LGBTQ+ Children/Nonminor Dependents
1200-500.01 | Revision Date: 12/20/2023

Overview

This policy provides guidance and resources for providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning (LGBTQ+) children/nonminor dependents (NMDs) and information on placement requirements for Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) children/NMDs in out-of-home care based on current legislation and best practice.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 02/28/2020 version to reflect policy and protocol updates based on Assembly Bills (ABs) 959 and 175 regarding the Foster Youth Bill of Rights; All County Letter (ACL) 21-149 regarding the documentation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE); and to include information regarding the LGBTQ+ Tailored Services to Youth program.

POLICY

In a 2014 study conducted by the RISE Program of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Williams Institute at UCLA, and Holarchy Consulting, findings showed that:
  • 19% of foster youth sampled in Los Angeles County identify as LGBTQ. Meaning that there are between 1.5 and 2 times more LGBTQ+ youth as a percentage of young people in foster care than outside foster care.
  • 94% of the youth sampled were youth of color, indicating that many of them likely faced both racial and anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
  • 5.6% of the foster youth sampled identified as transgender, a significant overrepresentation compared to an estimated .3 % of the national population.

Nineteen (19) percent of the youth in out-of-home care identifying as LGBTQ+ is likely an undercount.  More recent studies in California (2019) and New York City (2020) have reported that upwards of 34% of youth ages 10+ in out-of-home care identify as LGBTQ+.   Refer to the following studies for more detailed information: Experiences and Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Diverse Youth in Foster Care in New York City Disproportionality and Disparities and LGTBQ Youth in Unstable Housing and Foster Care (2019).

Not only are LGBTQ+ youth overrepresented in the foster care population, there are also significant disparities in experience between LGBTQ+ youth and their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. According to the Williams-Holarchy study LGBTQ+ children/NMD:
  • Report worse experiences in the foster care system compared to non-LGBTQ+ children/NMD;
  • Have a higher than average number of foster care placements;of the home
  • Are more likely to live in a group home;
  • Are more likely to have been hospitalized for emotional reasons; and
  • Are more likely to experience homelessness at some point in their lives

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE)

LGBTQ+ children/NMDs have the right to be free of harassment and discrimination based on their actual or perceived SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression), or association.

LGBTQ+ children/NMDs shall not be exposed to attempts to change their SOGIE and cannot be forced to hide their SOGIE in order to get support, receive services, be placed, etc.

Confidentiality

Any information about a child/NMD’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, including LGBTQ+, however the information is obtained is to be treated as private and confidential. As indicated in All County Letter 21-149, all information regarding a child/NMD’s SOGIE is confidential and not to be disclosed to anyone or documented without the child/NMD’s expressed consent or otherwise as authorized/required by law.  Unwarranted disclosure of SOGIE information may subject a child/NMD to rejection, ridicule, harassment, or abuse. Caution should be taken when recording or sharing this information and should only be done when necessary to advance the child/NMD's well-being and after consulting with the child/NMD, after explaining their confidentiality rights and securing the child/NMD's written consent. The child/NMD may withdraw their consent or limit it at any time.

Information about a child/NMD's identification as LGBTQ+ should not be disclosed to other children/NMDs, outside parties, individuals, or agencies, including health care or social service providers, without the child/NMD's permission/consent, unless such disclosure is necessary to comply with state or federal law or relevant to an emergency mental health or medical incident.

The extent and limits of keeping confidential information about a child/NMD's SOGIE is to be explained to the child/NMD. If for any reason disclosure of the information is required to be shared with another individual, the child/NMD is to be informed to whom the information will be disclosed and the reason for the disclosure. In such a case, the individual receiving the information is to be informed about the parameters of said disclosure and the party disclosing the information needs to plan to mitigate any risks pertaining to the disclosure.

Additionally, per ACL 21-149, child welfare social workers and juvenile probation officers (SWs/POs) should explain confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality in a way that is age and developmentally appropriate and be open and honest from the beginning of asking any SOGIE questions. Children and NMDs are more likely to share private information about their SOGIE when they feel supported and know what to expect. When discussing limits of confidentiality with a child or NMD, the SW/PO should explain to them that they have the right to keep their SOGIE information private and they can authorize or deny to whom their SOGIE information is disclosed. However, they should also clarify for the child/NMD that there are some circumstances in which their information will be required to be shared even without the child’s/NMD’s consent.

