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Abstract

Youth in the foster care system often have no one person who is clearly authorized to make medical decisions for them. From a caseworker insisting upon a vaccine to a birth parent refusing permission for psychotropic medication, the evidence supports the argument that who makes these decisions matters for children’s rights. The Author reviewed relevant laws and policies, surveyed stakeholders to understand actual practices, then interviewed a subset of these stakeholders to get further details about who decides what care a young person receives. This Article argues that policies should be nuanced but consistent, promoting birth parent involvement and family reunification while acknowledging real timelines.

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