The CPO highlights needed improvements for laws that provide protections to youth in foster care.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. The purpose of this month is to bring awareness to the plight of youth in the foster care system. We not only recognize the efforts of all those who successfully care for our foster youth, but we also take advantage of the opportunity to consider how various laws and policies impact foster youth and whether there are gaps to fill and improvements to be made.
One of the areas in need of our immediate attention is Colorado’s “Protections for Youth in Foster Care” law. This law was originally designed to provide foster youth with a variety of rights, including the right to live in safe housing, access appropriate health care and to have opportunities for normal childhood experiences. And, while these laws were originally written to empower youth so they may advocate for themselves, foster youth are often not educated about these rights — let alone provided a standard way to vocalize concerns when their safety and well-being is in jeopardy.
To mark Foster Care Awareness Month, the CPO published an issue brief detailing the deficiencies of the Colorado law that provides protections to youth in foster care and how critically important it is for us to re-invigorate this law so these protections may be of real benefit to the foster youth who must rely upon them.