Different scenarios may arise on a case-by-case basis regarding LGBTQ+ children/NMDs.  For any concerns related to confidentiality prior to the disclosure of SOGIE information, CSWs and SCSWs may conference and/or consult with County Counsel.

Medical Records

The disclosure of medical and mental health information, including Protected Health Information (PHI) is regulated by federal and state laws. Under federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, protects the privacy of patient health information. HIPPA limits disclosure of what it calls "protected health information" (PHI). Under state law, California Code 56, et seq, protects medical and mental health information. Pursuant to federal and state laws, DCFS staff may not disclose medical or mental health information unless a specific legal exception applies. Unauthorized disclosure of confidential medical or mental health information carries both civil and criminal penalties.

Court Reports

A child/NMD’s sexual orientation and gender identity is confidential and is not to be disclosed in any court reports unless, after being advised of their confidentiality rights and discussing the possible disclosure and who will receive the information, the child/NMD has given permission to share the information.

Disclosures to Family/Resource Parents

DCFS staff shall not disclose information about a child/NMD's status as LGBT+ to a child/NMD's parent, legal guardians, resource parents, or other family members without the informed and expressed consent of the child/NMD including in CFTMs.

Regardless of a parent/s wishes for disclosure it is the child/NMD’s right to choose whether or not to disclose their sexual orientation.

Case Planning and the Child and Family Team (CFT)

Affirming behaviors from parents/resource parents of the child/NMD's SOGIE may vary and can be a fluid process. The Child and Family Team (CFT) will work to protect the child/NMD from potential rejecting experiences in their living situation, and in service provision including but not limited to: educational, medical, mental health environments; and extracurricular activities. A goal of the case planning process is to be affirming of the child/NMD, as well as their peers, and parents/resource parents wherever they may be in their own process. Therefore, the child/NMD’s SOGIE shall be a consideration in all case planning processes. A subject-matter expert, with demonstrated competency, may be retained to support this process, if necessary. In addition, the expert may be involved in CFTMs with the child/NMD’s permission. This includes but is not limited to office-designated LGBTQ+ champions and external stakeholders/providers.

The CFT will drive the case planning process and ensure that significant connections are included in the plan for the child/NMD. The CFT will ensure that parents/resource parents have sufficient services, support, and resources to meet the needs of the child/NMD in their care. The CFT will assist with accessing these supportive services and resources. In addition, it will provide and facilitate whatever additional expertise is necessary to form and/or maintain healthy relationships between parents/resource parents and children/NMDs, including advocacy and education of outside parties (e.g. educational, legal, medical).

Anytime there is a change in placement based on the child/NMD's housing needs, the CFT will work closely in the replacement of the child/NMD. Staff from both the current placement and the potential new placement, when possible, shall closely collaborate prior to and during the placement change to ensure continuity of care. (Refer to Placement Preservation Strategy, 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes and the Grievance Review Process Policy 0100-502.52 and Child and Family Teams Policy 0070-548.01for further information.)

Placements

Per Senate Bill (SB) 731, children/NMDs have the right to be placed in homes and facilities according to their gender identity, regardless of their sex assigned at birth or sex/gender marker listed in their court, child welfare, medical, or vital records.

Self-identification is a fluid process, which may occur before, during, or after being placed. While children/NMDs have the right to be placed according to their gender identity, not all LGBTQ+, transgender and/or gender non-conforming (TGNC) children/NMDs will want to be placed based on their gender identity; however, some children/NMDs will be clear in their desire and must be placed accordingly. As per legislation, the intake process must include assessment of all the child/NMD’s placement needs, including but not limited to the child/NMD's gender identity.

A child/NMD’s SOGIE identity is confidential information. Staff may not divulge this information to anyone, including a child/NMD's roommate, without the child/NMD's expressed consent to document and/or disclose.

A child’s/NMD's gender identity should not be the only deciding factor when considering room assignments. Roommate compatibility is to be discussed during ongoing contact with the child/NMD.  As per Contact Requirements and Exceptions Policy 0400-503.10, the purpose of the social worker's contact with the child is to assess the safety and well-being of the child and to achieve the following:

  • Monitor the child’s physical, emotional, social and educational development, and their mental/behavioral health needs.
  • Assist the child in preserving and maintaining their culture, this includes religious and ethnic identity and sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE).
Staff placing a child/NMD should advocate for rooming assignments based on the needs of the child/NMD.  Placement decisions are to be made in the best interest of the child/NMD based on recommendations from the CFT, Transitional Shelter Care (TSC) Program, Resource Family Approval (RFA) CSW, Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), and the child/NMD.

