LGBTQ Issues in Child Welfare
As they pertain to LGBTQ children, youth, and families, CWLA's Standards of Excellence for Family Foster Care Services do not include requirements for adults present in the home to be legally related by blood, adoption, or legal marriage. Specifically, section 3.18 of the foster care standards establishes a policy of nondiscrimination in the selection of foster parents, stating: "The family foster care agency should not reject foster parent applicants solely due to their age, income, marital status, race, religious preference, sexual orientation, physical or disabling condition, or location of the foster home" (CWLA, 1995).
CWLA also articulates a strong position on the issue of nondiscrimination of adoptive applicants. Section 4.7 of the Standards of Excellence for Adoption Services states: "All applicants should be assessed on the basis of their abilities to successfully parent a child needing family membership and not on their race, ethnicity or culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, differing lifestyle, or sexual orientation. Applicants should be accepted on the basis of an individual assessment of their capacity to understand and meet the needs of a particular available child at the point of the adoption and in the future" (CWLA, 2000).
LGBTQ youth are over-represented in the child welfare systems across the country. If given appropriate support, acceptance and access to coping strategies, young LGBTQ people demonstrate high levels of resilience and positive outcomes. Conversely, if LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system are given little or no support by caregivers and child welfare professionals, they face poor prospects of successfully transitioning to adult living and face elevated health and behavioral risks compared to their non-LGBTQ peers.
Legislation and Administration Action
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- Recommended Practices To Promote the Safety and Well-Being of LGBTQ Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living with HIV in Child Welfare Settings.
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