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

Date:

Rights of LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Foster Care

Citation: CFSA Admin. Iss. # CFSA-20-1

In policy: Youth in foster care have a right to and must be provided with regular, high-quality care from health professionals, including individualized medical and behavioral health care and counseling. They should feel safe and supported in exercising their right to ask medical professionals treating them about any physical or mental health matters, including those pertaining to sexual orientation, gender identity, therapy treatment, and reassignment surgery. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) staff and resource providers have the obligation to maintain their confidentiality and to support youth throughout their discernment of and the development of their gender identity and expression.

Supports for LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Care

Citation: D.C. Code § 7-1231.14a; CFSA Admin. Iss. # CFSA-20-1

A mental health services provider shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a consumer who is a minor. A violation of this section shall be considered a failure to conform to acceptable conduct within the mental health profession and shall subject a provider to discipline and penalties.

In policy: CFSA's gender-affirmative care focuses on providing developmentally appropriate case management that is oriented toward understanding and appreciating the youth's gender experience. Social workers and nurse care managers (NCMs) are to facilitate the youth's and family's access to gender-affirming medical, mental health, and social services, including specific resources and supports for caregivers, parents, and families. This includes the provision of referrals to specialized gender-affirmative therapists who can assist the youth and family with building skills for dealing with gender-based stigma, address symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reinforce the child's overall resiliency.

Youth in the District of Columbia foster care system have a right and must be provided with regular, high-quality care from health professionals, including individualized medical and behavioral health care and counseling. They should feel safe and supported in exercising their right to ask medical professionals treating them about any physical or mental health matters, including those pertaining to sexual orientation, gender identity, therapy treatment, and reassignment surgery. CFSA staff and resource providers have the obligation to maintain their confidentiality and to support youth throughout their discernment of and the development of their gender identity and expression.

Placement Considerations

Citation: CFSA Admin. Iss. # CFSA-20-1

Social workers, NCMs, and resource providers (i.e., foster parents and congregate care providers) should establish strong, nonjudgmental partnerships with children and families and create a supportive environment within which to help them navigate complicated emotions and gender-diverse expressions.

Caregiver Qualifications

Citation: D.C. Code § 4-754.21a

All service-provider employees, including intake workers, shall be trained in trauma-informed care, civil rights and other legal compliance, conflict resolution, and cultural competence, including the following regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) population:

  • Vocabulary and best practices for data collection, privacy, storage, and use
  • Current social science research and common risk factors for LGBTQ youth
  • Information about the coming-out process and its impact on LGBTQ youth
  • Best practices for supporting LGBTQ youth in shelter, housing, and supportive services
  • Suicide awareness and prevention
  • Legal requirements for providers for homeless youth

Definitions

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