Maryland has officially enacted policies aimed at making the foster care system safer for foster youth who identify as LGBTQ. Many LGBTQ youth who enter the foster care system are subject to more trauma and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. An article from The Washington Post illustrates a story of one girl who identifies as transgender being forced to stay in an all-male group home, and subsequently running away to survive on the streets because of the bullying she endured. Without proper training and screening, it can become difficult to protect LGBTQ foster youth from additional trauma.
Maryland’s new policies will include requirements for the following:
Maryland is among 21 states that have policies banning discrimination against foster youth based on sexual orientation, and is one of only 14 states that extend those protections to foster youth who identify as transgender. It is important that the foster system continues to address discrimination issues through enacting policies that ensure foster youth do not endure more trauma when they enter care that is supposed to keep them safe from harm.
To read the Washington Post article in full, please visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/maryland-tries-to-strengthen-foster-care-for-gay-and-transgender-youths/2016/08/28/fcec3132-63d0-11e6-96c0-37533479f3f5_story.html
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Project Wait No Longer, Barker’s older child adoption program, please contact Alex Williams, MSW at firstname.lastname@example.org