Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

June 2024Vol. 25, No. 5A Message From Commissioner Rebecca Jones Gaston

Written by Commissioner Rebecca Jones Gaston

On April 29 of this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule on the Designated Placement Requirements Under Titles IV-E and IV-B for LGBTQI+ Children. The final rule requires title IV-E and title IV-B agencies to have sufficient placements designated to meet the needs of children and youth in foster care who are LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, or other gender or sexual identity) and necessary services to support their well-being. 

Recognizing the vital role of kin caregivers in the child welfare system, the final rule clarifies that title IV–E and title IV–B agencies should improve access to kinship care as they implement the requirements of this regulation. Children who enter foster care because of familial conflict regarding their LGBTQI+ status or identity may have a supportive relative who is willing to serve as a kin caregiver. And, under the rule, foster care providers, including kin, can receive training and services to designate them as supportive of LGBTQI+ children currently in their care.

Nearly 1 in 3 (or approximately 30 percent) of older children in foster care identify as LGBTQI+. Youth in foster care who identify as LGBTQI+ are more likely to experience the following than their non-LGBTQI+ peers:

  • Be placed in congregate care settings
  • Report maltreatment while in the foster care system (Cooper et al., 2014)   
  • Experience homelessness

The final rule represents a vital step toward safety, permanency, and well-being—foundational priorities of the Children’s Bureau. When children cannot safely remain with their own families, they deserve a supportive foster care placement free of harassment, mistreatment, or abuse.

We must continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of LGBTQI+ youth. By creating supportive environments and providing needed resources and services, we can help ensure that LGBTQI+ youth and young adults can thrive and reach their full potential.


Cooper, K., Kastanis, A., Nezhad, S., & Wilson, B. (2014, August). Sexual and gender minority youth in foster care: Assessing disproportionality and disparities in Los Angeles.