Juvenile Law Center

Youth in Care

Placement Rules for Youth in Care in Pennsylvania

How much money should be spent on clothing for me?

There is no statewide policy on how much money should be spent on clothing for you. Your county or placement agency should explain their clothing-allowance policies to you. If you need clothes and no one is helping or answering your questions, contact your lawyer or bring it up in court.

What happens to my money?

Your money—money earned or given to you as a gift or allowance—is your personal property. But your placement or foster parents can have reasonable rules about the amount of money that you can take out and use. You should be told what these rules are. When you leave placement, your unspent money should be returned to you.

Caretakers CANNOT:

  • Physically punish you 
  • Verbally abuse you 
  • Threaten to have you removed 
  • Deny meals, clothing, or shelter 
  • Deny visits or communication with your family

Can I be punished or disciplined?

Just like in any home, a foster home, group home, or institution will have some rules as well as consequences for not following those rules. However, the law makes it clear that you cannot be physically or verbally abused as punishment.

Can I sleep over at friends’ houses?

It will depend on the policy in your county, so you should check with your caseworker. If you do sleep over somewhere, it is a good idea for the people taking care of you to make sure that the home is safe and that there is adult supervision.

Can I travel outside of Pennsylvania?

Yes—you can travel with your foster parents, placement, or school. The county child welfare agency should be provided notice of your trip and give permission. If your biological parents have not had their rights terminated, they should also be notified and give permission.

Can I go out on dates?

You should ask your caseworker if he or she has a policy on dating. If you do not agree with the rules, you should talk to your regional and state Youth Advisory Board about how to get the county to change its policy.

Can I get my driver’s license?

There is no easy yes or no answer to this question. Check with your caseworker to find out about your county’s rules and to discuss your particular situation.

Can I own a car while I am in care?

Maybe—if you can afford it, if you can find an adult willing to put you on his or her insurance, and if your placement and county allows it. Check with your caseworker, IL worker, or lawyer.


Last updated December 2011


Juvenile Law Center's fact sheets are sponsored by The Alex Benjamin Norris Memorial Fund.

Support Juvenile Law Center

One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before. Support