State-by-State Analysis of Child Welfare Systems

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.

            The information in the chart below is a summary of explicit state-based statutory-, regulatory- and policy-based protections, where they exist, against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (“SOGIE”) in the nation’s child welfare system. In jurisdictions without explicit SOGIE protections, the authors have highlighted where youth are explicitly protected from discrimination on account of sex or gender as courts continue to clarify that that sex- or gender-based discrimination includes discrimination on account of gender identity or gender stereotyping. States marked with an asterisk (*) have a policy specific to upholding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and gender-nonconforming (“LGBTQ+”) youth in care, which includes information regarding practice guidelines in addition to a SOGIE-inclusive nondiscrimination clause.

            In addition to explicit nondiscrimination protections found in child welfare-specific statute, regulation or policy, youth in state custody have constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. In some states, counties and cities, state or local public accommodation or human rights laws or ordinances may offer protections to the extent that those measures apply to all or part of the child welfare system. Some child welfare systems are county-based, and due to the large volume of counties in the United States, we have not included nondiscrimination policies at the county level.

            Where available, we provide information regarding rights of children in foster care even if they are not SOGIE-inclusive. We also list grievance procedures and ombudsman offices. If LGBTQ+ youth in care are being mistreated or experiencing discrimination, administrative complaints may serve as a mechanism for addressing harmful treatment, among other advocacy options.

            The authors have attempted to gather all available information, but this is likely not an exhaustive list. Please contact Amy Cook, acook@lambdalegal.org, if you notice an error or find that we missed a relevant statute, law or agency policy in your jurisdiction. 

Alabama

Alabama has no explicit protection from discrimination on account of sex (or gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression for youth in the child welfare system in state statute, regulation or agency policy. The Alabama Department of Human Resources has explicit policy protections from discrimination on account of sex.

The state has a religious refusal law, which permits private child placing agencies to “refuse to place a child for adoption or in a foster home that conflicts . . . with their sincerely held religious beliefs,” so long as the agency “receives no federal or state funds.” Ala. Code § 26-10D.

Alabama has a Department of Human Resources ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:
Alabama Department of Human Resources HHS Nondiscrimination Statement
"The Alabama Department of Human Resources complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. The Alabama Department of Human Resources does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex."
https://dhr.alabama.gov/nondiscrimination-statements/

State Agency Website:

http://www.dhr.alabama.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

None known.

Ombudsman:
Alabama Department of Human Resources
50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Phone: (334) 242-1325
Email: fsd@dhr.alabama.gov
https://dhr.alabama.gov/directory/administrative-hearings/?hilite=%27administrative%27%2C%27hearing%27

Additional Provisions:

Alaska

Alaska has no explicit protection from discrimination on account of sex (or gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression for youth in the child welfare system in state statute, regulation or agency policy.

Alaska has an Office of the Ombudsman for complaints against state government, but it is not specific to child welfare.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:
None known.

State Agency Website:

http://dhss.alaska.gov/ocs/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:
Alaska Office of the Ombudsman
1500 West Benson Boulevard
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Phone: (907) 269-5290
Fax: (907) 269-5291
http://ombud.alaska.gov/

Additional Provisions:

Arizona

Arizona has no explicit protection from discrimination on account of sex (or gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression for youth in the child welfare system in state statute, regulation or agency policy.

Agency policy includes sexual orientation and gender identity as factors to consider when assessing placement needs. Agency policy states that in determining eligibility for Independent Living Subsidy youth cannot be discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Agency policy for Transition to Adulthood provides that youth should receive services and resources related to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Arizona has a state government ombudsman, but they handle issues across state government, and is not child welfare-specific.

Statute:

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-529
Children in foster care; rights
“A child in foster care has the following rights . . . [t]o live in a safe, healthy and comfortable placement where the child can receive reasonable protection from harm and appropriate privacy for personal needs and where the child is treated with respect.”

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Arizona Department of Child Safety
Policy and Procedure Manual
Chapter 4: Section 4: Placement Needs of Children in Out-of-Home Care
“To assess the living arrangement that best meets the child's needs, gather information from . . . Include in the assessment, a thorough consideration of: the characteristics of the child: age, gender, religion, primary language, perceived or identified sexual orientation and gender identity.”
https://extranet.azdcs.gov/DCSPolicy/

Chapter 5, Section 31: Services and Supports to Prepare Youth for Adulthood
“The department shall confirm that a diverse array of services and resources are identified and provided to assist youth in addressing their needs, including any services that affirm the youth's sexual orientation, gender expression and/or gender identity .”
https://extranet.azdcs.gov/DCSPolicy/

Chapter 5, Section 33: Young Adult Living Arrangements
"The Department, in determining eligibility for Independent Living Subsidy, shall not discriminate based on the youth’s race, national origin, ethnicity, religious or spiritual beliefs, gender or gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, child-bearing or parenting status, or for youth age 18 and older, marital status."
https://extranet.azdcs.gov/DCSPolicy/

State Agency Website:

https://dcs.az.gov/

Grievance Procedure
Ombudsman: 
Arizona DCS Office of the Ombudsman
Phone: 602-364-0777 or 1-877-527-0765
Email: ombudsman@azdcs.gov

Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide
7878 N. 16th Street, Suite 235
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Phone: (602) 277-7292
Toll-Free: (800) 872-2879
Fax: (602) 277-7312
Email: ombuds@azoca.gov
http://www.azoca.gov/

Additional Provisions:

Arkansas

Arkansas has statutory based protection against discrimination on account of gender but not sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, for youth in the child welfare system.

Gender is a protected class in statutory “Safeguards for children in foster care”. In addition, regulation prohibits “derogatory comments” about the child’s gender.

Arkansas has a Medical Services ombudsman and is not child welfare-specific.

The state has a religious refusal law, which, "provided that the health, safety, and welfare of children in the care of a child welfare agency are not endangered, nothing in this subchapter shall permit the board to promulgate or enforce any rule that has the effect of: (A) Interfering with the religious teaching or instruction offered by a child welfare agency; (B) Infringing upon the religious beliefs of the holder or holders of a child welfare agency license." Ark. Code Ann. § 9-28-405 (d)(1).

Statute:

Ark. Code Ann. § 9-28-1003
Safeguards for children in foster care
“(b) A child in foster care in the State of Arkansas shall be entitled to the following:
. . .
(20) To be cared for without regard to race, gender, religion, or disability.”

Regulation:

Ark. Admin. Code 016.15.2-205
Child Placing Agencies: Foster Care
Behavior Management.
“4. The following forms of discipline shall not be used:
. . .
d. Derogatory comments about the child, the child’s family, race, or gender[.]”

Ark. Admin. Code 016.15.3-3
Responsibilities of the Foster Care Team
“Children have certain inherent rights based on their special status as children and their inability to care for themselves.
. . .
Responsibilities of foster parents to DCFS, the child, and the child’s family [include] . . . [p]rovid[ing] the level of supervision, care, and treatment necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of each child placed into their home, taking into account the child’s age, individual differences and abilities, surrounding circumstances, hazards, and risks.”

Policy: 

None known.

State Agency Website:

http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dcfs

Grievance Procedure:
None known.

Ombudsman: 
Division of Child and Family Services
Phone: (501) 682-8770

Office of Ombudsman Division of Medical Services
P.O. Box 1437 Slot S-418
Little Rock, AR 72205
Telephone: 1.844.843.7351
Email: PASSEOmbudsmanOffice@dhs.arkansas.gov
https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/divisions-shared-services/medical-services/healthcare-programs/passe/office-of-the-passe-ombudsman/
Additional Provisions:

California

California has statutory and regulatory based protection from discrimination for youth in the child welfare system inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, California law requires that transgender youth in out-of-home care be placed in accord with their gender identity. State child welfare agency policy also includes protection from discrimination inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The state prohibits the practice of “sexual orientation change efforts” on patients under 18 years of age. The law defines such efforts as “any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation,” inclusive of “behaviors or gender expressions.” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 865-865.2.

The state also provides “that the right of minors and nonminors in foster care to health care and mental health care includes covered gender affirming health care and gender affirming mental health care[.]” A.B. 2119 (Ca. 2018).

California has a foster care ombudsman.

Statute:

Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 16001.9
Rights of minors and non-minors in foster care.
“The rights are as follows:
. . .
(4) To be placed in the least restrictive setting possible, regardless of age, physical health, mental health, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression, juvenile court record, or status as a pregnant or parenting youth, unless a court orders otherwise.
(16) To participate in extracurricular, cultural, racial, ethnic, personal enrichment, and social activities, including, but not limited to, access to computer technology and the internet, consistent with the child's age, maturity, developmental level, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.
(17) To have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.
(18) To have caregivers, child welfare and probation personnel, and legal counsel who have received instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and best practices for providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children in out-of-home care.
(19) To be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court, child welfare, medical, or vital records, to be referred to by the child's preferred name and gender pronoun, and to maintain privacy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, unless the child permits the information to be disclosed, or disclosure is required to protect their health and safety, or disclosure is compelled by law or a court order.
(22)(A) To access and receive medical, dental, vision, mental health, and substance use disorder services, and reproductive and sexual health care, with reasonable promptness that meets the needs of the child, to have diagnoses and services explained in an understandable manner, and to participate in decisions regarding health care treatment and services. This right includes covered gender affirming health care and gender affirming mental health care, and is subject to existing laws governing consent to health care for minors and nonminors and does not limit, add, or otherwise affect applicable laws governing consent to health care.
(37) To be involved in the development of their own case plan, including placement decisions, and plan for permanency. This involvement includes, but is not limited to, the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of the child's gender identity. If the child is an Indian child, the case plan shall include protecting the essential tribal relations and best interests of the Indian child by assisting the child in establishing, developing, and maintaining political, cultural, and social relationships with the child's Indian tribe and Indian community.

Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 16006
Placement according to gender identity
“Children and nonminor dependents in out-of-home care shall be placed according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare records.”

Regulation:

Cal. Code Regs. tit. 22, § 83072
Small Family Homes: Personal Rights
“(c) At admission each child, and his/her authorized representative, shall be personally advised of and given a copy of the child’s rights as specified... below:
. . .
(d) The licensee shall ensure that each child, regardless of whether the child is in foster care, is accorded the personal rights specified in Welfare and Institutions Code section 16001.9, as applicable."

