Extended foster care: family planning services

Q: I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a youth who will soon turn 18 and intends to participate in extended foster care. Once she turns 18, does she still need the permission of her social worker, attorney or a judge to access family planning services, such as getting a prescription for contraception?

A: No. In fact, the young woman did not require the consent of any of these parties before age 18. There are a number of services that minors of any age may consent to in California, including medical care related to pregnancy, contraception, abortion and emergency medical services among others. Other services require a youth to be 12 years of age in order to consent. These include outpatient mental health services, drug and alcohol abuse treatment and shelter services among others. At age 15, a minor may consent for their general medical care under certain specific circumstances. 

The National Youth Law Center has developed a user-friendly fact sheet that summarizes California minor consent and confidentiality laws, which includes all applicable legal citations.

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