Research has shown that teens in foster care are at an increased risk for unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, teen girls in foster care are two and a half times more likely than their peers not in foster care to get pregnant by age 19. This research suggests that a concerted effort is necessary to address the problem of unplanned pregnancy among California’s male and female foster youth and NMDs.
This plan was developed by the Healthy Sexual Development Workgroup. The group’s goals included development of a statewide pregnancy prevention plan for youth and NMDs placed in foster care in California, and developing best practices for addressing healthy sexual development through the reasonable and prudent parent standard.The workgroup included stakeholders representing the following state agencies and external organizations: the CDSS, California Department of Health Care Services, Child Welfare Directors Association, Chief Probation Officers of California, Foster Care Public Health Nurses, California Planned Parenthood Education Fund, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, National Center for Youth Law, Children’s Law Center of California, John Burton Foundation, Child Welfare Council, Children Now, California Youth Connection, Independent Living Program coordinators from various counties, administrators of multiple foster family agencies and group homes, foster parents and former foster youth.
California’s Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy for Youth and Non-Minor Dependents is intended to provide all categories of foster caregivers, group home providers, county social workers, probation officers, and other relevant parties with suggested strategies that will assist parties to address, communicate, and act upon the sexual health needs of youth and NMDs. The plan also provides the required and recommended guidelines to describe the duties and responsibilities of foster care providers, county social workers and probation officers in delivering unintended pregnancy prevention services and information. The plan seeks to provide county agencies with a framework to develop and deliver pregnancy prevention curricula, policies, and education materials.
County agencies lacking policies and procedures in providing guidelines regarding the reproductive and sexual health of youth and NMDs are encouraged to develop or adopt the state’s prevention plan. For county agencies that currently have said policies and procedures in place, these counties are instructed to include the guidelines developed in the state’s prevention plan into their existing policies and procedures. County agencies are encouraged, whenever possible, to use culturally inclusive, trauma informed and evidenced based practices in all aspects of providing education and training surrounding pregnancy prevention, sexual health, and other intervention strategies.