Cal. Code Regs. tit. 22, § 84072
Group Homes: Personal Rights
“(c) At admission each child, and his/her authorized representative, shall be personally advised of and given a copy of the child’s rights as specified... below:
. . .
(d) The licensee shall ensure that each child, regardless of whether the child is in foster care, is accorded the personal rights specified in Welfare and Institutions Code section 16001.9, as applicable."

Cal. Code Regs. tit. 22, § 88022
Foster Family Agencies: Plan of Operation.
“[T]he plan of operation must contain the following:
. . .
(5) A written description of the foster family agency training plan including:
. . .
(D) Initial and ongoing training of foster family agency staff in the child's right to have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.”

Policy:

California Department of Health and Social Services, All County Information Notice I-81-10, Serving Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender And Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth, LGBTQ Caregivers And LGBTQ Prospective Foster And Adoptive Parents (Oct. 10, 2010)
http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acin/2010/I-81_10.pdf

California Foster Care Ombudsman
Foster Youth Have Rights!
“If you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against because of your sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic group, ancestry, national origin, gender identity, mental or physical disability or HIV status, or for any other reason, you should call the Foster Care Ombudsman Help-line for assistance.”
https://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/pub396.pdf

California Department of Social Services
When and How to File a Discrimination Complaint
“California county welfare departments may not discriminate against you on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin (including language), political affiliation, disability, marital status, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other applicable bases.”
http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Reporting/File-a-Complaint/Discrimination-Complaints

State Agency Website:

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Reporting/File-a-Complaint

Ombudsman:
California Ombudsman for Foster Care
744 P Street, MS 8-13-25
Sacramento, California 95814
Toll-Free: (877) 846-1602
Email: fosteryouthhelp@dss.ca.gov
http://www.fosteryouthhelp.ca.gov/

Additional Provisions:

Colorado

Colorado has statutory-based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system.

Colorado Civil Rights Commission rules prohibit discriminatory or unfair practices in housing and specifically “allow individuals the use of gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.” These protections may extend to youth placed in out-of-home care.

Colorado has a child welfare-specific Ombudsman’s office.

Statute:

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. 19-7-101
Protections for Youth in Foster Care: Legislative declaration
“[Y]outh in foster care . . . should enjoy the following:
. . .
(t) Having fair and equal access to available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits based on his or her treatment plan and not being subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status[.]”

Regulation:

12 Colo. Code Regs. § 2509-7:7.604
Anti-Discrimination
“A. County department staff shall not deny a person aid, services, or other benefits or opportunity to participate therein, solely because of age, race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, political beliefs, method of payment, sexual orientation, veterans status, or disability.”

12 Colo. Code Regs. § 2509-8:7.708.33
Foster Children’s Rights
“Every foster child has the right to:
1. Enjoy freedom of thought, conscience, cultural and ethnic practice, and religion.
2. A reasonable degree of privacy.
3. Have his or her opinions heard and considered, to the greatest extent possible, when any decisions are being made affecting his/her life.”

12 Colo. Code Regs. § 2509-8:7.714.31
Quality Standards for 24-Hour Child Care: Children’s Rights
“A. The facility shall have written policies and procedures that address and ensure the availability of each of the following core rights for children in residence. These rights may not be restricted or denied by the facility.
. . .
13. Every child has the right to the same consideration for care and treatment as anyone else regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, political affiliation, sexual orientation, financial status or disability.”

3 Colo. Code Regs. § 708-1:81.8
Dress & Grooming Standards.
“Covered entities may prescribe standards of dress or grooming that serve a reasonable business or institutional purpose, provided that they shall not require an individual to dress or groom in a manner inconsistent with the individual’s gender identity.”

3 Colo. Code Regs. § 708-1:81.9
Gender-Segregated Facilities.
“(A) Nothing in the Act prohibits segregation of facilities on the basis of gender.
(B) All covered entities shall allow individuals the use of gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. Gender-segregated facilities include, but are not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and dormitories.
(C) In gender-segregated facilities where undressing in the presence of others occurs, covered entities shall make reasonable accommodations to allow access consistent with an individual’s gender identity.”

Policy:
Office of Behavior Health Gender Identity Considerations in Residential Setting
"It is the policy of the Office of Behavior Health (OBH) to ensure there is no discrimination against, or harassment of, any individual, visitor, or guest on the basis of sex or gender identity. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Qu7DlYJwx7T0s2ek5QSG9YRHM/view/

State Agency Website:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/children-families

Grievance Procedure:
http://www.coloradocpo.org/complaint-form/

Ombudsman:
Child Protection Ombudsman of Colorado
Phone: (720) 625-8640
http://www.coloradocpo.org/

Additional Provisions:

Connecticut*

Connecticut’s Department of Children & Families has a nondiscrimination policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care. The state also has a best practice guide for working with transgender youth and caregivers.

The state bars health care providers from administering “conversion therapy” to any person under 18 years of age. The law defines conversion therapy as any practice that “seeks to change the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” It characterizes conversion therapy as “an unfair or deceptive trade practice” and bars the expenditure of public funds for its purpose. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 19a-907-907c.

Connecticut has a child welfare-specific Ombudsman’s office.

Statute: 
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Connecticut Department of Children & Families, Policy 21-16
Non-Discrimination of LGBTQQIAA Individuals
"The Department has an obligation to ensure fair, equal, and non-discriminatory treatment of all individuals who identify themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and Ally (LGBTQQIAA), in accordance with state laws governing non-discrimination." https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCF/Policy/Chapters/21-16.pdf

Connecticut Department of Children & Families,
Working with Transgender Youth and Caregivers Practice Guide
https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCF/Policy/BPGuides/21-16PG-Transgender.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://portal.ct.gov/DCF

Grievance Procedure: 
Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)
"A complaint may be submitted verbally or in writing to the Office of Diversity and Equity. When possible, a complaint shall be submitted using the DCF-104, “Discrimination Complaint Intake Form.”
https://portal.ct.gov/DCF/ODE/Home
https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCF/Policy/Chapters/7-1.pdf

Ombudsman:
Connecticut Department of Children & Families
Office of the Ombudsman
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Phone: (860) 550-6301
Toll-Free: (866) 637-4737
Fax: (860) 560-7086
https://portal.ct.gov/DCF/1-DCF/About-DCF

Additional Provisions:

Delaware

Delaware has no explicit protection from discrimination on account of sex (or gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression for youth in the child welfare system in state statute, regulation or agency policy.

Delaware has an Office of the Child Advocate.

The state considers it “unprofessional conduct or a ground for discipline” for any licensed nurse, mental health or chemical dependency professional, psychologist, or clinical social worker to engage in “conversion therapy” with a child. The bill defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” S.B. 65, 149th Leg. (Del. 2018).

Statute:

Del. Code Ann. tit. 13, § 2522
Rights of children in DSCYF custody
“(a) All dependent, neglected and abused children in DSCYF custody under this chapter shall have the following rights in accordance with their ages and developmental levels, unless prohibited by court order:
. . .
(5) To receive appropriate placement services.
. . .
(8) To participate in the formation and maintenance of their foster care service, independent living and transition plans, where applicable.”

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:
None known.

State Agency Website:

https://kids.delaware.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
None known.

Ombudsman:
Office of the Child Advocate
Phone: (302) 255-1730
https://courts.delaware.gov/childadvocate/

Additional Provisions:

District of Columbia*

The District of Columbia has statutory-, regulatory- and policy- based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. The state also has a nondiscrimination policy specific gender identity and expression.

The District prohibits providers from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” on minors. The law does not define sexual orientation change efforts. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-1231.14a.

The District of Columbia has a child welfare-specific Ombudsman’s office.

Statute:

D.C. Code Ann. § 2-1402.73
Application to the District government.
“Except as otherwise provided for by District law . . . it shall be unlawful discriminatory practice for a District government agency or office to limit or refuse to provide any facility, service, program, or benefit to any individual on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business.”

D.C. Code Ann. § 4-1303.72
Statements of Rights and Responsibilities for Youth in Foster Care.
“[A] Statement of Rights and Responsibilities for youth in foster homes, group homes, and independent living programs [will]
(1) Incorporate existing rights for youth in foster care provided by local law, federal law, local regulations, agency administrative issuances, and other policy documents.”

Regulation:

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 29, § 6004
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF FOSTER CHILDREN LIVING IN FOSTER HOMES
“6004.1 The following principles and rights are to govern the care and treatment of foster children.
Each child is:
. . .
(g) Not to be subjected to discrimination as provided in the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-38; D.C. Official Code §§ 2-1401.01 et. seq.) [The relevant law reads: ‘It is the intent of the Council of the District of Columbia, in enacting this chapter, to secure an end in the District of Columbia to discrimination for any reason other than that of individual merit, including, but not limited to, discrimination by reason of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, and place of residence or business.’].”

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 29, § 6203
Licensing of Youth Shelters, Runaway Shelters, Emergency Care Facilities, and Youth Group Homes
STATEMENT OF RESIDENT’S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
“6203.1 A resident in a facility not intended exclusively for children who have been abused or neglected has the following rights.
. . .
(h) In accordance with the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-38, D.C. Official Code §§ 1-2501 et seq.), not to be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income or place of residence or business.
6203.2 The following principles and rights are to govern the care and treatment of a foster child who is a resident of a facility for children who have been abused or neglected. Each such foster child is:
. . .
(g) Not to be subjected to discrimination as provided in D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-38; D.C. Official Code §§ 2-1401.01 et seq.) [The relevant law reads: ‘It is the intent of the Council of the District of Columbia, in enacting this chapter, to secure an end in the District of Columbia to discrimination for any reason other than that of individual merit, including, but not limited to, discrimination by reason of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, and place of residence or business.’].”

Policy:
D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, Gender Identity and Expression (May 24, 2017)
http://bit.ly/2AUORHn

D.C. Child and Family Services Agency
Statement of Nondiscrimination
“CFSA and our employees, contractors, and other partners do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intra-family offense, or place of residence or business.”
http://cfsa.dc.gov/publication/statement-nondiscrimination

D.C. Child and Family Services Agency
Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in Foster Care
“You have a right to fair treatment and respect. No one may scare, bully, or abuse you. No one may punish you with hitting or other violence. No one may refuse to help you or disrespect you because of your race, color, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, or disability.”
https://cfsa.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/cfsa/page_content/attachments/YBOR.pdf

D.C. Child and Family Services Agency
Administrative Issuance CFSA-10-6, Bill of Rights for Youth in Care (Sept. 3, 2010)
“As a youth in the foster care system, I am guaranteed the following general rights:
. . .
V. To express my beliefs, customs, and values with the people where I live. I have the right to have my caregiver listen to and respect my beliefs, customs, and values.”
https://cfsa.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/cfsa/publication/attachments/AI%20-%20Bill%20of%20Rights%20for%20Youth%20in%20Care%20(final)_1.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://cfsa.dc.gov/services

Grievance Procedure:
http://cfsa.dc.gov/service/be-heard-for-youth

Ombudsman:
District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency Youth Ombudsman
200 I Street, SE
Washington, District of Columbia 20003
Phone: (855) 874-3273
Fax: (202) 727-6505
Email: yo.bud@dc.gov

Additional Provisions:

Florida

Florida has regulatory-based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system in the context of placement in congregate care (group homes). The regulations contain a protocol regarding placement of transgender youth consistent with their identities and define “gender” as inclusive of gender identity. The Department of Children and Family Services has policy-based protection against discrimination on account of sex.

