HHS Proposal Aims to Require State and Tribal Agencies Ensure LGBTQ+ Youth Can Access Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placements
WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — praised an announcement today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of a proposed rule that will direct state and tribal agencies across the country to fully implement existing protections for LGBTQ+ youth in foster care.
“LGBTQ+ youth face higher risks of rejection and abuse than their peers – a reality being made worse by the wave of right-wing hate that has plunged our community into a state of emergency,” said David Stacy, HRC Vice President of Government Affairs. “This proposed rulemaking is an important step toward ensuring LGBTQ+ youth in foster care, who make up nearly one in three of the children in the foster care system, have the safe, healthy, and affirming environments they need in order to thrive. We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for proposing such a critical new rule and look forward to working together to protect these young people.”
Under the proposed rule, state and tribal foster care agencies would be required to ensure that all LGBTQ+ children are placed in safe, supportive settings that do not practice so-called “conversion therapy” and are free from abuse or discrimination. These agencies would also have to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth in care have access to evidence-based behavioral and mental health care, if needed, that is supportive of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected to be published tomorrow and then open for a 60-day comment period. HRC will be encouraging our members and supporters to submit comments during the comment window.
Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care, and that child welfare systems must do more to ensure that the trauma of foster care, where LGBTQ+ youth already face an increased risk of both negative experiences and outcomes, is never compounded by that caused by unsafe and non-affirming foster homes:
Approximately 1 out of every 3 youth in foster care is LGBTQ+
LGBTQ+ youth report higher rates of mistreatment while in care
LGBTQ+ youth report more frequent placement disruptions
LGBTQ+ youth report a higher likelihood of being placed in congregate care settings
The HRC Foundation All Children-All Families (ACAF) program partners with more than 135 foster care/adoption agencies, working to improve the services they provide to children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. These organizations serve more than 1 million clients annually in 36 states and employ more than 26,000 employees. Since 2007, thousands of child welfare professionals across the U.S. have used ACAF’s resources to enhance their efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for LGBTQ+ youth and families; in 2022 alone, ACAF provided over 12,000 hours of professional development to more than 11,000 child welfare professionals in 49 states.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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