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Promoting Well-being Through the Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R.4980), signed into law September 29, 2014, attempts to expand the opportunities for youth in foster care to participate in developmentally appropriate activities such as field trips, sleepovers and other extracurricular activities. 

The law requires states to support the healthy development of youth in care through implementing a “reasonable and prudent parent standard” for decisions made by a foster parent or a designated official for a child care institution. This standard provides designated decision-makers with the latitude to make parental decisions that support the health, safety and best interest of the child. These include involvement in extracurricular, cultural, enrichment and social activities, including opportunities for safe risk-taking, like those typically made by parents of children who are not in foster care. Through this standard, the act intends to promote “normalcy” – the ability to engage in healthy and developmentally appropriate activities that promote well-being – for all youth in care.

This guide also pays special attention to two subgroups of youth in care, LGBT youth and expecting/parenting youth in care. These two groups are particularly at risk because of extra barriers that they face due to stigma. 

To learn more, follow the link below.


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Fostering Success Michigan is a statewide initiative that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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