Healthy Sexuality for Youth in Foster Care: Tip Sheet

Partnering with Youth to Promote Their Health and Safety

Parents and caregivers play an important role in keeping youth in foster care safe by promoting healthy behaviors. Research suggests a lack of parental monitoring is linked to a range of risky adolescent behaviors, including risky sexual behavior.1 When caregivers work together with youth to set rules and expectations, it’s easier to keep youth healthy and safe.

Risk taking in adolescence and how parents and caregivers can provide support

During adolescence, youth are rapidly learning new skills, discovering who they are, and increasingly taking risks.

  • Positive risks- Some risks are healthy and give youth the opportunity to have new experiences and learn new skills, such as driving for the first time, joining a school club, or meeting new people.
  • Negative risks- Some risks are associated with unhealthy behavior, such as drinking and driving, smoking, vaping, using drugs, or having unprotected sex.

Parents and caregivers play a critical role in ensuring youth stay safe and have opportunities to take positive risks and grow in a supportive environment. Parents and caregivers can work with youth to set expectations and rules that promote health and well-being and help youth avoid negative risks.


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