The state has numerous responsibilities to children and youth in, and emancipating from, foster care. Ensuring a foster child’s medical welfare is among the most imperative of the state’s obligations. Pregnancy prevention is a unique component of medical welfare and long-term well-being. Indeed, it stands out as a responsibility that the State must fulfill to counteract the likelihood of diminished life outcomes that so many former foster children face. However, like many problems facing foster children, pregnancy is noticed, yet unaddressed; contemplated, yet unresolved.
The state’s failure to adequately address pregnancy prevention among youth in foster care is unconstitutional under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and demonstrates a significant need for reform. States must proactively address pregnancy prevention among foster children and provide age-appropriate medical care to all youth in foster care. State efforts at preventing pregnancy should be measured by the federal Child and Family Services Review, so as to ensure that states make appropriate prevention efforts and reduce the number of pregnancies among current and former foster children.
Taylor I. Dudley,
Bearing Injustice: Foster Care, Pregnancy Prevention, and the Law,
28 Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just.