LGBTQ youth constitute about 20% of youth in foster care—over twice their numbers in the general population. The trauma that leads to their separation from their families and communities is exacerbated when LGBTQ foster youth languish in multiple institutional settings in which they are unsafe, unseen and unsupported. NCLR advocates for child welfare policies that promote the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth by preventing their unnecessary entry into foster care, reunifying them with their families whenever possible and ensuring that they receive the love and support that all youth need to thrive.
Photo Courtesy Lambda Legal
Legislation & Policy
NCLR supports the upEND movement to end the current child welfare system and replace it with a system that focuses on keeping children safe with their families, rather than on separating and regulating families of color. The existing child welfare system disproportionately surveils and separates Black, Native, and LGBTQ families, as well as families whose members have disabilities, causing deep and lasting harm to children and families. Racism is so deeply rooted in child welfare systems’ history, policies, and practices that they are not easily modified or revised. Rather, the system as we know it has to be ended in order to ensure racial equity. The upEND movement was begun by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
Cases & Advocacy
Catholic Social Services (CSS), a foster care agency, brought the lawsuit claiming a constitutional right to discriminate against same-sex potential foster parents in violation of the agency’s contract with the City of Philadelphia and the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The district court denied CSS’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and CSS appealed.
September 18, 2018. California Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark transgender rights legislation into law last week, guaranteeing the right of California’s foster youth to access gender-affirming healthcare services. Authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria, AB 2119 is the first bill of its kind in the nation.
“Every young person in foster care deserves, and is entitled to, medically necessary health care. The harms caused by the denial or delay of medically necessary care are particularly acute for transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth, who often encounter barriers to receiving the care they need to ensure their health, safety, and well-being,” said Shannan Wilber, Youth Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.