Last week, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, posted a request for proposals to establish a new national center focused on improving the quality of services tailored to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in foster care.
Look for further policy positions and perhaps more funding on this issue from ACYF in the next year. Youth Services Insider recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with ACYF Commissioner Rafael López, and we asked about his priorities for the final year of Obama’s presidency.
On the short list of focal points for 2016 was the issuance of “comprehensive guidance to the country on making sure that we do not discriminate against LGBT youth who are in care. And specifically, how we make sure same-sex couples who want to foster and adopt are welcomed and are able to do so.”
The proposed center would be funded through a $2 million cooperative agreement over five years. The short-term goal is to work with up to six states on creating systems “of successful supports and interventions that specifically support the permanency” of LGBT youth in the child welfare system.
Each of the center’s state-level projects would focus on five strategy points:
- Prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Increasing cultural competency among agency staff and foster parents.
- Providing child welfare services that address the specific needs of LGBT youth and their families.
- Providing opportunities for normalcy activities, and ensuring the availability of LGBT-supportive foster homes.
- Improving system capacity to manage information on the sexual orientation and gender identity of youth.
Click here for more information on the LGBT Center, and check back soon for our full Q&A with Commissioner Lopez soon.