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Coming into foster care can make a child feel powerless, frightened, and confused. The attached pamphlet, “Children’s Rights,” reassures teens in care that they have rights and advocates.

Before reading the pamphlet, ask the teens what their rights are in care and how they learned what those rights are. (Answers include: The right to have a meeting with family members and social workers within three days of entering care, the right to a social worker and a law guardian, the right to see their siblings.) They will end up educating and advising each other during the discussion.

Ask them if they’ve met their law guardian. Then ask those who answer “Yes” how they found out about that lawyer and how long it took to meet her or him after entering foster care. Again, by comparing notes, the teens will encourage and advise each other and in the process get some practice advocating.

Then go around the room and have each teen read a paragraph of “Children’s Rights.” Ask them if this changes their viewpoint on the foster care system at all, and/or gives them ideas for making their situations better.