Gender-affirming Health Care

Per AB 2119 children/NMDs in foster care have the right to receive gender-affirming medical and mental health care services and are to be involved in the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender-affirming health care, consistent with their gender identity.

Reproductive Health

Per state law, children/NMDs in foster care are entitled to being informed about their reproductive and sexual health care rights, upon entry into foster care and at least once every six months at the time of a regularly scheduled contact. CSWs should also ensure that children/NMDs have access to reproductive health care and assist with removing any barriers to care.  Refer to the Youth Reproductive Health and Pregnancy 0600-507.10 policy.

PROCEDURE
All DCFS staff shall establish and maintain a culture of safety, inclusivity, and dignity where every child/NMD’s identity is affirmed and their well-being is ensured.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE)

CSW Responsibilities

SOGIE is to be documented, if consent is given, in the CWS/CMS Client Notebook ID page in the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression fields. (See Example 1 below.) CSWs must follow the outlined Instructions for Entering SOGIE Data into CWS/CMS (Refer to FYI 19-16 Documenting Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Data Into CWS/CMS) and be aware of the following:
  • The sharing of SOGIE information by the child/NMD is voluntary and the child/NMD may decline to disclose any of their SOGIE information.

Example 1


  • If consent is given by the child/NMD, document in CWS/CMS what the child/NMD consents to.  Also, update the information if changes are reported by the child/NMD.  The CSW should inform the child/NMD of instances when their SOGIE may need to be shared with other professionals, letting the child/NMD know specifically how this information will be used and by which legally authorized individual.

  • The CSW should clarify in advance with whom it is acceptable to share the information, including when the child/NMD is being referred to other resources for support. If the child/NMD has identified specific people with whom the information should not be shared, make sure that it is clear to all staff and is documented in the CWS/CMS Client ID Tab inside the Case Alerts box (See Example 2 below).

Example 2


  • Subjective opinions or assumptions on a child/NMD’s SOGIE should neither be made nor documented in CWS/CMS.

  • There is no right or wrong age to ask a child/NMD about their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

  • Engage children/NMDs who are developmentally and cognitively capable of understanding and discussing gender, in an age-appropriate discussion of their preferred gender expression and the gender with which they identify.

  • A child’s/NMD’s SOGIE is not static and may change during the duration of a case.

  • During ongoing contact with the child/NMD, CSWs are to have age-appropriate conversations regarding a child/NMD’s SOGIE and are to update consent in CWS/CMS accordingly.

  • Per WIC 827, a child’s/NMD’s SOGIE is not to be disclosed to other individuals or agencies, without the child’s/NMD’s informed and express consent.

  • Refer to the glossary of SOGIE data frame definitions to ensure consistent usage and unified understanding of SOGIE terms.

  • Refer to Respectfully asking Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity SOGIE Questions for guidance on asking about SOGIE.

SCSW Responsibilities

  • Ensure that CSWs utilize best practices when inquiring about SOGIE and, if applicable, appropriately documented the response provided in the CWS/CMS Client Notebook ID page in the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression fields.

  • Ensure that confidentiality is followed in court reports and that SOGIE is only disclosed if a child/NMD has provided informed and express consent.

Confidentiality

CSW Responsibilities

As indicated in All County Letter 21-149, all information regarding a child’s/NMD’s SOGIE is confidential and not to be disclosed to anyone or documented without the child’s/NMD’s informed and express consent or unless otherwise authorized/required by law.

The CSW should ask the child/NMD the following questions; Is there anyone whom you would prefer not know how you identify? Is there anyone you prefer to know how you identify? Which name and gender pronouns should we use when we call your family? Responses to these questions are to be documented in the CWS/CMS Client ID page in the Case Alerts Box: (Refer to Example 2 above.)

Each category of SOGIE data shall only be documented if a child/NMD provides informed and express consent to document and disclose. For any field(s) a child/NMD does not provide informed and express consent, the CSW shall only select “Declines to state” in CWS/CMS and should not otherwise document and/or disclose.

