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Working With LGBTQ Youth and Families
Find information in this section about serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and families receiving child welfare services, as well as resources offering support and guidance for LGBTQ youth and their families. Resources includes State and local examples.
- Resources for LGBTQ youth
- Resources for families of LGBTQ youth
- Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families in adoption
IM-11-03: Information Memorandum To State, Tribal and Territorial Agencies Administering or Supervising the Administration of Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act, Indian Tribes and Indian Tribal Organizations: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 117 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2011)
Encourages child welfare agencies, foster and adoptive parents, and others who work with young people in foster care to ensure that children are protected and supported while they are in foster care. The memorandum includes information on workforce development; training, support, and recruitment for biological, foster, and adoptive parents and relative legal guardians; and the safety of LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Promoting Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competency: Self-Assessment Checklist for Personnel Providing Services and Supports to LGBTQ Youth and Their Families (PDF - 54 KB)
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, National Center for Cultural Competence (2012)
Offers practitioners a tool they can use to assess their awareness of the kinds of values and practices that foster a supportive environment for LGBTQ youth and their families. The checklist touches on concrete examples related to inclusive physical environments, materials, and resources; communication practices; and values and attitudes that may be of particular significance for LGBTQ youth and their families.
Getting Down to Basics
Child Welfare League of America & Lambda Legal (2010)
Provides a toolkit that offers practical tips, information, and guidance to caregivers and professionals working with LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care on an array of issues affecting LGBTQ youth as well as the adults and organizations that support and serve them. The complete toolkit (PDF - 1,219 KB) is available to download.
Information Packet: LGBTQ Youth Permanency (PDF - 704 KB)
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Presents an overview of the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth related to finding permanency and offers a factsheet, best practice tips, a description of a model program, a listing of websites and resources, and an overview of relevant policy and legislation. A topical bibliography on LGBTQ youth and permanency is also included.
It's Your Life: Opening Doors: Improving the Legal System's Approach to LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 6,482 KB)
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law
Explains the child welfare system to LGBTQ youth and provides information about what to expect regarding legal processes, the professionals they may meet while in out-of-home care, and typical child welfare placements. The handbook also addresses LGBTQ youth's rights while receiving child welfare services, available supports and services, and guidance for youth who are emancipating from the child welfare system.
Permanency for LGBTQ Youth (PDF - 1,270 KB)
Protecting Children, 26(1)
Discusses promising practices and approaches to finding permanency for LGBTQ youth in foster care and considers how agencies can address youth's needs in a changing child welfare system. The article reviews the concept of permanency for LGBTQ adolescents and explores each of the permanency options available.
A Place of Respect: A Guide For Group Care Facilities Serving Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth (PDF - 589 KB)
Marksamer, Spade, & Arkles (2011)
National Center for Lesbian Rights & Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Offers information and tools to help group care facilities provide transgender and gender nonconforming youth with appropriate and informed care. The guide also explains group care facilities' legal responsibilities towards the youth they serve and provides best practices for working with transgender and gender nonconforming youth.
Recognizing and Addressing LGBTQ Issues
American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Children's Rights Litigation
Discusses how attorneys, caseworkers, and other involved adults can help LGBTQ youth in foster care and provides information on key terms and concepts, strategies for identifying LGBTQ youth in care, and the increased difficulties faced by LGBTQ youth in cared.
Recommended Practices to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living With HIV in Child Welfare Settings
Child Welfare League of America (2012)
Provides guidance to State and local child welfare agencies on how to fulfill their professional and legal obligations to ensure safe and proper care consistent with the best interest and special needs of LGBTQ children in the child welfare system. Specific steps for implementing each of the recommendations are described.
Representing Transgender Youth: Learning From Mae's Journey (PDF - 48 KB)
ABA Child Law Practice, 29(11)
Presents advocacy tips and best practices for legal practitioners working with transgender youth and provides information on the rights of transgender youth in foster care, placement issues, medical and therapeutic services, and school services. The article explores these topics through the story of a transgender youth and her experiences with child welfare.
Resources to Support Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families
National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families (2013)
Offers information for service providers, educators, policymakers, youth, families, community members, and others who seek to support the health and well-being of children and youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and two-spirit (LGBTQI2-S) and their families. This toolkit includes a range of resources such as practice recommendations, reports, guides, existing toolkits, videos, and web-based information.
Youth in Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Provides publications related to LGBTQ youth receiving child welfare services that deal with legal issues and questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. The publications include model policies and guidelines to help agencies and professionals better serve LGBTQ youth, information on legal rights and advocating for youth, and more.
State and local examples
Representing LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems
The Legal Aid Society
Explores how The Legal Aid Society in New York City overcame challenges through internal constructive criticism and formulated a concrete action plan to improve its cultural competency and services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.
Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer Youth (PDF - 1,751 KB)
Minnesota Department of Human Services (2012)
Offers a practice guide that aims to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills among social workers and administrators in Minnesota so they may effectively and competently meet the needs of LGBTQ youth and their families. The guide includes a glossary of LGBTQ terms and a list of State and local resources.