Improving Care for LGBTQ Youth
ACS takes very seriously our commitment to ensuring that all children in our care are safe, supported, and being cared for in environments where they can succeed. For youth who identify as LGBTQ – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning – the challenges of facing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity often compound the significant needs of young people who are involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.
Children’s Services has made it a priority to improve the quality of services for LGBTQ youth and families. Our efforts include the following:
- A collaborative effort among Children’s Services, LGBTQ advocates and contract providers to develop the ACS LGBTQ Strategic Plan which included the hiring of an LGBTQ Coordinator and focuses on training, access to community resources, policies/procedures, program evaluation, and staffing. Click on this link to read the ACS LGBTQ Strategic Plan.
- ACS has hired a researcher to create a Transgender Gender Non-conforming (TGNC) Best Practice Guide. This is a unique approach because it is New York City specific and youth-informed. The empirical research and the staff focus groups have been completed. We are looking forward to hearing from youth soon and the guide will be completed by June 2012.
- All foster care agencies are required to designate LGBTQ point persons available for youth in care to express concerns regarding their care and treatment. Point persons have received LGBTQ training, technical assistance and serve as a resource for parents and other staff in their agency.
- ACS and foster care providers are increasing efforts to identify and recruit LGBTQ-affirming and LGBT foster and adoptive parents. The NYC LGBT Foster Care Coalition meets on a monthly basis and organizes recruitment events for the LGBTQ and LGBTQ–affirming communities. Children’s Services has contracted with You Gotta Believe! and the Council for Adoptable Children (COAC) to enhance our recruitment efforts.
- ACS is involved with the LGBTQ NYC Family Court Advisory Committee to the Family Court Administrative Judge. During 2011, this group met and created recommendations to the courts that will hopefully create an inclusive and gender-neutral environment.
- In addition, ACS is requiring LGBTQ-specific training through the James Satterwhite Academy for all staff that have direct contact with youth and families including those at foster care and preventive contract agencies.
- Through the ACS Division of Youth and Family Justice, Lambda Legal is conducting trainings with staff in ACS detention facilities on LGBT cultural competency.
The Children’s Services LGBTQ Coordinator is responsible for assessing and addressing LGBTQ needs within the child welfare system. If you have any questions or concerns with LGBTQ issues, email LGBTQ@dfa.state.ny.us
Links to ACS LGBT Policies and Procedures (in PDF)
Links to LGBT Resources (in PDF)Community Resources for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Directory of Services & Resoruces – Office of the New York City Comptroller, John C. Liu
Lambda Legal’s NYS Marriage Equality Act: Frequently Asked Questions for LGBT Couples with Low or No Income
NEW YORK CITY PRIDE CENTERS
Pride Centers operate in all five boroughs, and offer a range of support services for LGBT youth, adults, and families.