Bill Would Provide More Protections for LGBTQ Foster Youth

A new bill introduced Friday would ensure more protections for LGBTQ youth in California’s foster care system.

Presented by Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, Senate Bill 407 Specific documentation procedures, additional follow-up by the Department of Social Services, and criteria for family evaluations of youth in foster care who identify as LGBTQ will be developed.

If passed, the bill would require LGBTQ acceptance in the resource home approval process and could deny families the right to adopt a child in foster care if the family engages in behavior that puts the health and safety of the LGBTQ youth at risk.

The hope is to ensure that LGBTQ youth in foster care are not placed in homes where they would be treated poorly and discriminated against because of their status.

according to a study trevor plana nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention in the LGBTQ community, young people who received gender identity support at home were 93 percent less likely to attempt suicide compared to young people who did not feel supported.

read more: Today’s wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation actually started in San Francisco

“These young people are at high risk of homelessness, criminal justice involvement and mental health issues, and we must do everything in our power to ensure they have a safe home in California,” Wiener said in a statement.

California previously passed a bill in 2019 that grants youth in foster care the right to use the name and pronouns they prefer, and they can keep their sexual orientation and gender identity private. Youth in foster care also have the right to be cared for by someone who has been instructed in LGBTQ empowered care.

The proposed bill would increase these rights by adding protections to the home approval process.

“Families who support and affirm LGBTQ+ youth in foster care save lives,” said Kristin Stoner-Mertz, CEO of the California Alliance for Children and Family Services, which co-sponsored the bill. “CA Coalition is excited to work with Senator Wiener on SB 407 to ensure all LGBTQ+ youth in foster care have affirming families and feel safe, supported and cared for.”

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