1. Introduction to SB 89

CA Foster Youth Sexual Health Education Act (SB 89)

In July 2017, California adopted a new law requiring comprehensive sexual health education for youth in foster care and new training requirements for foster caregivers, social workers and judges. This legislation (Senate Bill 89) has four specific requirements:

  • Improve Access to Sexual Health Education 
  • Inform Youth of Their Rights and Remove Barriers
  • Develop Quality Sexual Health Training
  • Require Sexual Health Education for Adults

Background

Advocacy for health protection and services for foster youth goes back to the very beginning of child welfare. But the specifics of SB 89, which mandates this training can be found in the materials produced by a convening held in 2015 by a committee of the Child Welfare Council—the Child Development and Successful Youth Transitions Committee. At this convening, a wealth of stakeholders, including former foster youth, identified the core needs and protections that foster youth need related to their sexual and reproductive wellness. The group generated recommendations about sexual health services, support, and education in child welfare.
Around the same time, CDSS developed their Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy, which carries many of the same ideas and interventions.

2016 CDSS formed the Healthy Sexual Development Work group, made up of the state’s foremost topic experts and stakeholders, began meeting and generating guidance, assembling resources, and providing leadership for the state about sexual and reproductive wellness in foster care.

2016 CA Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) mandated Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV Education—this law has very clear, important goals, and is an important parallel to SB 89. An FAQ sheet about CHYA is located in the Trainee Guide.

2017 Foster Youth Sexual Health Education Act. The goals of CHYA are important for all young people, and it became clear that foster youth and non-minor dependents (NMD) needed more intentional support to ensure that they received this mandated comprehensive sexual and reproductive education.