Florida has a Children’s Ombudsman.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:

Fla. Admin. Code Ann. Reg. 65C-14.001
Definitions
“(2) ‘Gender’ or ‘gender identity’ means a person’s internal identification or self-image as male or female. Gender identity may or may not correspond to the gender that is listed on the person’s birth certificate. The terms ‘male,’ ‘female,’ or ‘nonbinary’ describe how a person identifies.”

Fla. Admin. Code & Fla. Admin. Reg. 65C-14.018
Individual Needs of Children In Care.
“(8) The child-caring agency shall involve the child in the selection, care and maintenance of the child’s personal clothing, as appropriate to the child’s age and ability. The child-caring agency shall allow a child to possess and bring personal belongings. The child-caring agency may limit or supervise the use of these items . . . however, it may not restrict items based on the child’s gender identity or expression.”

Fla. Admin. Code & Fla. Admin. Reg. 65C-14.021
Discipline and Behavior Management.
“(3) Facility staff shall not:
. . .
(h) Engage in discriminatory treatment or harassment on the basis of a child’s race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability, or any other characteristic.
(i) Permit harassment or bullying of children by staff or other youth based on their race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, or any other characteristic.
(j) Attempt to change or discourage a child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

Fla. Admin. Code & Fla. Admin. Reg. 65C-14.023
Personnel and Staffing Requirements.
“(18)(a) The child-caring agency shall document that training received by direct child care staff in the first full year of employment includes the following areas:
. . .
4. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”

Fla. Admin. Code & Fla. Admin. Reg. 65C-14.040
Group Care: Admission, Placement, and Ongoing Services.
“(4) The admission of each child in the care and custody of the Department to a residential child-caring agency shall follow completion of a pre-admission study completed by the child-placing agency, and shall include the following:
. . .
(f) For transgender youth, a determination whether the youth should be placed with their gender listed on their birth certificate or their identified gender. Factors to be considered shall include:
1. The physical safety of the transgender youth,
2. The emotional well-being of the transgender youth,
3. The youth’s preference,
4. The recommendation of the youth’s guardian ad litem,
5. The recommendation of the youth’s parent, when parental rights have not been terminated,
6. The recommendation of the youth’s case manager; and,
7. The recommendation of the youth’s therapist, if applicable.
(5) No child shall be denied services by any child-placing agency based on race, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or transgenderism. A child-placing agency has the obligation to place each child in the most suitable setting according to that child’s individual needs, taking into account the capacity of the placement to meet the child’s needs, and the needs of the other children already placed in that setting.
. . .
(7) The child-caring agency shall provide prior to or at admission an orientation to living in the facility for each child and the child’s parent or guardian or child-placing agency staff. The orientation shall include the following:
. . .
(f) The inherent diversity of group home populations, including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, and transgenderism.

Fla. Admin. Code & Fla. Admin. Reg. 65C-46.009
Discipline and Behavior Management.
(3) Facility staff shall not: ...
(h) Engage in discriminatory treatment or harassment on the basis of a child’s race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability, or any other characteristic."

Policy:

Florida Department of Children and Families, CFOP 170-01 Florida's Child Welfare Practice Model
Chapter 2 Core Safety Concerns
"a. Purpose. Child strengths and needs measure the extent to which certain desired conditions are present in the life of the child within a recent timeframe. Child strengths and needs are assessed by the case manager based upon the assessment of child functioning. (1) These child indicators are directly related to a child’s well-being and success (e.g., emotion, behavior, family and peer relationships, development, academic achievement, and life skill attainment)... d. Specific Child Strength and Need Definitions and Ratings... (8) Cultural Identity. Important cultural factors such as race, class, ethnicity, religion, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ), or other forms of culture are appropriately considered in the child’s life. (NOTE: The goal of responding to a C or D would not be to change the cultural identity or belonging, but to resolve the conflict or help the child cope with the conflict.)...
Chapter 5 Completing a Unified Home Study
(5) Explain how the caregiver(s) is(are) willing and able to make a loving commitment to the child(ren)’s safety and well-being. This includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Respecting and honoring any child’s culture, religion and ethnicity. (b) Adapting to and supporting any child’s individual situation, including sexual orientation and family relationships"
https://www.myflfamilies.com/admin/publications/cfops/CFOP%2017....

Florida Department of Children and Families, CFOP 170-10 Providing Services and Support for Children in Care and for Caregivers
8-5. Informing Relative Caregivers of Responsibilities and Rights.
The child welfare professional responsible for completing the relative caregiver home study will provide the following information to the relative caregiver(s).: ...
b. Expectations of the relative caregiver as a team member: ...
(7) Handle special challenges in caring for a child. This includes the child’s culture and religion. This also includes any child behaviors, sexual orientation, and family relationships.
https://www.myflfamilies.com/admin/publications/cfops/CFOP%20170...

Florida Department of Children and Families
USDA-HHS Non-Discrimination Statement
“This institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex and in some cases religion or political beliefs.”
https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/access/non-discrimination-statement.shtml

State Agency Website:

http://www.myflfamilies.com/

Grievance Procedure:
None known.

Ombudsman:

Heather Rosenberg
Florida Children’s Ombudsman
Phone: (850) 717-4505
Cell: (850) 491-2203
Ombudsman Line: 844-KIDS-FLA
Email: kidsfla@myflfamilies.com
https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/child-welfare/childrens-ombudsman.shtml

Additional Provisions:

Georgia

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex for youth in the child welfare system.

Georgia has an Office of the Child Advocate.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Notice of Nondiscrimination in DFCS programs, services and activities:
“The Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex and in some cases religion or political beliefs.”
https://dfcs.georgia.gov/adasection-504-and-civil-rights

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services: Child Welfare Policy Manual
Administration, 1.4 Non-Discriminatory Child Welfare Practices
“The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) shall:
1. Ensure that no individual is excluded from participation, denied the benefits, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under programs, services and activities for which DFCS has responsibility on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, or disability.”
https://odis.dhs.ga.gov/General (Select Division of Family and Children Services from DHS Divisions & Offices Menu, then select the Child Welfare Manual, then download 1.4 Non-Discriminatory Child Welfare Practices)

State Agency Website:

https://dfcs.georgia.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

DFCS Constituents Services
https://dfcs.georgia.gov/contacts/dfcs-constituent-service

Office of the Child Advocate
https://oca.georgia.gov/

Ombudsman:
Georgia’s Office of the Child Advocate
7 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr., SE
Suite 347
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-4200
http://oca.georgia.gov/

Additional Provisions:

Guam

Guam has policy-based protection from discrimination on account of sex for youth in the child welfare system.

Guam has no known ombudsman.

Statute: 
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Guam Division of Public Welfare
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
“This institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex and in some cases religion or political beliefs.”
http://www.dphss.guam.gov/content/division-public-welfare

State Agency Website:

http://www.dphss.guam.gov/content/bureau-social-services-administration

Grievance Procedure
None known.

Ombudsman:
None known.

Hawaii

Hawaii has stautory based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system. The Hawaii Department of Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for anyone seeking to access services. The Hawaii Department of Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system.

The state prohibits any person who is “licensed to provide professional counseling” from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” on anyone under 18 years of age. The law defines sexual orientation change efforts as “the practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation, including but not limited to efforts to change gender identity or gender expressions and behaviors.” S.B. 270, 29th Leg. (Haw. 2018).

The Office of the Ombudsman handles complaints against all state and county agencies, but is not child welfare specific.

Statute:
Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 587A-3.1
Rights of children in foster care
(b) ... a child in foster care shall have the following rights:
(1) To be treated fairly and equally and receive care and services that are culturally responsive and free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, immigration status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical and mental disability, pregnancy or parenting status, or the fact that the child is in foster care

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Hawaii Department of Human Services
Policy No. 4.10.1, Discrimination Complaints Policy (Oct. 1, 2014)
“It is the policy of the DHS to assure a work and service environment free from discriminatory practices for all department employees, applicants for employment, applicants for participation in the DHS programs, and participants in DHS programs. The work and service environments shall be without discrimination, retaliation for having filed a complaint, and/or harassment on the basis of age, arrest/court records, breastfeeding, child support assignment, citizenship, credit history, disability (physical or mental), domestic/sexual violence victim status, genetic information, National Guard absence, national origin/ancestry, political belief, race or color, religion, relationship status, sex/gender (expression or identity), sexual orientation, veteran status, retaliation for filing a complaint or participating in complaint process, and harassment based on one or more of the protected factors listed here or might be added to law periodically.”
http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Policy-4.10.1-Disc-Complaint.pdf

Rights of Children in Foster Care
As a child or youth in Hawai‘i’s Child Welfare Services Foster Care system...
You also have the right to be treated fairly and equally and receive care and services that are culturally responsive and free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, immigration status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical and mental disability, pregnancy or parenting status, or the fact that you are in foster care.
http://www.ilpconnections.org/uploads/1/1/5/4/115414149/cws_form_for_youth-final__10-19-18_.pdf

Hawaii Department of Human Services
Nondiscrimination
“In accordance with federal and state laws, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USHHS) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex/gender (expression or identity), age or disability.”
https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/DOC005.pdf

State Agency Website:

http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Discrimination-Complaint-Form-6000-1.18.pdf

Ombudsman:
Hawaii Office of the Ombudsman
465 South King Street, 4th Floor
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: (808) 587-0770
Fax: (808) 587-0773
TTY: (808) 587-0774
Email: complaints@ombudsman.hawaii.gov
http://www.ombudsman.hawaii.gov/got-a-complaint

Additional Provisions:

Idaho

Idaho has policy based protections against discrimination on account of of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. The Department of Health and Welfare has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex for anyone seeking to access services.

