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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
CWLA Best Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care
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First guidelines for policy and practice for serving LGBT youth in child welfare and juvenile justice settings. Written by experts in the field and published by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) as part of their Best Practices series, this book is based on the work of the Model Standards Project and research from the Family Acceptance Project informed and framed the guidelines.
  • Child welfare personnel repeatedly move a lesbian youth from one inappropriate placement to another, subjecting her to constant rejection and discrimination and depriving her of a permanent home or family.
  • Detention facility staff place a gay youth in isolation "for his own protection," depriving him of education, recreation, companionship, or other programming and services.
  • Line staff in a group home fail to intervene when residents harass and abuse a transgender youth because they believe he "asked for it" by being open about his gender identity.

These disturbingly common practices illustrate the serious problems in the care of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The lack of professional guidance related to youths' sexual identities has left a vacuum that is often filled by harmful, discriminatory practices based on personal biases rather than informed, evidence based policies. The best practice guidelines in this book will improve outcomes for youth with accurate, up-to-date information about the best practices for providing competent services to youth who are lesbians, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

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