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WELCOME The Bay Area Academy Presents When Did You First Realize You Were Straight? Strategies and Legal Requirements for Working with LGBTQ Youth in Child.

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Presentation on theme: "WELCOME The Bay Area Academy Presents When Did You First Realize You Were Straight? Strategies and Legal Requirements for Working with LGBTQ Youth in Child."— Presentation transcript:

1 WELCOME The Bay Area Academy Presents When Did You First Realize You Were Straight? Strategies and Legal Requirements for Working with LGBTQ Youth in Child Welfare System Maryanne Rehberg, LCSW

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3 Today’s Agenda  Common terms  Data and Risk Factors  A.B. 458 and other legal requirements  Model Standards/Best Practices  Digital Stories  Evaluation

4 Today’s Objectives  Increase awareness of GLBTQ related issues and research  Increase understanding of the unique risk factors that exist for GLBTQ youth  Be able to summarize your and other stake holder’s legal requirements of A.B. 458  Understand the broader legal rights of LGBT youth and your professional responsibilities  Learn some ways to more effectively work with this population in a child welfare context  Become more familiar with LGBT resources

5 Find Your Other Half: Terms and Definitions  Terms are always changing  Self definition  Identity vs. behavior vs. orientation  Find the person who has your definition or term

6 Not a matter of “IF” but “SINCE”  Approx. 500,000 youth in foster care and 79,000 in CA

7 Health risks for LGBT youth: 28% of LGBT youth drop out of school because of harassment by other students. Savin-Williams, RC, Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology. 26% of gay youth are forced to leave home (Rhode Island Task Force on GLBT Youth.) o 23% of GLB youth have been threatened with a weapon at school.  52% feel sad and hopeless. 48% have seriously considered suicide. 29% have attempted suicide. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)  30% of all completed adolescent suicides in the U.S. are by LGBT youth. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) 4

8 At the Forefront of Advocacy and Education Efforts  The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)  Casey Foundation  Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)  Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund  National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

9 GLBTQ Affirming Model  A model of practice that is inclusive and open to all sexual identities and orientations  A model of practice that acknowledges homosexuality as ABLE, that is as: Viable, Acceptable & Desirable as heterosexuality

10 Remember!!!! Know your Stuff!

11 Experiences of LGBT Youth in Care  Abuse or neglect (may or may not be related to SO or GI)  Once in system, LGBT youth often neglected and discriminated against by staff and peers  Inadequate policies, protections, support services and staff sensitivity  Many LGBTQ youth experience verbal harassment and abuse because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

12 LGBTQ Youth Experiences in Care  VICTIMIZED –70% LGBTQ youth reported violence based on SO or GI while in group home  DISPLACED –78% removed or ran away from placement because of hostility to SO or GI  SEGREGATED  PUNISHED –For expressing SO or GI –For engaging in behaviors OK for other youth  PATHOLOGIZED  ISOLATED  RESTRICTED –Not allowed to dress or groom as they prefer

13 At-Risk Behaviors for GLBTQ Youth  GLBTQ youth may be at heightened risk for some behaviors; more so than their heterosexual counterparts  Isolation  Depression/Suicide  Running Away/Homelessness  Psychiatric Hospitalizations  Heightened Sexual Activity

14 Strengths of LGBT Youth  Increased Resiliency and Courage  Emotional and physical “survival skills”  Greater sense of personal insight/understanding  Increased appreciation for family/community

15 Legal Rights of LGBT Youth: LGBT youth in care have clearly established civil rights under the U.S. constitution, state and federal statutes and regulations and case law DeShaney case Due Process (HYCF case) Right to Equal Protection (NYC case) First Amendment Rights (school districts)

16 Legal Rights of LGBT Youth: HYCF Case (2005) Use of isolation to “protect” LGBT youth not acceptable Acted with “deliberate indifference” and violated due process by allowing pervasive abuse - lack of policies and training - lack of functioning grievance system - no system for protecting vulnerable youth

17 Legal Rights of LGBT Youth: NYC Case (2003) Transgender woman sued because she was not allowed to wear female attire Alleged that it caused her great distress and = illegal discrimination under NY state non- discrimination housing law (disability and sex) Judge ruled that to not discriminate NYS was required to make reasonable accommodations for her transgender status

18 Legal Rights of LGBT Youth: First Amendment Cases Courts have ruled that Freedom of Speech applies to right to be open about one’s sexual orientation and expressive conduct Public schools have been held liable for forcing LGBT students to hide their s.o. or for not letting transgender students dress in accordance with their gender identity CWS and juvenile justice professionals may violate a youth’s First Amendment rights if they require LGBT youth to hide s.o. or gender identity expression

19 Legal Rights of LGBT Youth  SW has a legal duty to protect  Given unique safety issues, LGBT youth must be carefully and appropriately supervised and monitored  SW liable if had knowledge or deliberately failed to learn See ppgs10-12

20 Legal Rights of LGBT Youth:  To be protected from emotional and physical harm in placement (DeShaney)  To unique medical care and mental health care and not subjected to conversion therapies or denied services  To be treated equally and without discrimination  To express their sexual orientation and gender identity  To not participate in any religion that condemns LGBT people

21 AB 458: Overview  AB 458 (Chu) - Foster Care Anti- Discrimination Act of 2003: Sponsor – National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter AB 458 (Chu) - Foster Care Anti- Discrimination Act of 2003  Effective Jan  Adds to the rights of foster children  Adds to the responsibilities of providers

