A publication released by the Child Welfare Information Gateway in 2023 provides a legal overview of the rights and supports available to youth in foster care who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, Two-Spirit, or other gender or sexual identities), children who are often subjected to adverse experiences while in care. The publication finds that LGBTQ2S+ youth in care have varying levels of explicit legal protection from harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in approximately 39 States and the District of Columbia, and that agencies are required to provide LGBTQ2S+ youth with varying levels of “services and supports that are affirming of the youth’s LGBTQ2S+ identity and are tailored to meet their specific needs” in 22 States and the District of Columbia. Sections on optimal placement considerations, adequate caregiver qualifications, and respectful language and terminology relating to the needs of LGBTQ2S+ foster youth are also included in the publication.

By Jacqueline Glenn, Policy Intern