Client Rights and Responsibilities
Families United Network, Inc. policy states that every child and youth in our care, and available parent, be informed of specific child rights as outlined by the Department of Public Welfare and applicable state and federal laws. No child may be deprived of specific rights or civil rights. Rights may not be used as a reward or sanction. Child rights are reviewed and signed by the child, if they are 7 years of age or older, upon placement in foster care. In addition, the child rights are also outlined in our legal parent handbook which is sent with the placement letter to all legal parents. Procedures to file grievances and properly report violations of a child’s rights are included in our agency grievance policy which is reviewed by each foster child 7 years of age or older and their legal parent(s).
Upon placement in our foster care program, the assigned Families United Network, Inc. Case Manager will review the Child Rights and Responsibilities form with the child, if they are 7 years of age or older, and have him/her sign the form verifying that this information has been reviewed and that they understand their rights. In addition, Families United Network, Inc. will send every parent a copy of the Legal Parent Handbook, which outlines the specific rights of their child while they are in the program.
Specific child rights include:
1. A child may not be discriminated against because of race, color, religious creed, disability, handicap, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age or sex.
2. A child may not be abused, mistreated, threatened, harassed or subject to corporal punishment.
3. A child has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
4. A child has the right to be informed of the rules of the agency and foster home.
5. A child has the right to communicate with others by telephone subject to reasonable agency
policy and written instructions from the contracting agency or court, if applicable, regarding
circumstances, frequency, time, payment and privacy.
6. A child shall have the right to visit with family at least one time every two weeks as directed by the placing agency.
7. A child has the right to receive and send mail.
a. Outgoing mail may not be opened or read by staff persons.
b. Incoming mail from Federal, State or county officials, or from the child’s attorney, may not be opened or read by staff persons.
c. Incoming mail from persons other than those specified in paragraph (b) may not be opened or read by staff persons unless there is reasonable suspicion that contraband, or other information or material that may jeopardize the child’s health, safety or well-being, may be enclosed. If there is reasonable suspicion that contraband, or other information that may jeopardize the child’s health or safety, may be enclosed, mail may be opened by the child in the presence of a staff person.
8. A child has the right to communicate and visit privately with his attorney and clergy
9. A child has the right to receive service in a manner that is non-coercive and protects the person’s right to self-determination.
10. child has the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.
11.A child has the right to practice the religion or faith of choice, or not to practice any religion or faith.
12. A child has the right to appropriate medical, behavioral health and dental treatment.
13. A child has the right to rehabilitation and treatment.
14. A child may not be subjected to unusual or extreme methods of discipline, which may cause psychological or physical harm to the child.
15. A child has the right to clean, seasonal clothing that is age and gender appropriate.
16. A child, as well as their legal families and/or legal guardians, have the right to participate in decisions regarding the services provided.
17. A child has the right to discuss any complaints following the Families United Network, Inc. Grievance Policy.
18. A child has the right to access a Families United Network employee 24-hours a day; 7 days a week.
19. A child has the right to receive appropriate educational services.
20. A child has the right to request a respite with another approved resource family.
21. A child has the right to be represented in court by an attorney.
22. A child has the right to maintain all their personal possessions.
23. A child has the right to receive guidance beginning at the age of 16 on how to plan for life as an independent youth.
24. A child has the right to receive information about the reasons why s/he is getting help from Children and Youth Services and help explaining the situation to others
25. A child has the right to receive help coping with separation from their family.
26. A child has the right to age-appropriate supervision and non-physical disciplinary methods.
27. A child has the right to refuse any service, treatment, or medication, unless mandated by law or court order. A child will be informed of the consequences of such refusal which could result in the termination or discharge from the program.
Responsibilities & Expectations:
Children in care are expected to follow the steps listed within the service plans from Families United Network, and the placing county agency. Children must also follow any requirements dictated by the county court system and are also expected to follow the rules of the resource family household and community. Children also have the responsibility to inform their Families United Network, Inc. case manager of any safety concerns or problems as they arise. In the event a child is uncooperative or fails to meet the appropriate responsibilities and expectations, their need for further services will be re-evaluated. This may result in a discharge or termination of services with Families United Network, Inc.