On Friday, May 20th, the Government Accountability Office released its new report, “Foster Care: Further Assistance from HHS Would be Helpful in Supporting Youth’s LGBTQ+ Identities and Religious Beliefs.” The report concluded that a majority of states have nondiscrimination protections for youth in foster care, but selected states and stakeholders identified challenges supporting youth with LGBTQ+ identities, and those who belong to various religious groups, including addressing bias among child welfare staff and caregivers, as well as recruiting foster families from religious minority groups. The information Health and Human Services provides to states to help them support these youth doesn’t fully address these challenges.

In a joint statement, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) said:

“Today’s report highlights additional ways Congress and HHS can ensure that states support and protect foster youth in their care, and make sure all young people receive affirming placements and appropriate health care… The challenges and opportunities that GAO has identified will inform our ongoing work to support foster youth, and we plan to work closely with the Biden Administration to build on its efforts to reduce discrimination and enhance protections across the nation.”