As National Foster Care Month Comes to End, Juvenile Law Center Launches Know Your Rights Guide for Older Youth in Foster Care

Katy Otto,

National children’s rights public interest law firm shares resource for youth aging out of care


Philadelphia, PA (May 28, 2020): Today Juvenile Law Center, the first national public interest law firm for children’s rights, announced the launch of its newest tool – a Know Your Rights guide for older youth in the child welfare system in Pennsylvania. This guide will provide youth in Pennsylvania with information about their legal rights in the child welfare system and how they can best advocate for themselves. The guide is presented in a question-and-answer format and covers many of the issues that are important to youth in and leaving the child welfare system. It is also a valuable resource for individuals who work with youth in the foster care system.

“We hope this Guide provides young people crucial information about their rights and ways they can use their rights to advocate for themselves and have more control over their future,” said Senior Attorney Jenny Pokempner. “Youth must be included in the important decisions impacting their lives.  Knowledge of their rights and how to navigate the child welfare system is essential for them to play an active and informed role.” 

The Guide covers issue areas such as permanency (or finding family), education, career and training, health insurance access, special considerations for youth with disabilities, and more. It will be available both as a web-based tool and for download in PDF form.  Attorney Christina Sorenson, who led the project, states that “being in foster care, I often felt hopeless, powerless and forgotten.  When I first discovered I had rights that would be enforced, I began to believe that my voice mattered – I mattered. I hope this Guide helps empower youth in care in Pennsylvania in the same way.”

Sue Mangold, CEO at Juvenile Law Center, applauds the publication of the Know Your Rights Guide. “This resource puts critical information directly into the hands of youth to advocate for themselves. It is very comprehensive so is also invaluable for professionals who advocate for youth in and leaving foster care.”

Ms. Pokempner is available for comment and interview. We will also be holding a webinar about the Guide on June 18th at 3pm EST – contact for more details.

About the Expert

Katy Otto joined Juvenile Law Center in 2016. With a background in communications, development and government relations, she is responsible for the organization’s overall messaging strategy and implementation. She is passionate about youth justice, and committed to ensuring that the public learns about the challenges facing youth in the child welfare and justice systems. Prior to coming to Juvenile Law Center, Otto worked at a number of organizations dedicated to social justice issues – reproductive health and rights, sexual violence prevention, intimate partner violence, homelessness, and