The state has no known ombudsman.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Idaho Youth in Care Bill of Rights (Oct. 2015)
“Youth have the right to learn about their sexuality in a safe and supportive environment...
Youth have the most basic right to receive care and services that are free of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity and gender expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, and the fact that they are in foster care.”
https://publicdocuments.dhw.idaho.gov/WebLink/DocView.aspx?id=226&dbid=0&repo=PUBLIC-DOCUMENTS

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Non-Discrimination Statement
“The Department of Health and Welfare is committed to equal opportunity in the delivery of programs and services to clients ...
The Department is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex and, in some cases, religion or political beliefs.”
http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/AboutUs/Discrimination/tabid/1058/Default.aspx

State Agency Website:

https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Civil Rights Manager
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0036
Phone: 208-334-5617 TTY: 208-332-7205
https://publicdocuments.dhw.idaho.gov/WebLink/DocView.aspx?id=1235&dbid=0&repo=PUBLIC-DOCUMENTS&cr=1

Ombudsman:
None known.

Additional Provisions:

Illinois*

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and LGBTQ+ identity for youth in the child welfare system. The Department of Children and Family Services has a policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care and best practices for providing affirming care. Illinois has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex by contracted service providers, protections against discrimination on account of gender for anyone seeking adoption services, and considers "development of the child's identity" as a consideration for their best interest.

The state prohibits mental health providers from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” with anyone under the age of eighteen. 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 48/1-48/30. The law defines sexual orientation as inclusive of “gender-related identity.” 775 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/1-103.

Illinois has a child welfare-specific ombudsman.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:

89 Ill. Adm. Code 308.30
The Department's Nondiscrimination Policy with Respect to Private Purchase of Service Providers
“(a) The Department shall contract only with service providers who, in the provision of their services and opportunities for employment, exercise nondiscriminatory policies and practices. All purchase of service providers must provide contractual exhibits assuring that they do not discriminate in their employment and service delivery practices. Such providers include all child welfare service providers, social service providers, or any other purchase of service providers with whom the Department may contract. (b) Each provider shall comply with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq. and 2000e et seq.); Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 793 and 794); the U.S. Constitution; the 1970 Illinois Constitution; any state and federal laws, regulations or orders which prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin or ancestry, age, physical or mental handicap unrelated to ability, or an unfavorable discharge from military service other than a dishonorable discharge and service delivery on the grounds of race, sex, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, the inability to speak or comprehend the English language or by reason of any handicap. Refer to Part 307, Indian Child Welfare Services which defines the special rights of American Indians."

89 Ill. Adm. Code 309.20
“‘Best interests’ as defined in the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 means consideration of the following factors in the context of the child's age and developmental needs: the physical safety and welfare of the child, including food, shelter, health, and clothing; the development of the child’s identity[.]”

89 Ill. Adm. Code 401.500(e)
“Child welfare agencies that provide adoption services shall... Prohibit discrimination against any child, birth parent, foster parent or prospective adoptive parent on the basis of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity.”

Policy:

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Services Delivered by the Department, 302. Appendix K, Support and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Children and Youth (May 11, 2017)
"Anybody in contact with children/youth in DCFS care, who is acting under DCFS/POS authority or control, whether or not directly employed by DCFS or a POS, is prohibited from engaging in the discrimination, bias, or harassment...
All staff are prohibited from engaging in any form of discrimination, bias or harassment against LGBTQ children, youth and their families. https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/notices/Documents/Procedures_302_Appendices.pdf
(Go to page 115)

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
"The DCFS ​Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the department complies with civil rights rules and regulations and that the rights of all DCFS employees, applicants and service recipients are protected against unlawful discrimination.
Unlawful areas of discrimination include: ...
Sex
Sexual orientation
Gender identity"

https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/OAA/Pages/default.aspx

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, LGBTQ Rainbow Youth Rights (2016)
https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/brighterfutures/independence/Documents/LGBTQ_Poster.pdf

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Support and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youths, Policy Transmittal 2009.06 (March 13, 2009)
http://www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/cw_and_jj_illinois_2009.pdf

State of Illinois, Department of Children and Family Services
Youth-in-Care Bill of Rights
“As a child or foster youth in care, I have the right:
. . .
To be free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status
. . .
To have caregivers and child welfare personnel who have received instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to and best practices for serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in out-of-home-care[.]”
https://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/notices/documents/cfs_496-1_illinois_foster_child_and_youth_foster_bill_of_rights.pdf
https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/brighterfutures/independence/Pages/Understanding-Your-Rights-and-Responsibilities.aspx

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Services to LGBTQI+ Youth in Care
https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/brighterfutures/healthy/Pages/ServicesLGBTQ-YIC.aspx

State Agency Website:

https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
1921 South Indiana Ave., 4th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60616
Telephone: 312-328-2495
https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/OAA/Pages/FilingaDiscriminationComplaint.aspx

DHS Help Line: 800-843-6154 (voice), 866-324-5553 (TTY)

DCFS LGBTQI+ Specialty Services team: 312-814-8741

Ombudsman:
Illinois Advocacy Office for Children and Families
406 East Monroe Street
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Phone: (217) 524-2029
Toll-Free: (800) 232-3798
TTY: (800) 513-4980
Email: dcfs.advocacy@illinois.gov
https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/Pages/Get-Help.aspx
https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/Documents/AdvocBro.pdf

Additional Provisions:

Indiana

Indiana Department of Child Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system.

Indiana has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Indiana Bill of Rights for Youth in Care
“We have the right not to be discriminated against based on our race, color, religion, sex, gender, age, mental or physical disability, national origin, marital status, familial status, political views, financial situation, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We have the right to learn about these things in a safe and supportive environment.”
http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/Indiana_DCS_Bill_of_Rights_for_Youth_in_Care.pdf

Indiana Department of Child Services
Non-Discrimination in Service Delivery to Clients Title IV of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC 2000d), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC 794), Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC 12132), and all regulations related to these Acts address non-discrimination in service delivery to clients. All local offices must ensure that no one, based on race, color, sex, national origin, or handicap, is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any service or activity for which the federal government provides funding. https://www.in.gov/dcs/policies/state-policy-overview/

Indiana Department of Child Services
Child Welfare Manual, Ch. 11: Older Youth Services
Sec. 9 Voluntary Services Host Home
"Expectations of the voluntary services host home arrangement will be discussed and agreed upon in the Child and Family Team Meeting held prior to the youth’s transition. The following topics, which are included in the Voluntary Services Host Home Agreement, shall be discussed:
(B) Refraining from discriminating against the youth based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual or gender identity, or sexual orientation." https://www.in.gov/dcs/files/11.09-Voluntary-Services-Host-Home.pdf
Sec. 25: Collaborative Care Host Homes
“Expectations of the Host Home placement will be discussed and agreed upon in the Child and Family Team (CFT) Meeting held prior to the youth’s transition. The following topics, which are included in the Foster Home/Host Home Agreement, shall be discussed: (2) Refraining from discriminating against the youth based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation
https://www.in.gov/dcs/files/11.25-Collaborative-Care-Host-Home.pdf

Indiana Department of Child Services
Code of Conduct for the Indiana Department of Child Services
“E. Diversity and Non-Discrimination: DCS staff will be respectful, understanding of, and sensitive to the diverse cultural backgrounds of all individuals. This includes but is not limited to, social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, and mental and physical disability.

DCS staff will not condone or engage in any discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability. All reports of discrimination must be reported to DCS Human Resources or the State Personnel Department (SPD). https://www.in.gov/dcs/files/Code-of-Conduct.pdf

State Agency Website:

http://www.in.gov/dcs/

Grievance Procedure:

Ombudsman:
Indiana Department of Child Services Ombudsman Bureau
402 W. Washington, W479
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Phone: 877-682-0101
Fax: 317-232-3154
Email: DCSOmbudsman@idoa.in.gov
http://www.in.gov/idoa/2610.htm

Additional Provisions:

Iowa

Iowa Department of Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity for anyone seeking to access services. Iowa Department of Human Services Foster Parent Handbook requires that foster parents respect youth's sexual orientation and gender identity.

The State of Iowa Office of Ombudsman serves as an independent and impartial agency to which citizens can air their grievances about government, but is not child welfare-specific.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:
None known.

Policy:

Iowa Department of Human Services
Non-Discrimination Policy
“It is the policy of the Iowa Department of Human Services to provide equal treatment in employment and provision of services to applicants, employees and clients without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, disability or veteran status; hereafter referred to as protected category.”
http://dhs.iowa.gov/non-discrimination-policy

Iowa Department of Human Services
Foster Parent Handbook
"Foster parents must respect the right to religious freedom and culture of children in their care by:
Respecting the child’s sexual orientation and gender identity regardless of personal beliefs."
https://dhs.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/Comm033.pdf?092220212022

Iowa Foster Child and Youth Bill of Rights
“You have the right to be who you are.”
http://dhs.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/AMP_Bill_of_Rights_2013.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://dhs.iowa.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Iowa Department of Human Services, Office of Human Resources
Hoover State Office Building, 1st floor
1305 East Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0114
contactdhs@dhs.state.ia.us
https://dhs.iowa.gov/non-discrimination-policy

Ombudsman:
State of Iowa Office of Ombudsman
Ola Babcock Miller Building
1112 East Grand
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Phone: (515) 281-3592
Toll-Free: (888) 426-6283
TTY: (515) 242-5065
Email: ombudsman@legis.iowa.gov
https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Ombudsman/

Additional Provisions:

Kansas

Kansas has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex for youth in residential treatment facilities and anyone seeking to access services from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services which has been renamed the Kansas Department of Children and Families. Kansas Department of Children and Families has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex and gender for youth in the child welfare system. 

The state has a religious refusal law, which permits child placement agencies to refuse to “participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement of such child would violate such agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” S.B. 284 (Kan. 2018).

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:
Kansas Admin. Reg. 28-4-339
"(b) Each secure residential treatment facility shall establish and implement written policies and procedures concerning the rights of the youth. These policies and procedures shall provide that youth are assured of their rights, except if it is necessary to maintain order and security in the secure residential treatment facility or if it is contrary to a youth's approved treatment plan. These policies and procedures shall ensure the following:
(2) freedom from discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, sex, or disability"

Kansas Admin. Reg. 30-2-1.
Assistance provided without discrimination.
All assistance and services provided by the Kansas state department of social and rehabilitation services [Pursuant to Executive Reorganization Order (ERO) No. 41, the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services was re­named the Kansas Department for Children and Families. See L. 2012, Ch. 185.] shall be provided without discrimination on grounds of race, religion, color, sex, age, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.