22 AB 458: Training  Mandates training –Foster parents, community care licensing personnel, group home administrators  Encourages training –Initial and ongoing training for county child welfare workers, group home staff, foster family agency staff and relative caregivers is crucial to enable all persons involved in foster care to fulfill their responsibilities under AB 458.  Mandates classes for foster care education programs –Must make training available to relative caregivers on the rights of foster children to not be discriminated against or harassed based on SO and GI

23 AB 458: Foster Care Non-Discrimination Act “It is the policy of the state that all children in foster care shall have the right to have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or HIV status.” Cal. Welfare & Inst. Code § (a)(22)

24 AB 458: County and Agency Responsibilities “County child welfare departments, group home facilities, and foster family agencies have a legal responsibility to provide care, placement, and services to foster children, family members, foster parents, and service providers without discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived …sexual orientation or gender identity.” AB 458 § 1

25 AB 458: Prohibits Discrimination of LGBT youth Examples of unlawful discrimination include:  Failing or refusing to take steps to protect an LGBTQ youth from harassment based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity;  Failing to use the requested name and pronoun that is in accordance with a transgender youth's gender identity;

26 AB 458: Prohibits Discrimination of LGBT youth  Treating displays of affection by same-sex couples differently than displays of affection by different-sex couples;  Refusing to allow a youth to wear clothing that is consistent with their gender identity;  Not allowing an LGBTQ youth to attend a gay prom;  Confiscating LGBTQ supportive materials.

27 AB 458: Foster Parent Responsibilities Know your limits “Once foster parents or relative caregivers accept a child into their home, they have a legal responsibility to provide care to the child without discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” AB 458 § 1

28 AB 458: Foster Parent Rights & Responsibilities If the foster parents or relative caregiver cannot fulfill this responsibility, then they should notify the youth’s social worker and seek additional training, counseling, or other assistance. Only as a last resort should the foster parent or relative caregiver request that the child be removed from the foster parents’ or relative caregivers’ home.” AB 458 § 1

29 AB 537: CA School Safety and Violence Prevention Act Adds actual or perceived s.o. or g.i. to existing CA Education Code non-discrimination policy Requirements: Staff member who is knowledgeable about law and can investigate complaints Investigate complaints and send a written report within 60 days Protect youth from retaliation after they make a complaint Accept from any youth or adult and keep confidential

30 Activity: Is it R, V or BP  Is it required by the law?  Is it a violation of the law?  Is it a best practice? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

31 Model Standards Project Best Practice Guidelines for Working with LGBT Youth in the Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems –Address Care and Treatment –Practice tools to improve services and outcomes –Publication and Distribution through CWLA –Cliff note version handout

32 Model Standards Project Best Practices –Creating a Safe and Inclusive Culture –Recruiting and Supporting Competent Caregivers and Staff –Providing Appropriate Placements –Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development –Respecting Privacy and Confidentiality –Providing Sensitive Support Services

33 Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth Creating a Safe and Inclusive Culture Every person is respected, and every person is accepted and treated fairly and equally Prohibit the use of slurs or jokes based upon race, culture, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other individual difference Display posters or other symbols indicating an LGBT-friendly environment Use language that does not assume youth have a specific sexual orientation or gender identity

34 Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth Creating a Safe and Inclusive Culture Promptly intervene when youth behave disrespectfully toward their peers based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or other differences Treat youth fairly by avoiding double standards for heterosexual youth and gay youth Dialogue with youth about all forms of diversity

35 Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development LGBT should not be punished or discouraged from exploring or expressing their sexual orientation or gender identity. Rules should support and encourage healthy, safe, age-appropriate exploration and expression for all youth. Ensure that LGBT youth have knowledge of and access to social and recreational services and events consistent with their interests and geared toward the community with which they identify.

36 Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development Do not force youth to participate in activities/groups that discriminate against LGBT youth, or that decline to acknowledge their existence Social and recreational activities and opportunities should be =. Limits on social interactions should be =ly applied and related to youth’s safety or best interest. (i.e. If other youth are encouraged and permitted to attend the prom, same should happen for LGBT youth.)

37 Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth Respecting Privacy and Confidentiality Info regarding foster youth, including information regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, is confidential and disclosure is unlawful In limited cases, disclosure may be legally required to protect youth ’ s safety or to establish CPS involvement. If not, a direct benefit to the youth must be clear.

38 Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth Providing Sensitive Support Services Many providers are unaware of the unique issues faced by LGBT youth and how it affects their needs. Provision of inclusive non-judgmental services is ESSENTIAL! Health Eating disorders, birth control, STD’s Mental Health Increased risk for suicide Chronic Stress- depression/anxiety Education Increased harassment

39 Placement Issues for LGBT Youth  Critical to talk to the youth about what they want/need in a placement and how that relates to where they are in the coming out process  Essential to talk at length with care providers about their willingness and attitude abut LGBT issues

40 Talking with care providers  Give them info about youth after you previously checked in with youth  What experience do they have with GLBTQ people?  How comfortable are they?

41 Talk about BEFORE you place!  Tell what you told care provider  Tell your assessment of caretakers attitude  Expectations that were set (dating)  Importance of communication with you

42 Coordinating Services  What does the youth need? –Specialized services?  Can they be who they are? –Can they be honest and open?  Can they disclose information about their sexual identity/orientation if they want to?  Will they be stigmatized, labeled or teased? Page 21

43 Monitoring Services  Are they comfortable with the services? –Why or why not?  Do they like the services? –Why or why not?  Do they think the services are helping? –Why or why not?  Do they feel like they can talk about issues related to their sexual orientation? –Why or why not?

44 Resources  See handouts pages 24-26

45 Next Steps: Ideas to take home  Two things I remember learning today  One thing I can do differently with the youth,families, service providers, etc… on my caseload as a result of what I learned today


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