Documenting Consent:

If a child/NMD expresses consent for SOGIE to be or NOT be documented and/or disclosed, the CSW is to document in the CWS/CMS Case ID Page in the Case Alerts Text Box the following (See Example 3):

**SOGIE ALERT** On DATE child/NMD expressed consent for ____ [sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression] data to be documented and/or disclosed. **SOGIE ALERT** 

Or

**SOGIE ALERT** On DATE child/NMD expressed for ____ [sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression] data to NOT be documented and/or disclosed. **SOGIE ALERT**

Example 3



If a child/NMD expresses consent for SOGIE to be documented and/or disclosed, the CSW is to select the corresponding choices from the SOGIE drop down menus (See Examples 4 and 5 below)

Example 4



Example 5


If a child/NMD discloses that they are heterosexual (sexual orientation), gender queer (gender identity), and feminine (gender expression); however, express that they do not give consent for their gender identity or expression to be documented or disclosed the CSW shall only document the sexual orientation as disclosed in the Sexual Orientation field, and in the Gender Identity and Gender Expression fields, the CSW shall select “Declines to State.” (See Example 6 below)

Example 6



In the CWS/CMS Case ID page in the Case Alerts text box the CSW is to include the following (See prior Example 3):

** SOGIE ALERT ** On DATE child/NMD expressed consent for sexual orientation to be documented ** SOGIE ALERT**

Placements:

CSWs may not document or disclose SOGIE information to anyone, including a child/NMD's roommate(s), parents/guardians, or resource parents without the child/NMD's expressed consent to do so. Staff should advocate for rooming assignments based on the needs of the child/NMD.

All placements shall be safe and affirming of children/NMD’s SOGIE and placement decisions are to be made in the best interest of the child/NMD based on recommendations from the CFT, Transitional Shelter Care (TSC) Program, Resource Family Approval (RFA) CSW, MDT, and the child/NMD.

To help ensure that all placements are safe and affirming of a child/NMD’s SOGIE, the following should be discussed with a transgender youth/NMD when considering placements:

  • A transgender child/NMD should be asked if their gender identity may be disclosed and/or if the fact that they are transgender may be disclosed to intake workers, caretakers, etc.
  • If a transgender child/NMD does not consent to their gender identity being disclosed, they should be advised that the gender assigned to them at birth will be disclosed to intake workers, caretakers, etc.

At no time should a child/NMD’s identification as transgender be disclosed without their explicit consent; while, as default, a child/NMD’s gender assigned at birth will be disclosed unless the child/NMD gives explicit consent to disclose their gender identity

For additional assistance with finding placements, CSWs may refer to the Transitional Shelter Care

(TSC) Program to access help from the Accelerated Placement Team (APT). CSWs may refer to the Transitional Shelter Care (TSC) Program 0100-510.37  policy for guidance on requesting placement assistance.

Medical Records:

The disclosure of medical and mental health information, including Protected Health Information

(PHI) is regulated by federal and state laws. Under federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, protects the privacy of patient health information. This includes but is not limited to gender affirming care. CSWs may refer to the Health and Medical Information 0600-500.20 policy.

Court Reports:

SOGIE information is not to be documented in Court Reports or otherwise disclosed in court proceedings unless a child/NMD has expressed consent for said information to be documented and/or disclosed. In such a case, the CSW shall follow the documenting consent protocol.

Disclosures to Parents/Guardians and Resource Parents:

Per WIC 827, a child’s/NMD’s SOGIE is not to be disclosed to other individuals or agencies, without the child/NMD’s permission. Staff is not to disclose or document a child’s/NMD’s SOGIE to a child’s/NMD’s parents/guardians and resource parents without the child/NMD’s expressed consent to do so. In such a case, the CSW shall follow the documenting consent protocol.

Regardless of a parent’s wishes for disclosure it is the child’s/NMD’s right to choose whether or not to disclose their sexual orientation

Case Planning and the Child and Family Team (CFT)

A child/NMD’s CFT shall establish and maintain a safe and inclusive culture where the child/NMD’s SOGIE is affirmed and their well-being is ensured.

CSW Responsibilities

CSWs are to ensure that a child/NMD’s SOGIE consent is confirmed prior to every CFTM as it pertains to any parties who may be present. Documenting consent protocol shall be followed to reflect any updates and CSWs shall follow all procedures for Child and Family Team meetings. Refer to the Child and Family Teams 0070-548.01 policy for further guidance.

Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Children/NMDs

According to SB731 TGNC children/NMDs have the right to be placed according to their gender identity, irrespective of the sex/gender marker listed on any legal/medical documents. Information regarding SB 731 (2015), shall be provided to all children/NMDs prior to out of home placement, parents/guardians at time of removal, and resource parents at orientation and redetermination.

When shared accommodations are required, DCFS shall discuss roommate compatibility to ensure that assigned roommates are affirming of the child/NMD. TGNC children/NMDs should be actively engaged in the placement process and be given specific options, so that they can help identify the situations that will work best for their needs and safety.