Policy:

Kansas Department for Children and Families
Policy 0220, Discrimination Prohibited by Law (Jan. 1, 2018)
“All services shall be in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and K.S.A. 44-1009. No individual/family will be denied services because of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion and mental or physical disability. The provision of services will be provided based on need and eligibility criteria.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, color, national origin, sex, age, and religion.
. . .
K.S.A. 44-1009(a)(3) states, ‘It shall be unlawful discriminatory practice for any person to refuse, deny, make a distinction, directly or indirectly, or discriminate in any way against persons because of the race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry of such persons in the full and equal use and enjoyment of the services, facilities, privileges and advantages of any institution, department or agency of the State of Kansas or any political subdivision or municipality thereof.’”
http://bit.ly/2ENsjdZ

Kansas Department for Children and Families
Notice of Agency Decision
No person shall, on grounds of race, color, national origin, age, handicap, religion, or gender, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or subject to discrimination under any program or activity of the Department for Children and Families. http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Documents/PPM_Forms/Section_10000_Forms/PPS10300.pdf (See Civil Rights paragraph at the end of the document)

State Agency Website:

http://www.dcf.ks.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Department for Children and Families, Civil Rights/EEO Section
555 S. Kansas,
Topeka, KS 66603-3444

Ombudsman:
Kansas Department of Children and Families
The Office of Client Services
Phone: 833-765-2003
Email: DCF.CustomerService@ks.gov
http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/Pages/Client-Services.aspx

Additional Provisions:

Kentucky

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for for anyone seeking to access services. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex for anyone seeking to access services. The Kentucky Department of Community Based Care has policy based protections against discrimination on account of gender and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system.

The Office of the Ombudsman handles matters pertaining to programs and services provided by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Statute:

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 199.898
Rights for children in child-care programs and their parents, custodians, or guardians; posting and distribution requirements
“(1) All children receiving child-care services in . . . a family child-care home certified pursuant to KRS 199.8982, or from a provider or program receiving public funds shall have the following rights:
(a) The right to be free from physical or mental abuse;
(b) The right not to be subjected to abusive language or abusive punishment; and
(c) The right to be in the care of adults who shall meet their health, safety, and development.”

Regulation:

920 Ky. Admin. Regs. 1:090
"Section 2. Administrative Policy. (1) The cabinet shall comply with the following federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination:
(a) In a cabinet program: 1. KRS 344.015 and 344.020; 2. 28 C.F.R. 35 or 36; 3. 20 U.S.C. 1681; 4. 29 U.S.C. 794; 5. 42 U.S.C. 12131-12213, as amended by Pub.L. 110-325; 6. 42 U.S.C. 2000d-2000d-7; 7. 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107 or 45 C.F.R. 91; 8. Presidential Executive Order 13166; or 9. Another federal, state, or local law applicable to a cabinet program; …
Staff of OHRM shall attempt to elicit from a complainant the following: ...
(d) The basis on which the complainant believes discrimination or harassment exists, for example: 1. Race; 2. Color; 3. Religion; 4. Sex; 5. National origin; 6. Age; 7. Retaliation; 8. Sexual orientation; 9. Disability;10. Political beliefs; 11. Sexual harassment; or 12. Limited English proficiency”

Policy:
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Civil Rights/Derechos Civiles
“The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services does not discriminate against any person on the basis of political beliefs, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability or sex. This policy protects the rights of the Cabinet’s employees, service applicants and customers. Vendors, agencies and organizations providing services to the Cabinet or its recipients of federally aided programs also must comply with this policy.”
https://chfs.ky.gov/Pages/civil-rights.aspx

Department of Community Based Care, Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 1, 1.1 Ethical Practice
“Protection and permanency professionals:...
Act to prevent discriminatory behavior based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status or any basis proscribed by law” https://manuals.sp.chfs.ky.gov/chapter1/00/Pages/11%20Ethical%20Practice.aspx

State Agency Website:

https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/dpp/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Branch
275 E. Main St., 5 C-D
Frankfort, KY 40621
Telephone: (502) 564-7770
Fax: (502) 564-3129
https://chfs.ky.gov/Pages/civil-rights.aspx

Ombudsman:
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of the Ombudsman
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40621
Phone: (502) 564-5497
Toll-Free: (800) 372-2973
Email: CHFS.Listens@ky.gov
https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/os/omb/Pages/default.aspx

Additional Provisions:

Louisiana

Louisiana has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation or any other “non-merit factor” for youth in the child welfare system. Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for anyone seeking to access services. Additionally, the Department has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for children in the adoption placement process. 

The state’s Child Welfare Division has no known designated ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

La. Admin Code. tit. 67, pt. V., § 7311(E)(5)
Provider Responsibilities: Children’s Rights: Civil Rights
“a. A child’s civil rights shall not be abridged or abrogated solely as a result of placement in the provider’s program.
b. A child shall not be denied admission, segregated into programs or otherwise subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical limitations, political beliefs, or any other non-merit factor.”

La. Admin Code. tit. 67, pt. V, § 7115(A)(5)
Resident Protection: Rights: Civil Rights
“a. Residents’ nor children of residents’ civil rights shall be abridged or abrogated solely as a result of placement in the provider's program
b. A resident nor child of a resident shall be denied admission, segregated into programs, or otherwise subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical limitations, political beliefs, or any other non-merit factor.”

La. Admin Code. tit. 67, pt. V, § 7309
Child Placing Agencies: Administration and Operation
“H. Policies and Procedures
1. The provider shall have a clearly defined intake policy in keeping with its stated purpose and it should be clear from the practices of the provider that it is carrying out these purposes.
a. Provider intake policy shall prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, handicapping condition, or ancestry.”

La. Admin Code. tit. 67 pt. V §7313 Administration and Operation: C. Policies and Procedures—Foster Care, Adoption, Transitional Placing
"5. The provider shall have a clearly defined intake policy in keeping with its stated purpose and it shall be clear from the practices of the provider that it is carrying out these purposes.
6. Provider intake policy shall prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, disability, or ancestry"

Policy:

Department of Children & Family Services Department Policy
2 Civil Rights, 2-2 Non-Discrimination in Service Provision
"No persons shall on the basis of age, sex, religion, race, color, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, *** or disability (not all prohibited bases apply to all programs) be excluded from participation in; be denied the benefits of; or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted in this department. DCFS will take appropriate action to ensure that the above will be implemented at all levels of administration."
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/tree/documents/393313

Department of Children & Family Services - 5 Family Services, 10 Case Closure, 5-1000 Case Closure
"The plan should also identify community resources available to the family should the need arise. The plan should further document telephone numbers and contact information for the local Department of Children and Family Services Office, identified support network, and relevant community resources. In cases where sexual orientation and/or gender identity expression is an issue, referrals to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) affirming, community based services need to be in place."
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/405113

Department of Children & Family Services - 6 Foster Care, 21 Guardianship Subsidy, 6-2140 Preparing for Guardianship Placement
"Staff should also discuss the following information regarding the child with the prospective guardianship caretaker: ● Birth history; ● Previous placement history; ● Behavior; ● Medical history and current health; ● Child’s sexual orientation and gender identity expression; ● Special needs; and ● Child’s education."
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/405551

Department of Children & Family Services - 6 Foster Care, 3 Care Setting Considerations, 6-300 Guidelines for Selecting a Placement/Replacement Resource
F. Nondiscriminatory Care Setting Selection
There shall be no discrimination in the placement of children on the basis of race, color, or national origin in accordance with the Social Security Act, Part E, Sections 471.18.A-B. DCFS staff shall not deny to any person the opportunity to become a foster parent, on the basis of the race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity expression of the foster parent or the child involved. Additionally, staff shall not delay or deny the care setting of a child into foster care, on the basis of the race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity expression of the foster parent, or the child involved. When selecting a foster family for a child, DCFS staff should consider the best interest of the child. Factors considered in the care setting decision shall be documented in the case record as well as the rationale for selecting a family. Child related factors that may be considered are listed below: ● Current functioning and behaviors; ● Medical, educational and developmental needs of the child that may include experience and training of a caregiver, as well as a home located within reasonable travel distance for access to medical and other service providers; ● Sexual orientation, gender identity expression ● History and past experiences; ● Interests and talents; ● Attachment to current caretakers and relatives; and ● Child's personal preference that he can articulate and discuss.
Factors that may be considered in assessing the prospective caregiver’s ** suitability to care for a particular child are their abilities to: ● Form relationships and bond with the child; ● Help the child integrate into the family; ● Accept the child's background as well as their sexual orientation and/or gender identity expression and help the child cope with his or her past; ● Accept the behavior and personality of the child; Division/Section Child Welfare Chapter No./Name 6 - Foster Care Part No./Name 3 – Care Setting Considerations Section No./Name Care Setting Considerations Document No./Name 6-300 Guidelines For Selecting a Care Setting/Replacement Resource Effective Date April 1, 2019 7 of 11 ● Meet the child's particular educational, developmental, or psychological needs; ● Meet the child's linguistic, dietary, musical, or athletic needs; and ● Meet the special care needs of a medically fragile, premature and/or substance exposed infant ...
If it appears that the child does have distinctive needs related to race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity expression or national origin, the case worker manager should document his responses to the following questions: ● What are the child's special or distinctive needs based on race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity expression or national origin? ● Why is it in the child's best interest to take these needs into account? ● Can the child's needs related to race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity expression or national origin be met without delaying * the care setting and placing the child at risk of other harms? ● Can these needs be met by the prospective foster or adoptive parent who does not share the child's racial or ethnic or sexual orientation or gender identity expression background? ● Can these needs be met only by a same race/ethnic or sexual orientation or gender identity expression care setting? ** If so, is some delay justified in order to search for a parent of the same race or ethnicity or sexual orientation or gender identity expression, if an appropriate person is not available in the Department’s current files? ● Can the child's special needs be taken into account without denying the child an opportunity to be cared for in a readily available foster home?
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/402846

