All Children - All Families: LGBTQ Considerations for Safety Plans

We know that LGBTQ youth too often face abuse and neglect around their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE), and that this rejection increases their risk for HIV infection, suicide, and homelessness. As such, your agency’s safety plan should include considerations of the unique risk factors for LGBTQ youth at all points in the placement process (e.g. finding affirming families, supporting and training resource parents, etc.); especially for LGBTQ young people who come out to a family that is not affirming.

Tips for Laying the Foundation for Safety

Identify points in the placement process where you can implement proactive measures to ensure all resource parents can provide an affirming home.

  • Client non-discrimination policy prohibits discrimination based on SOGIE.

    • All resource parents are informed of non-discrimination policy (website, orientation, training, etc.).

    • All youth in care are informed of SOGIE protections.

  • All resource parents are assessed on their readiness to provide an affirming home to LGBTQ or gender expansive youth during certification/licensure process with your agency.

    • Families have opportunity for support/education to improve their readiness to affirm LGBTQ youth.

    • Build the capacity of resource parents to provide affirming and loving homes to LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth.

    • Parent orientations and trainings provide LGBTQ competency education and resources.

      • See here to learn more about LGBTQ-inclusive parent preparation trainings.

Tips for developing a comprehensive safety plan

The RISE program out of the Los Angeles LGBT Center has identified the following goals for safety planning:(see page 122 of this resource )

  1. Assess the particular circumstances and risk factors of the child or youth and their family (mental health, substance use, support for LGBTQ+ identity, safety at school, group home, community)

  2. Anticipate potential crisis situations based on the challenges of the youth and family.

  3. Develop strategies to address stressful situations and prevent a crisis from happening

  4. Create a plan of action detailing how to proceed should an emergency arise

When developing the safety plan, include the following:

  • Make sure youth know about available resources and support. See staff advocate and LGBTQ competent referals page for more information.

  • Create an emergency exit plan in place that allows for immediate removal from home if required.

  • Plan for continued support or education for family if needed in order to ensure affirming behaviors