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

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Rights of LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Foster Care

Citation: Pol. & Proc. Man. § 710

In policy: No child shall be denied the opportunity to have a permanent family based on race, color, national origin, religion, State of residence, age, disability, political belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Supports for LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Care

Citation: Code of Regs. § 114-593

The facility shall do all the following:

  • Provide a safe, stable, and humane environment.
  • Encourage a child's autonomy, respect a child's need for privacy, and consider a child's preferences and choices while providing care, supervision, and training.
  • Provide care that is respectful toward the beliefs, interpersonal styles, attitudes, and behaviors of children and families of various cultures.

A completed care plan for each child placed in a group care facility shall identify individualized goals and objectives, including all the following:

  • A description of the child's strengths, needs, and preferences
  • Any court-ordered conditions
  • Service goals for the child and the time frames for achieving those goals
  • Specific services and supports to be provided to achieve the service goals; the names of persons, agencies, or position titles responsible for providing services; and implementing any of the service goals
  • Specific indicators that service goals have been achieved
  • The plan for the child's discharge
  • Successful transition goals into adulthood, if the child is aged 14 or older
  • Plans for visits to the child by parents, other family members, and fictive kin, with the approval of the placing agency and in accordance with clients' rights standards to ensure that an appropriate relationship is maintained between the child and family members
  • Arrangements for public school attendance

Placement Considerations

Citation: Code of Regs. § 114-594

Care for youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or other sexual identities (LGBTQ+) shall consider the following:

  • The facility shall not automatically isolate or segregate LGBTQ+ youth. The facility shall not assign transgender youth to the boys' or girls' unit strictly according to their anatomical sex. The facility shall accept the gender identity of the youth in question.
  • The facility shall work with individual LGBTQ+ youth to identify the most appropriate housing assignment in a facility given the youth's specific preferences, needs, and characteristics.
  • The facility shall make assignments to a unit, room, or roommate according to the youth's preferences, personality, background, age, developmental status, health status, sophistication, social skills, behavioral history, and other factors that might influence their adjustment and contribute to a safe and successful experience.
  • The facility shall never place an LGBTQ+ youth in a room with another youth who is overtly hostile toward or demeaning of LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • To avoid subjecting a transgender youth to unnecessary risk of harm, the facility shall work with the youth to determine the best solution for using bathroom and shower facilities. Appropriate solutions might include the following:
    • Installing privacy doors or other barriers on bathroom stalls and showers that also permit reasonable staff supervision
    • Making single-use bathroom and shower facilities available to transgender youth
    • Permitting transgender youth to use the bathroom and shower facilities before or after the other youth on the unit
  • Facilities shall make similar accommodations to ensure that transgender youth have sufficient privacy when dressing and undressing.

Caregiver Qualifications

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

Definitions

Citation: Code of Regs. § 114-590

The terms listed are defined as follows:

  • 'Gender identity' means a person's internal identification or self-image as male or female, which is usually established by age 3.
  • 'Group care facility' means a residential organization, including residential institutions, residential facilities, and child care institutions, licensed by the Department of Social Services to provide temporary or long-term, full-time residential care for children on a year-round basis; emergency shelters; and group homes.
  • 'LGBTQ+' means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or other sexual identities.
  • 'Transgender person' means a person whose gender identity (their understanding of themselves as male or female) does not correspond with their anatomical sex. A transgender woman is a woman whose birth sex was male but who understands herself to be female. A transgender man is a man whose birth sex was female but who understands himself to be male.