Department of Children & Family Services - 6 Foster Care, 10 Education, 6-1000 Education Services to Children in Foster Care
All decisions regarding a child’s educational program must take into consideration the following in relation to the individual child: o unique educational/developmental needs requiring supportive services in the learning environment; o best interest of the child; o stability of educational setting; o educational/developmental progress and appropriateness of educational program; o safety of the child in the learning environment; o preparation of the school to manage potential threats from parents; o any bullying which may be occurring; o repercussions being experienced in relation to any sexual orientation/gender identity expression; o supportive services available; o long-term educational goals; o sustainability of a stable educational setting; and o contribution to permanency.
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/402787

Department of Children & Family Services - 8 Adoption, 4 Adoptive Placement Process, 8-400 Overview of Adoptive Placement Process
"All children in agency custody who are legally available for adoption shall receive services designed to achieve placement in a permanent family regardless of race, creed, color, age, developmental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity expression, institutional placement, or membership in a sibling group."
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/405470

Department of Children & Family Services - 9 Home Development, 3 Recruitment, 9-305 Minimum Elements in a Recruitment Plan
A. Annual Needs Assessment
Home Development staff shall schedule meetings with Foster Care Workers and Adoption Specialists to complete the annual needs assessment. Regional Administrators or designee shall put a system in place to assure that needs assessments which identify the number, location, race, sex, * sexual orientation/gender identity expression, ** and targeted needs of children requiring placements are occurring in a timely manner. Each region shall include in the recruitment plan a system for conducting a needs assessment to determine the demographics, needs, and placement requirements of the children in each parish of the region. The plan should include specific information related to the age, race, sex, * sexual orientation/gender identity expression, ** and any targeted needs of the children awaiting placement. This shall include the children who are currently in restrictive treatment facilities who will be in need of a less restrictive placement as well as the children entering care. The plan should document the projected number of foster/adoptive homes to be recruited in the coming fiscal year and those recruited in the preceding fiscal year, and a regional total of current homes
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/401588

Department of Children & Family Services, 9 Home Development, 6 Post Certification Services for Certified Homes 9-167 Specialized Foster Family Homes
Specialized Family Foster Homes for Adolescents Foster parents certified to provide care in this category should possess the skills and abilities to accept and encourage independence while providing consistent, reasonable rules and discipline, adequate care, and emotional support for those adolescents who can benefit from a family group living experience. The foster parents should possess special skills and understanding of sexual abuse and sexually active behavior and the effect they have on the child. The foster parents should possess skills and comfort in helping adolescents deal with questions and issues of sexuality, * sexual orientation, and/or gender identity expression. **
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/404969

Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services
Medical Services to Foster Children (June 7, 2017)
“Treatment should never be sought specifically because the youth is expressing/questioning gender identity that is different to societal expectations or because the youth expresses sexual interest that is different from cultural norms. However, if a youth is demonstrating extreme agitation, fearfulness, anxiety or depression which is impacting them or causing difficulty within interpersonal relationships and/or day to day functioning due to their gender identity or sexual interest, then Behavioral Health services should be identified with an LGBTQ affirming service provider experienced in this area of treatment to empower the youth to resolve the issues the youth is experiencing, which may include self-concept problems, difficulty reconciling personal identity, body image issues, etc.”

State Agency Website:

http://www.dss.state.la.us/

Grievance Procedure:

Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
DCFS Bureau of General Counsel, Civil Rights Section
PO Box 1887
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
(225) 342-0309
DCFS.BureauofCivilRights@LA.Gov
https://public.powerdms.com/LADCFS/documents/393341

Ombudsman:
The Office of State Inspector General
602 North Fifth Street
Sixth Floor
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801
Phone: (225) 342-4262
https://oig.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&nid=3&pnid=0&pid=4&catid=0

Additional Provisions:

Maine

Maine has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. Maine Department of Health and Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, gender, sexual orientation for anyone seeking to access services. Maine Department of Health and Human Services also has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system.

Maine prohibits psychologists from "advertis[ing], offer[ing] or administer[ing] conversion therapy to a minor." Conversion therapy is defined as "any practice or treatment that seeks or claims to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including, but not limited to, any effort to change gender expression or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions, feelings or behavior toward others based on the individual's gender." Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 32, § 3837-B

Maine has an ombudsman specific to child welfare.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Code Me. R. tit. 10-144 Ch. 36, § 5
Children's Residential Care Facilities
"d. Non-discrimination in providing services. The facility must not refuse admission to any resident on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability or ethnic origin."

Code Me. R. tit. 10-148 Ch. 8, § 4
Rules for the Licensure of Shelter for Homeless Children
4. Requirements for Licensure
“D. Admission and Discharge
(1) Referral Process.
a. Non-Discrimination in Providing Services. The facility shall not refuse admission to any child on the grounds of race, sex, religion, handicapping condition or ethnic origin. The facility may limit admission on grounds of sex or handicapping condition if the program is not adequately designed to serve this population and cannot meet the specific child's needs.”

Code Me. R. tit. 10-148 Ch. 9, § 4
Rules for the Licensure of Emergency Shelters for Children
4. Standards for Licensure
“E. Admission and Discharge
. . .
a. Non-Discrimination in Providing Services. The facility shall not refuse admission to any child on the grounds of race, sex, religions handicapping condition or ethnic origin. The facility may limit admission on grounds of sex, religion or handicapping condition if the program is not adequately designed to serve this population and cannot meet the specific child's needs."

Policy:

State of Maine, Department of Health and Human Services
Non-Discrimination Notice
The Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, religious or political belief, ancestry, familial or marital status, genetic information, association, previous assertion of a claim or right, or whistleblower activity, in admission or access to, or the operation of its policies, programs, services, or activities, or in hiring or employment practices.
https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/about/non-discrimination-notice

The Maine Youth in Care Bill of Rights
“Youth have the most basic right to receive care and services that are free of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity and gender expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, and the fact that they are in foster care.” 
https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/cw/policy/v_-t_-youth-transition-policy-.html

State Agency Website:

http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/cw/

Grievance Procedure:

http://cwombudsman.org/submit-a-complaint-2//

Ombudsman:
Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman
Phone: (207) 213-4773
Toll-Free: (866) 621-0758
Email: ombudsman@cwombudsman.com
http://cwombudsman.com/

Additional Provisions:

Maryland*

Maryland has statutory based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. Maryland has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. In addition, the Maryland Department of Human Services has nondiscrimination policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ youth in care, which includes a requirement to provide affirming and fair treatment regardless of the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of the youth.

The state prohibits mental health providers or child care practitioners from engaging in “conversion therapy” with anyone under the age of eighteen. The law defines conversion therapy seeking “to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” S.B. 1028, 438th Leg. (Md. 2018).

The state Department of Human Services has a dedicated ombudsman for foster youth as well as one for parents.

Statute:
Md. Code, Human Services, § 8-707
Residents’ Bill of Rights; handbook of policies
(b) A contract awarded or renewed between an agency and a provider shall require the provider to:
(1) post conspicuously a “Residents’ Bill of Rights” in the facility of the provider stating that a resident has a right: …
(viii) not to be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, or place of residence or business"

Regulation:
Md. Code Regs. 07.01.03.03

Nondiscrimination Requirement. "A. As a State agency and a recipient of federal funds, the Department, local departments, and individuals receiving funds through the Department may not engage in discriminatory practices.
B. Services to the Public.
(1) In the provision of services to the public, discrimination is prohibited based on:
(a) Race; (b) Religion; (c) Color; (d) National origin; (e) Sex; (f) Physical or mental disability; (g) Age; or (h) Sexual orientation....
D. This regulation applies to other agencies, organizations, employers, institutions, and contractors from whom the Department purchases services, except when the discriminatory practices are permitted by law."

Md. Code Regs. 07.01.03.04
Discrimination Prohibited.
"A. Delivery of Services.
(1) In the delivery of services, the Department or local departments may not,on the grounds of religious or political opinion or affiliation, race, color, national origin, sex, physical or mental disability, or age:
(a) Deny any aid, care, service, or other benefits provided under any program;
(b) Subject any individual to segregation or separate treatment related to the receipt of any aid, care, service, or other benefit provided under any program;
(c) Treat an individual differently from others in determining whether the individual satisfies requirements which all individuals must meet in order to receive any aid, care, service, or benefit under the program"

Md. Code Regs. 10.57.05.03(C)
General Conduct.
“In the capacity or identity as a certified residential child care program administrator or certified residential child and youth care practitioner may not . . .
(5) Practice, condone, or facilitate discrimination, or collaborate to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, marital status, political belief, disability, or other preference or personal characteristic, condition, or status with an individual or group of individuals;
(6) Engage or participate in an action that violates or diminishes the civil or legal rights of a client[.]”

Policy:

Maryland Department of Human Services, Social Services Administration, Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Families (March 1, 2018)
https://dhs.maryland.gov/documents/SSA%20Policy%20Directives/Child%20Welfare/SSA%2018-13%20CW-Revised-Working-with-Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-and-Questioning-LGBTQ-Youth-and-Families.pdf

Maryland Department of Human Services, Social Services Administration
Youth Matter Out-of Home Placement Program Handbook for Maryland’s Youth in Foster Care (p. 8, 20)
“As a child or youth in foster care, you have the right: ...
To fair treatment, whatever your gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation ...
Your Rights as an LGBTQ Youth in Care
DHR/SSA is committed to all young people living in spaces where they can be open and honest about their identities. What this means is that you have the right to express your own individual sense of:
Gender Presentation: As long as you are dressed appropriately, you can wear the clothing, accessories, and/or hairstyle that suits your gender identity (i.e. someone born male has a right to wear a dress, someone born female has a right to wear men’s clothing).
Gender Identity: Everyone is assigned a sex (male or female) at birth, but that doesn’t always mean that we identify with that sex. You have the right to openly identify as whatever gender you are. Check out our terms and definitions section for information about gender and sex.
Sexual Orientation: You can date peers of the same sex, openly identify as who you are, and engage in other age appropriate activities for LGBTQ youth (such as participating in a Gay Straight Alliance at your school).”
https://dhs.maryland.gov/documents/Manuals/Foster%20Care/Foster%20Youth%20Handbook

State Agency Website:

https://dhs.maryland.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

Ombudsman:

Foster Youth Ombudsman
Loney Nguyen, LCSW-C
Phone: 410-767-9621 (office)
443-509-0348 (cell)
Email: loney.nguyen1@maryland.gov
https://dhs.maryland.gov/foster-care/youth-resources/foster-youth-ombuds/

Resource Parent Ombudsman
Jeannette (Jenny) Jumbelick
Phone: 410-767-9672
Email: Jeannette.Jumbelick@maryland.gov
https://dhs.maryland.gov/foster-care/resource-parents/dhs-ombudsman/

Additional Provisions:

Massachusetts*

Massachusetts has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system and licensing requirements for foster parents to demonstrate the ability to support and respect a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression for youth in the child welfare system. Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has policies specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care, best practices for providing affirming care, and guidance for providing timely gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth in care. In addition, Massachusetts Department of Social Services has a nondiscrimination policy specific to upholding the rights of GLBT youth in care, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected classes.

