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April 24, 2017 Practice Points

How Can Systems Keep Transgender and Gender Expansive Youth Safe?

By Cathy Krebs

"Safe Havens: Closing the Gap Between Recommend Practice and Reality for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth in Out-of-Home Care" is an important new report that analyzes the explicit law and policy protections for transgender, gender expansive, and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth in child welfare, juvenile justice, and homeless youth systems. While the report finds that we are failing this population dramatically and putting their safety at risk, it also outlines recommendations for eliminating barriers to affirming treatment for TGNC youth. The report is co-authored by Lambda Legal, Children's Rights and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Evidence has long shown that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth are overrepresented in out-of-home care systems and too often to not find welcoming and affirming systems. Unfortunately this issue is even more pronounced for TGNC youth because of the way out-of-home care systems define and segregate youth on the basis of sex (or gender). The report outlines findings from each state's laws, policies, and licensing regulations and then ends with concrete recommendations for eliminating barriers to affirming treatment for TGNC youth.

Cathy Krebs is the committee manager for the ABA Section of Litigation's Children's Rights Litigation Committee in Washington, D.C. She is also the newsletter editor for the committee.

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