Placements

Bathroom/shower use:

TGNC children/NMDs have the right to access bathrooms and showers that align with their gender identity, regardless of sex assigned at birth and/or legal documentation. Safety planning and prudent parenting standards shall be utilized for TGNC children/NMDs regarding the use of bathrooms and showers. Alternative arrangements should only be made at the request of the TGNC child/NMD; TGNC children/NMDs shall not be compelled to use alternative bathrooms/showers. Prudent Parenting standards should apply when the child's/NMD's needs may put them in danger. Alternative arrangements may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Accessibility of single stall, gender neutral bathrooms, and/or private showers;
  2. Staff supervision during use of communal bathrooms/showers; and
  3. A separate shower schedule for TGNC children/NMDs if they request it.

Access to services/programs:

TGNC children/NMDs have the right to participate in and have access to all available services/programs. Resource parents and service providers are to provide care and support inclusive of their identity. The CFT can be utilized to access additional resources (e.g., gender affirming care, programs, etc.) with expressed consent from and at the request of the child/NMD.

Beginning March 1, 2022, children, youth and young adults who identify as LGBTQ+ can voluntarily participate in the LGBTQ+ Tailored Services to Youth program. The program is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ youth to receive necessary and beneficial services, inclusive of and while celebrating their SOGIE. To access the program, the youth needs to be referred by electronic submission. More information, including the referral form, can be found at https://dcfs.lacounty.gov/youth/lgbtq-youth/. Once a youth self-identifies as LGBTQ+, and consent is received, CSWs should provide the LGBTQ+ Tailored Services to Youth program information to the youth and ask if youth would like to participate. If the youth agrees, the CSW should submit a referral as instructed and according to referral form.

Name and use of pronouns:

TGNC children/NMDs may designate a name and pronouns to be used that reflects their identity, even if their name has not been legally changed and/or legal documentation has not been updated. Placements shall address TGNC children/NMDs using their asserted name and pronouns. DCFS shall ensure that all placements are in compliance with legal requirements, are affirming, and utilize best practices. A TGNC child’s/NMD's personal rights must be respected; misgendering and use of derogatory terms by any party shall be addressed and may be considered maltreatment.

A TGNC child's/NMD's asserted name and pronouns shall be included on all documents in conformity with confidentiality practices. Using the child’s/NMD’s asserted name and/or pronouns shall only be done with the expressed consent of the child/NMD and to the extent the child/NMD has given their consent. On all DCFS and court documents, the child/NMD will first be referred to by their legal name, along with the child's/NMD's asserted name as an “also known as” (AKA), with the asserted name and pronouns emphasized in order to minimize confusion as to which name/pronouns to use. Thereafter, the child/NMD shall be referred to by their asserted name and pronouns.

EXAMPLE:

Jane Doe, AKA John Doe (they/them/theirs), is currently placed with their paternal aunt. They are attending their school of origin where........

In the event that the child/NMD expresses an interest in changing their legal name and/or gender marker, petitions to the court may be utilized. CSWs shall consult with minor’s counsel on this process if the child/NMD consents and the CSW can refer children/NMDs to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s self-help page at https://www.courts.ca.gov/41237.htm for further information. DCFS will not/cannot petition for any legal name change, but can make the juvenile court aware if this is something the child/NMD desires and the child/NMD has given consent to bring this to the court’s and/or minor’s counsel’s attention.

Gender-Affirming Health Care

 “Gender-affirming health care” is defined in WIC 16010.2 as medically necessary health care that respects the gender identity of the patient, as experienced and defined by the patient, and may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics.
  • Interventions to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity.
  • Interventions to alleviate symptoms of clinically significant distress resulting from gender dysphoria, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

Gender identity formation is a typical, healthy part of child development and generally begins around two (2) years old. However, healthy development may be impacted by negative bias and rejection. When a child/NMD expresses an incongruence with regards to their gender identity as it relates to their sex assigned at birth, qualified and affirming experts may be consulted, and age-appropriate resources shall be provided to the child/NMD.

When possible and appropriate, parents/guardians should be involved in the child's/NMD's health care. Children/NMDs can receive hormone therapy, including but not limited to: hormone blockers and hormone replacement therapy; however, parental or court consent is required, with limited exceptions (Family Code 6922). Should the child/NMD request any gender affirming care, the agency shall have the child/NMD assessed by a qualified, licensed, and affirming medical practitioner with competency in working with transgender children/NMDs as soon as possible.