Massachusetts has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

110 Mass. Code Regs. 1.09
Special Provisions Relating to Nondiscrimination
“(1) No Applicant for or recipient of Department [of Children and Families] services shall, on the ground of race, creed, color, religion, age, ancestry, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, language, disability, veteran status, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination in connection with any service, program, or activity administered or provided by the Department.”

110 Mass. Code Regs. 7.104
Standards for Licensure as a Foster/Pre-adoptive Parent
(1) A foster/pre-adoptive parent applicant must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Department the ability:
(a) to assure that a child placed in his or her care will experience a safe, supportive, nurturing and stable family environment which is free from abuse or neglect; ...
(d) to promote the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a child placed in his or her care, including supporting and respecting a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity

Policy:

Massachusetts Department of Social Services, Standards of Care Relative to Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) Youth
http://www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/massachusetts_policy...

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
LGBTQ - A Guide for Working with Youth and Families
"LGBTQ youth have the right to be free from discrimination and harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in schools, child welfare placements, and juvenile justice facilities. This extends to the right to safe and supportive caregivers; to equal treatment and access to appropriate services; and to have their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression respected in all services."
https://www.mass.gov/doc/lgbtq-a-guide-for-working-with-youth-and-families/download

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
The Answer Book; Foster Child Bill of Rights (pg. 46)
“Every foster child . . . Shall be treated with respect by DCF staff, foster parents and providers without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and/or disability.”
https://www.mass.gov/doc/youth-resource-the-answer-book-2018/download?_ga=2.209970141.972910103.1632764363-141390921.1632764363

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
Gender Affirming Medication Consent Policy
"The Department of Children and Families recognizes and respects the affirmed gender identities and various gender expressions of the children, youth, young adults, and families involved with the Department. Department staff destigmatize gender diversity by promoting the self-worth of all Department involved children and youth, facilitating access to affirming services and educating families when appropriate. Department staff maintain a safe community space where children and youth are free to develop and explore their gender identity and expression.
For children and youth in state custody (protective and CRA), the Department ensures that transgender and gender diverse youth have access to medically necessary care including psychotherapy without unnecessary delays, requirements, or barriers. The Department recognizes the importance of early identification of these children/youth along with early access to medical treatment and support. The Department has established policy guidelines and procedures for staff to follow to ensure the medical needs of transgender and gender diverse children in state custody are addressed in a timely manner" https://www.mass.gov/doc/gender-affirming-medication-consent-policy/download

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning Youth
2020 Report & Recommendations
https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-commission-on-lgbtq-youth-2020-report-and-recommendations/download?_ga=2.183369958.1762114400.1616440423-806822020.1616440423

State Agency Website:

https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-children-families

Grievance Procedure:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/dcf-ombudsman.html

Ombudsman:
Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Ombudsman
Phone: (617) 748-2444
https://www.mass.gov/service-details/dcf-office-of-the-ombudsman

Additional Provisions:

Michigan

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for anyone seeking to access services.

However, the state also has a religious refusal law, which permits child placing agencies to refuse to provide services that conflict with their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 722.124e.

Michigan has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Nondiscrimination Statement
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will not exclude from participation in, deny benefits of, or discriminate against any individual or group because of race, sex, religion, age, national origin, color, height, weight, marital status, gender identification or expression, sexual orientation, partisan considerations, or a disability or genetic information that is unrelated to the person’s eligibility.
http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73970_7701_76675-77286--,00.html

State Agency Website:

http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/

Grievance Procedure:

https://www.michigan.gov/oco/0,4647,7-133-3190---,00.html

Ombudsman:
Michigan Office of Children’s Ombudsman
P.O. Box 30026
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Phone (Lansing Area): (517) 241-0400
Phone (Outside the Lansing Area): 1-800-MICH-FAM (1-800-642-4326)
Fax: (517) 335-4471
http://www.michigan.gov/oco/

Additional Provisions:

Minnesota*

Minnesota has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of gender and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system and LGBTQ+ inclusive cultural competency training requirements. Minnesota has a nondiscrimination policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care, including protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system. The state Department of Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination based on sex, including sex stereotypes and gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The state has an Office of the Ombudsperson for Families.

Statute:
None known.

Regulation:

Minn. R. 2960.0050
Licensure and Certification of Programs for Children
Resident Rights and Basic Services
“A resident has basic rights including, but not limited to, the rights in this subpart. The license holder must ensure that the rights in items A to R are protected: . . .
P. right to be free from bias and harassment regarding race, gender, age, disability, spirituality, and sexual orientation

Minn. R. 2960.0080
Licensure and Certification of Programs for Children
Facility Operational Service Policies and Practices
“Subpart 5. Discipline policy and procedures required. The license holder must have discipline policies and procedure that require the resident’s abuse history and developmental, cultural, disability, and gender needs be taken into consideration when deciding the disciplinary action to be taken with a resident. The policy must include the requirements in items A to E.
A. The license holder must not subject residents to: . . .
(2) verbal abuse, including, but not limited to: name calling; derogatory statements about the resident or resident’s family, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or culture; or statements intended to shame, threaten, humiliate, or frighten the resident”

Minn. R. 2960.0100
Licensure and Certification of Programs for Children
Personnel Policies
"Subpart 3. Orientation and in-service training ... The license holder must ensure that staff who will have direct contact with residents attend and successfully complete orientation training before having unsupervised contact with residents.
A. Orientation training must include at least the subjects in subitems (1) to (6):
(3) cultural diversity and gender sensitivity, culturally specific services, and information about discrimination and racial bias issues to ensure that caregivers have cultural sensitivity and will be culturally competent to care for residents"

Minn. R. 2960.0150
Additional Standards for Group Residential Settings
Personnel Policies.
"The license holder must provide orientation and training to staff and volunteers regarding:
(1) culturally competent care; (2) racial bias and racism issues; (3) gender issues, including the psychosocial development of boys and girls; (4) sexual orientation issues; and (5) physical, mental, sensory, and health-related disabilities, bias, and discrimination."

Minn. R. 2960.3060
Requirements: Foster Family and Residence Settings, and Treatment Foster Care
License Holder Qualifications
"Subpart 4. Home study of applicant ... The applicant must demonstrate the ability to:
E. actively support the foster child's racial or ethnic background, culture, and religion, and respect the child's sexual orientation"

Minn. R. 2960.3070
Requirements: Foster Family and Residence Settings, and Treatment Foster Care
Foster Parent Training
"Subpart 1. Orientation ... The foster parent's orientation must include items A to E: ...
C. cultural diversity, gender sensitivity, culturally specific services, cultural competence, and information about discrimination and racial bias issues to ensure that caregivers will be culturally competent to care for foster children ...
Subpart 2. In-service training ... The nonexclusive list of topics in items A to Z provides examples of in-service training topics that could be useful to a foster parent: ...
V. sexual orientation"

Minn. R. 2960.3080
Requirements: Foster Family and Residence Settings, and Treatment Foster Care
Placement, Continued Stay, and Discharge
“Subpart 8. Discipline. The license holder must consider the [foster] child’s abuse history and developmental, cultural, disability, and gender needs when deciding the disciplinary action to be taken with the child. Disciplinary action must be in keeping with the license holder’s discipline policy. The discipline policy must include the requirements in items A and B.
A. Children must not be subjected to:  ...
(2) verbal abuse, including, but not limited to: name calling; derogatory statements about the child or child’s family, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or culture”

Minn. R. 2960.3210
Additional Requirements For Foster Residence Settings
Staff Training Requirements
"Subpart 1. Orientation ... Orientation training must include at least the topics in items A to F: ...
C. cultural diversity and gender sensitivity, culturally specific services, and information about discrimination and racial bias issues to ensure that caregivers have cultural sensitivity and will be culturally competent to care for children"

Policy:

Minnesota Department of Human Services
Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer youth
https://edocs.dhs.state.mn.us/lfserver/Public/DHS-6500-ENG

Minnesota Department of Human Services
Civil rights in Human Services
“The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Equal Opportunity and Access Division, prohibits discrimination in its programs because of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sexual orientation, public assistance status, age, disability or sex (including sex stereotypes and gender identity under any health program or activity receiving federal financial assistance).” https://mn.gov/dhs/general-public/about-dhs/administration-management/civil-rights.jsp

State Agency Website:

https://mn.gov/dhs/

Grievance Procedure:

https://mn.gov/ombudfam/intake-form/

Minnesota Department of Human Services
Equal Opportunity and Access Division
P.O. Box 64997
St. Paul, MN 55164-0997
Phone: 651-431-3040

https://mn.gov/dhs/general-public/about-dhs/administration-management/civil-rights.jsp

Ombudsman:
Minnesota Office of the Ombudsperson for Families
1450 Energy Drive
Suite 106
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108
Phone: (651) 603-0058
Toll-Free: 1-888-234-4939
Fax: (651) 643-2539
http://mn.gov/ombudfam/

Additional Provisions:

Mississippi

Mississippi has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. Mississippi Department of Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system.

However, the state also has a religious refusal law, which permits any “religious organization” to refuse to provide services if doing so is “based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” The religious beliefs protected by the law are the beliefs that “(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.” The services an organization is permitted to refuse include the provision of “any adoption or foster care service.” Miss. Code Ann. § 11-62-3.

The state’s Department of Human Services has no known ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Code Miss. R. 18-6:1.A-II-XIV
“A. As a Child or Youth in Foster Care, I Have the Right: ...
• To fair treatment, whatever my gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation...
C. All Children and Youth in Foster Care Have the Right to...
• Be who they are.
• Youth have the right to their own identity, values, freedom to express their emotions, hopes, plans and goals, religion/spirituality.
• Youth have the right to learn about their sexuality in a safe and supportive environment ...
• Youth have the most basic right to receive care and services that are free of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity and gender expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, and the fact that they’re in foster care.”

