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Foster Care

Photo Courtesy Lambda Legal

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.


Legislation & Policy

upEND Movement


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

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania, Nationwide

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that the City of Philadelphia violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by failing to give Catholic Social Services (CSS) an exemption from the nondiscrimination provision in city contracts, even though the contract authorized exemptions and the City had granted exemptions to other providers.


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