If any child/NMD placed is already in the process of transitioning through the use of hormones, DCFS may need legal approval (parental or court) for continued treatment and must obtain medical advice, guidance, and clearance for formal prescriptions; which must be obtained promptly to ensure continuity of care. DCFS shall ensure that staff and resource parents are in compliance with medical protocols and the physician’s treatment plan. In cases where the child/NMD has an anticipated change of placement, a healthcare continuity plan shall be developed.

In the event that the child/NMD expresses the desire for gender-affirming care and/or the medical professional recommends gender-affirming care, but consent is not given by the medical rights holder, a court hearing date shall immediately be requested to approve said care.

Reproductive Health (SB89)

For children age 10 and older, the CSW shall be responsible for ensuring that children/NMDs receive age-appropriate, medically accurate, culturally sensitive sexual and reproductive health information that includes:

  • Informing children/NMDs that they may access age-appropriate, medically accurate information about reproductive and sexual health care, including, but not limited to, unplanned pregnancy prevention, abstinence, use of birth control, abortion, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. Refer to Foster Youth Bill of Rights for further information.

  • Informing children/NMD, in an age and developmentally appropriate manner, of their right to consent to sexual and reproductive health services.

  • Informing children/NMDs about their confidentiality rights regarding medical services and seeking the child’s/NMD's written consent prior to any disclosure of their sexual or reproductive health information. Also, informing children/NMDs of their right to withhold consent to such disclosure(s).

  • Informing the children/NMDs how to access reproductive and sexual health care services and facilitated access to that care, including by assisting with any identified barriers to care, as needed.

  • A copy of the Foster Youth Bill of Rights upon entry into foster care and at least once every six (6) months at the time of scheduled contact.

  • The right to fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) status.

Refer to Youth Reproductive Health and Pregnancy 0600-507.10 policy and ACL 16-82 for further information.

CSW and SCSW Responsibilities

Different scenarios may arise on a case-by-case basis regarding LGBTQ+ children/NMDs. CSWs and SCSWs are to conference and/or contact County Counsel for any questions.

APPROVALS
None
HELPFUL LINKS
REFERENCED POLICY GUIDES
STATUTES AND OTHER MANDATES

All County Letter 17-64 – Outlines the placement changes for children and NMDs per Senate Bill 731 (2015). It requires that children and NMDs in out of home care shall be placed according to their gender identity if the child/NMD so desires per WIC 16006, WIC 16001.9(a)(24), H&S Code 1502.8.

All County Letter 16-82 – Outlines the reproductive and sexual health care and related rights of youth and Nonminor Dependents (NMDs) in foster care.

All County Letter 19-27 –Gender Affirming Care for Minor and Nonminor Dependents in Foster Care.

All County Letter 21-149 – Documentation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Information in the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System.

All County Letter (ACL) 22-100- Discusses Placement Preservation Strategy and provides Frequently Asked Questions.

AB959- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Disparities Reduction Act

AB 2119- Gender Affirming Care for Minor and Nonminor Dependents in Foster Care

SB 731 (2015)- Requires children and nonminor dependents in an out-of-home placement to be placed according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare records.

Health and Safety Code section 1502.8 – Requires the Department of Social Services to adopt regulations consistent with the new personal right of minors and NMDs in foster care to be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare records.

Welfare and Institutions Code section 16001.9(a)(24) – Affords the right of all minors and nonminors in foster care to be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed their court or child welfare records.

Welfare and Institutions Code section 16006 – Requires that all children and NMDs in out-of-home care be placed according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare records.

Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Section 89377 – States that a caregiver is responsible for applying the Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard and what factors to consider.

California Department of Social Services (CDSS), All County Information Notice (ACIN) I-20-08 - References and incorporates current and new legal requirements regarding health records for foster children, access to foster child’s PHI by CSWs, documentation of PHI in CWS/CMS, and restrictions on sharing PHI gathered by DCFS.

California Health and Safety Code § 1502.8

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. V1232g; 34 CFS Part 99)

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 903.7

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 16001.9(a)(23)(25)

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 16003

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 16013(a)(b)

California Health and Safety Code § 1522

California Health and Safety Code § 15422.41(c)(1)(H)(I)(K)

California Health and Safety Code § 1522.41(c)(2)(G)(I)

California Health and Safety Code § 1522.41(d)(3)(5)

California Health and Safety Code § 1529.2(b)(5)-(6);(c)(2)

California Health and Safety Code §1563(c)(5);(d)(6)