the other person where you both sit down and discussing what challenges you face.

Sometimes, these problems can’t be fixed. Unfortunately, breaking up or ending relationships is sometimes the best option for relationships that just aren’t working out. Everyone has the right to end a relationship that they no longer want to continue. If you’re having trouble ending a relationship, talk to a parent or trusted adult.

If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, there are ways to address the challenges you’re facing. The most important part of a healthy relationship is communication. One of the biggest reasons relationships fail is because of people not expressing their problems. And it makes sense—it’s sometimes difficult and awkward to talk about personal things, even with somebody really close.

Similarly, it is important for two people in a relationship to be open-minded and tolerant. Friends and partners never intentionally hurt each other (and if they do, it’s likely that they aren’t truly a friend or partner) so a compassionate attitude is essential to a long-lasting relationship. When communicating with your partner, have compassion and try to imagine yourself in their position. It may be challenging at first, but it’s a good first step towards working to keep your relationship healthy and strong.