Protecting the Rights and Providing Appropriate Services to LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Out-of-Home Care - Washington

Date: January 2023

Rights of LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Foster Care

Citation: Admin. Code § 110-148-1520; Foster Youth Rights (Pub. # 22-1632)

The foster caregiver must do the following:

  • Follow all State and Federal laws regarding nondiscrimination while providing services to children in their care.
  • Support and engage with children in foster care in their care with dignity and respect regardless of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, culture, sex, or sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE).
  • Support the SOGIE of a child in foster care by using their pronouns and chosen name and respecting the child's right to privacy concerning their SOGIE.

In policy: A youth in foster care has the right to be treated fairly and equally, whatever their gender, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation and be addressed by the gender pronouns they prefer.

Supports for LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Care

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 18.130.020; 18.130.180; Admin. Code § 110-148-1520

'Conversion therapy means a regimen that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. The term includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. The term includes, but is not limited to, practices commonly referred to as 'reparative therapy'. Performing conversion therapy on a patient younger than 18 constitutes unprofessional conduct for any license holder under the jurisdiction of this chapter.

In regulation: The caregiver must connect a child in foster care with resources that supports and affirms their needs regarding race, religion, culture, and SOGIE. These resources include emotional and developmental support for a child's ethnic identity and SOGIE, educational needs, and spiritual activities in the home and community to include Tribal activities within the child's Tribal community or extended Tribal family. The child's caseworker or child's Tribal case manager can assist the caregiver with identifying these resources.

Placement Considerations

This issue is not addressed in the laws and policies reviewed.

Caregiver Qualifications

This issue is not addressed in the laws and policies reviewed.


Citation: Admin. Code § 110-148-1305

The following definitions are for the purpose of this chapter and are important to understanding these requirements:

  • 'Asexual' means the lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other individuals.
  • 'Bisexual' refers to individuals who have an emotional or physical attraction to individuals of the same and different genders.
  • 'Gay' refers to a sexual orientation to describe individuals who are emotionally or physically attracted to someone of the same gender. Gay is sometimes an umbrella term for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual community.
  • 'Gender' or 'gender identity' refers to an individual's inner sense of being female, male, a blend of both or neither, or another gender. This may or may not correspond with an individual's sex assigned at birth.
  • 'Gender expression' refers to an individual's outward communication of their gender through behavior or appearance. This may or may not conform to their sex assigned at birth or socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
  • 'Gender fluid' refers to individuals whose gender identities are flexible rather than permanent.
  • 'Intersex' is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations when the body is born with a combination of chromosomes, internal organs, or external genitalia that do not develop as expected.
  • 'Lesbian' refers to females or women who have an emotional or physical attraction for other females or women.
  • 'LGBTQIA+' is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual. The '+' represents identities not specifically named in the LGBTQIA acronym (e.g., pansexual, gender nonbinary, Two-Spirit).
  • 'Queer' is a term used to express LGBTQIA+ identities and orientations. The term is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all LGBTQIA+ individuals.
  • 'Questioning' refers to individuals who are exploring their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression at any age.
  • 'Sexual orientation' refers to an individual's emotional or physical attraction to other individuals.
  • 'SOGIE' is an acronym for sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression, which are distinct identifiers everyone has. SOGIE includes LGBTQIA+ as well as heterosexual, cisgender, and nonquestioning individuals.
  • 'Transgender'" is an umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender-affirming medical care is not a prerequisite to identify as transgender. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation.
  • 'Two-Spirit' is a modern, pan-indigenous umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender or other gender-variant, ceremonial, and social role in their cultures. Being Two-Spirit does not imply any specific sexual orientation.