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

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Rights of LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 424.0445; Admin. Reg. § 424.500; DCFS Policy # 0216

A provider of foster care shall ensure that each child who is placed in the foster home is treated in all respects in accordance with the child's gender identity or expression.

In regulation: The foster parent and direct care staff shall do the following:

  • Treat all children, including, without limitation, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning children, in the same respectful and nonjudgmental manner to ensure that all children feel safe and welcome in the foster home.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of a child in the care of that foster home concerning the gender identity or expression or sexual orientation of the child and shall not disclose the gender identity or expression or sexual orientation of the child without the consent of the child.
  • Allow and respect a child's gender identity or expression regarding their choice of clothing, hairstyle, makeup, and jewelry or other accessories as are appropriate for the child's age and development.
  • Address a child by the name and pronoun preferred by the child, regardless of whether the name and pronoun conform to the child's assigned sex at birth and honor the child's wishes with regard to the times and places in which the child wishes to be addressed by that preferred name and pronoun.

In policy: The purpose of Division of Child and Family Services policy is to ensure that youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, etc. (LGBTQ+) under the custody of a child welfare agency receive nondiscriminatory, safe, affirming, and nondetrimental services and interventions. The division is committed to the following:

  • Being respectful of the dignity of all children, youth, and families and providing fair and equal treatment in a professional and confidential manner
  • Keeping children and youth safe while meeting their unique needs, regardless of whether these needs are related to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression
  • Prohibiting discrimination and bias based on a child or youth's real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression

Supports for LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 629.600; DCFS Policy # 0216

A psychotherapist shall not provide any conversion therapy to a person who is younger than age 18 regardless of the willingness of the person or their parent or legal guardian to authorize such therapy. 'Conversion therapy' means any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person, including, without limitation, a practice or treatment that seeks to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward persons of the same gender.

In policy: The purpose of division policy is to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth under the custody of a child welfare agency receive nondiscriminatory, safe, affirming, and nondetrimental services and interventions, including, but not be limited to, mental health, substance abuse, foster care and adoption, and mentoring services without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (SOGIE).

The agency caseworker is responsible for identifying and making referrals for counseling, health, mental health, or other services, regardless of SOGIE. If an individual discloses that they are LGBTQ+, the youth and/or family members should be offered the opportunity for counseling and community resources to support the individual and family, if needed. Referrals must be made to community service providers who demonstrate cultural competence in working with LGBTQ+ individuals.

A child welfare agency will not make referrals to community service providers who attempt to change a youth's SOGIE by providing corrective or reparative therapy (i.e., conversion therapy). Service providers practicing such therapies must be reported to the provider's licensing board.

The agency caseworker shall identify and maintain social connections by encouraging and assisting individuals with identifying positive and permanent relationships with LGBTQ+-affirming, caring adults and peers and ensure youth and families are familiar with the resources that can facilitate the growth of such relationships.

Placement Considerations

Citation: Admin. Regs. § 424.375; DCFS Policy # 0216

The licensing authority may authorize a child whose gender identity or expression differs from the child's assigned sex at birth to share a room with a child of the opposite sex if the licensing authority determines that this arrangement is safe and in the best interests of each child. In making this determination, the licensing authority must consider the following:

  • The expressed preferences of each child
  • The recommendations of the child and family team

In policy: The child welfare agency will facilitate recruitment and retention of supportive foster or adoptive parent(s) or mentors, to ensure that all persons, including LGBTQ+ individuals, shall not delay or deny mentoring services or the placement of a child or youth for adoption or into foster care.

The agency is committed to making ongoing efforts to recruit, train, support, and retain foster families who are LGBTQ+ affirming and supporting. When LGBTQ+ youth cannot safely remain in their homes, the agency will make every effort to place the youth in an LGBTQ+-affirming out-of-home placement.

Youth who identify as transgender should be placed in a home or location consistent with their individualized needs and preferences, which may be based on their stated gender identity. Exceptions include safety-based rationale as determined in consultation with a supervisor. If a residential placement is needed, the agency caseworker will consult with the residential treatment facility. Safety-based exceptions to placement decisions shall have a specific and credible basis (such as other treatment needs or aggression/violence) and will not be solely based on a SOGIE reason. Placement decisions for transgender youth will be reassessed at least monthly during the worker's monthly face-to-face visit, or as needed or requested by the youth, to review any threats, harassment, bullying, or safety concerns experienced by the youth.

Caregiver Qualifications

Citation: Admin. Reg. § 432B.195; DCFS Policy # 0216

The child welfare agency must ensure that each employee of the agency who comes into direct contact with children receives, within 90 days after employment and annually thereafter, training concerning working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning children.

In policy: All child welfare agency staff and licensed family foster homes shall have access to, and awareness of, LGBTQ+ training resources for working with LGBTQ+ youth. Agency staff and all licensed foster care homes shall ensure training is received within 90 days and annually thereafter.

Definitions

Citation: DCFS Policy # 0216

The terms used in this policy are defined as follows:

  • 'Gender identity or expression' refers to a person's gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior, regardless of the person's assigned sex at birth.
  • 'LGBTQ+' is an acronym of commonly used queer identities to refer collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, etc.
  • 'Sexual orientation' is a person's emotional, romantic, physical, and sexual attraction to persons of the same and/or different gender. Examples of sexual orientation include heterosexuality, homosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, and pansexuality.
  • 'SOGIE' is an acronym that stands for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

LGBTQ+ terminology changes over time to reflect individuals' identities. The best approach is to talk to one another, listen to how people self-identify, and use language and pronouns that work best for each person.