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February 2023Vol. 24, No. 1Promoting the Health and Well-Being of LGBTQIA2S+ Youth Involved With Child Welfare Through FFPSA

Children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or gender expansive, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) experience both disproportionate involvement with child welfare and, once involved, disparate outcomes, including more placement instability and longer stays in foster care. The Center for the Study of Social Policy published a brief, Advancing Healthy Outcomes: Eight Ways to Promote the Health and Well-Being of LGBTQ+ Youth Involved With Child Welfare Through FFPSA, which explores how systems can leverage the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) to improve outcomes and well-being for LGBTQIA2S+ children and youth involved with child welfare.

The brief suggest eight strategies that systems should implement to promote family preservation, healthy adolescent development and well-being, and successful transitions into adulthood as well as to affirm identities:

  • Ensure prevention services are responsive to LGBTQIA2S+ youth needs
  • Expand the definition of family
  • Implement policies to prevent overplacement of LGBTQIA2S+ youth in congregate care
  • Focus on recruiting and retaining affirming foster parents
  • Develop and implement training and guidance on affirming practices
  • Implement nondiscrimination policies
  • Use performance-based contracting to ensure service providers are affirming
  • Ensure accountability mechanisms are effective at addressing discrimination

The changes that FFSPA makes to child welfare is an opportunity to create programs and practices that will address the unique needs of this population and create a more supportive, holistic system that reduces disparity. LGBTQIA2S+ partners within the community should be engaged with when developing the suggested training, guidance, policies, and services.