Recommended duties and responsibilities are defined for case managers in section III, items H-K, in “California’s Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy for Youth and Non-Minor Dependents.” The following section of this guide will expand upon these recommendations and provide practical guidance to assist case managers with understanding this work.
H. Have Open and Honest Conversations with Foster Youth
Open and honest communication is a critical ingredient of any relationship and helps build trust and rapport between the youth and case manager. Case managers need to be having open and honest conversations with foster youth younger than age 12 about puberty, body image, healthy relationships and sexual/reproductive health topics at a developmentally and emotionally appropriate level. Case managers should recognize this topic can be sensitive and/or uncomfortable. Case managers should remember to assess and be considerate of the youth’s feelings, and ask if they have a particular person that they trust and feel comfortable speaking with. Children and youth need a lot of guidance and information about healthy relationships, sex, the risks of STIs, and other related topics, even if they don’t appear to be interested. Therefore, the case manager needs to ensure foster youth have a designated person they feel comfortable to speak to. Building rapport with youth is a skill that requires the absence of judgment, an establishment of trust and assuming nothing. Be sensitive to youth’s development and needs to help foster a trusting relationship.
I. Include Reproductive and Sexual Health Education as a Case Management Service Objective
The case manager should include reproductive and sexual health education as a Case Management Service Objective for foster youth age 10 years-old and older as well as NMDs. Reproductive and sexual health education should always be provided at a developmentally and emotionally appropriate level. Case managers should engage in age appropriate conversations with foster youth regarding reproductive health and confer with the youth’s school to see what topics have been, or will be, discussed in their comprehensive sexual health and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention curriculum. By understanding what a youth is learning in their sexual health and HIV prevention curriculum, case managers can communicate with youth and help youth develop future goals to help minimize their chances of experiencing an unintended pregnancy or other sexual consequences.
J. Document in a Manner to Ensure the Foster Youth’s Privacy
The case manager should document foster youth reproductive and sexual health care services information in a sensitive manner to ensure privacy and compliance with federal and state confidentiality laws. Case managers should have conversations with foster youth about sharing or discussing their personal and confidential information with others to ensure that their information is safe and handled with care and respect.
The ACL 16-32 shares instructions with case managers for entering information about a pregnancy on the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS). Following these instructions will avoid this private information becoming a part of the youth’s Health and Education Summary, which frequently gets disseminated via court reports and placement paperwork to many adults in the youth’s life. For additional information on documenting pregnancy information in a sensitive manner on CWS/CMS, please refer to ACL 16-32.
K. Provide Foster Youth with Information to Make Medical Appointments
The case manager should provide foster youth with information about how to make doctor appointments, including a list of medical provider options and the youth’s medical insurance information. As a resource, case managers can download copies of the Foster Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights brochure at http://cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Foster-Care/Healthy-Sexual-Development-Project located in the Youth and Young Adults resource section. This brochure is designed specifically for foster youth and contains various topics of suggested questions to ask, such as a section entitled “Questions to Ask Your Doctor.”