Code Miss. R. 18-6:1.A-II-XII
“C. For Youth 14 or Older in Foster Care
These are the rights and responsibilities for youth fourteen (14) and older in the custody of the MDHS...
You Have the Right to: ...
6. To fair treatment, whatever my gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation...
14. Be treated with dignity and respect and receive services without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or political affiliation.
You Have theResponsibility to: ...
4. Treat others with dignity and respect without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability or political affiliation...
D. Rights and Responsibilities Children 13 and Under in Foster Care
You have rights and responsibilities while you are involved with DFCS of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS)...
You Have the Right to...
6. To fair treatment, whatever my gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation...
11. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and receive services without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or political affiliation.”

Code Miss. R. 18-6:1.I-III
“L. Notice of Non-Discrimination Policy
MDHS-DFCS prohibits discrimination and/or the exclusion of individuals from its facilities, programs, activities and services based on the individual person’s race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or inability to speak English. A notice of MDHS-DFCS non-discrimination policy will be posted in each county office.”

Code Miss. R. 18-6:1.I-IV App’x B
“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Under Food Stamp Act and USDA policy, discrimination is prohibited also on the basis of religion or political beliefs.”

Policy:

State of Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Family and Children’s Services
Section D: Foster Care Policy
Appendix L: Notice of Rights & Responsibilities for Youth 14 and Over in Foster Care
“These are the rights and responsibilities for youth fourteen (14) and older in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services...
You have the right to: ...
6. To fair treatment, whatever my gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation...
Appendix M: Notice of Rights & Responsibilities Children 13 & Under in Foster Care
“You have rights and responsibilities while you are involved with the DFCS of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS). These are the rights and responsibilities for children thirteen and under who are in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services...
You have the right to: ...
6. To fair treatment, whatever my gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation.”
https://www.mdcps.ms.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/DFCS-Policy-Section-D-09-11-17.pdf

Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services
Licensure Requirements and Operations Standards for Congregate Care Providers
Rule 1.6 Prohibition Against Discrimination
"A. Any provider accepting referrals from MDCPS must be in compliance with all laws and regulations pertaining to non-discrimination in order to receive and retain a license.
B. All providers must adhere to all non-discrimination laws in order to be licensed by MDCPS.
Source: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990"
https://www.mdcps.ms.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Congregate-Care-Final-7.24.18.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://www.mdcps.ms.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Phone : (601) 874-9917
Ombudsman:
None known.

Additional Provisions:

Missouri

Missouri Department of Social Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for anyone seeking to access services. Missouri Department of Social Services: Children's Division also has LGBTQ+ specific foster care policy with best practice guidance for inclusive care.

Missouri has an Office of Child Advocate.

Statute:

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 210.564
“(3)(1) In all circumstances, the best interests of the child shall be the first priority of the children’s division[.]”

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

Missouri Department of Social Services
Nondiscrimination Policy Statement
“DSS applicants for, or recipients of, services from DSS are treated equitably regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or religion.”
http://dss.mo.gov/files/missouri-nondiscrimination-policy-statement.htm

Missouri Department of Social Services: Children's Division
Best Practice Guidance for Supporting LGBTQ Youth In Foster Care For Child Welfare Staff
https://dss.mo.gov/cd/older-youth-program/files/best-practice-guide-for-staff.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://dss.mo.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

https://dss.mo.gov/child-support/comment.htm

Missouri DSS Office for Civil Rights
P. O. Box 1527
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1527
Phone: (800) 776-8014; or (866) 735-2460 (Voice); (800) 735-2966 (Text)

https://dss.mo.gov/files/missouri-nondiscrimination-policy-statement.htm

Ombudsman:
Missouri Office of Child Advocate
PO Box 809
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Toll-Free: (866) 457-2302
Phone: (573) 522-8683
Email: oca@oca.mo.gov
https://oca.mo.gov/

Additional Provisions:

Montana

Montana has Department of Public Health and Human Services policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation, for anyone seeking to access services.

Montana has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Notice of Nondiscrimination
“As a recipient of federal financial assistance and a State or local government agency, Department of Public Health & Human Services does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, political belief, genetic information, veteran status, culture, social origin or condition, or ancestry in admission or access to, or treatment, or employment in, its programs, activities, or services, whether carried out by DPHHS directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which DPHHS arranges to carry out its programs and activities. Likewise, DPHHS will not tolerate discrimination or harassment because of a person’s marriage to or association with individuals in one of the previously mentioned protected classes.”
http://dphhs.mt.gov/NondiscriminationPolicy

State Agency Website:

http://dphhs.mt.gov/cfsd

Grievance Procedure:

Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS)
Office of Human Resources Civil Rights/EEO Coordinator
PO Box 4210 Helena, MT 59604
Phone: (406) 444-3136
Fax: (406) 444-0262
V, TTY: (800) 833-8503
V, TTY: (406) 444-1335
https://dphhs.mt.gov/assets/ada/ComplaintResolutionForm.pdf

Ombudsman:
Montana Child and Family Ombudsman
PO Box 201417
Helena, MT 59620
Toll-Free: (844) 252-4453
Email: DOJOMBUDSMAN@mt.gov
https://dojmt.gov/enforcement/specialservices/ocfo-home/

Additional Provisions:

Nebraska

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex for anyone seeking to access services. 

The Ombudsman’s Office is not child-welfare specific.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Notice of Nondiscrimination and Program Accessibility
“DHHS complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability in admission to its programs, services, or activities; in access to them; in treatment of individuals with disabilities; in provision of benefits, in its hiring or employment practices, or in any aspect of their operations.”
https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Non-Discrimination-Notice.aspx

State Agency Website:

http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Children-and-Family-Services.aspx

Grievance Procedure:

http://nebraskalegislature.gov/divisions/ombud-filing.php

Ombudsman:
Nebraska Public Counsel (Ombudsman’s Office)
PO Box 94604
Room 807, State Capitol
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604
Phone: (402) 471-2035
Toll-Free: (800) 742-7690
Email: ombud@leg.ne.gov
http://nebraskalegislature.gov/divisions/ombud-filing.php

Additional Provisions:

Nevada

Nevada has statutory and policy based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system. Nevada has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender for youth the child welfare system.

The state requires that all child welfare workers making direct contact with children be trained in providing services to LGBTQ youth. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 432B.195(2), 424.0365(1)(h).

Nevada prohibits psychotherapists from providing “conversion therapy” to anyone under 18 years of age. The law defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person.” Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 629.600

Nevada has a child welfare “Systems Advocate.”

Statute:

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 432.525
Rights generally.
“A child placed in a foster home by an agency which provides child welfare services has the right:
(7) To be free from:
(e) Discrimination or harassment on the basis of his or her actual or perceived race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability or exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus.”

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 424.0445
Duties of provider of foster care relating to gender identity or expression of foster child. 
"A provider of foster care shall:
1. Ensure that each foster child who is placed in the foster home is treated in all respects in accordance with the child’s gender identity or expression"

Regulation:

Nev. Admin. Code 424.450 Duties of foster home, foster parent and direct care staff: General requirements. (NRS 424.020)
"3. The foster home shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, gender, age, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation or any other reason in accordance with the United States Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973."

Policy:

Nevada’s Foster Youth Bill of Rights
“If you believe that your rights have been violated or that you are being treated differently because of your race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability or exposure to HIV, you have the right to have any violations resolved.”
http://dcfs.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dcfsnvgov

State Agency Website:

http://dcfs.nv.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

http://dcfs.nv.gov/Programs/SA/
"To file a complaint please call using the numbers listed below:
In Las Vegas and Surrounding Area: Clark County Department of Family Services call 866-780-9541 or view the Ombudsman’s website
In Reno and Surrounding Area: Washoe County Human Services Agency call 775-337-4500 or email hsa-ombudsman@washoecounty.us
For all other Rural Counties: call 775-684-4453 or email systems.advocate@dcfs.nv.gov

Ombudsman:
Nevada Division of Child and Family Services
Systems Advocate
Karla Delgado
Phone: (775) 684-4413
Fax (775) 684-4455
Email: systems.advocate@dcfs.nv.gov
http://dcfs.nv.gov/Programs/SA/  

Additional Provisions:

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has statutory based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system. New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for anyone seeking to access services.

The state prohibits persons licensed to provide counseling services from engaging in “conversion therapy” with anyone under 18 years of age. The law defines conversion therapy as “any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” H.B. 587 (N.H. 2018), effective January 2019.

New Hampshire has a Department of Health and Human Services ombudsman.

Statute:

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 170-G:21
Services for Children, Youth and Families: Foster Care Children's Bill of Rights.
"A child who is placed in a foster home or other out-of-home placement pursuant to a juvenile court proceeding under RSA 169-B, RSA 169-C, or RSA 169-D shall have the right or privilege:
V. To be treated with courtesy and respect by department staff, foster parents, residential staff, and providers without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or disability and to participate in activities associated with his or her religious beliefs."

Regulation:

N.H. Code Admin. R. He-C 6450.23
Discipline
Appendix B: Foster Child Bill of Rights
“Every child in Foster Care has the inherent right:
Article the second ... to be nurtured by foster parents who have been selected to meet his individual needs, and who are provided services and supports, including specialized education, so that they can grow in their ability to enable the child to meet his potentiality.
Article the fifth ... to grow up in freedom and dignity in a neighborhood of people who accept him with understanding, respect, and friendship”

Policy:

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
Non-Discrimination Policy
“The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, does not discriminate against people because of their age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or political affiliation or belief. There will be no discrimination in accepting or providing services, or the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, any of the Department's programs or activities."
http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/oos/ombudsman/nondiscrimination.htm

State Agency Website:

https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/

Grievance Procedure:
https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/oos/ombudsman/civilrights.htm

Ombudsman:

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Ombudsman
129 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Phone: (603) 271-6941
Toll-Free: (800) 852-3345
TDD Access: Relay NH (800) 735-2964 Fax: (603) 271-4632
Email: Ombudsman@dhhs.nh.gov
http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/oos/ombudsman/index.htm

Additional Provisions:

New Jersey*

New Jersey has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. New Jersey Department of Children and Families has policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. In addition, New Jersey has a policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care.

The state prohibits counselors from imposing “sexual orientation change efforts” on anyone under the age of eighteen. The law defines sexual orientation change efforts as “the practice of seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation, including . . . efforts to change behaviors, gender identity, or gender expressions.” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 45:1-55.

New Jersey has a Department of Children and Families “Office of Advocacy.”

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

N.J. Admin. Code 10:122B-1.5
Nondiscrimination
“(b) Neither the Division nor any contract agency providing resource care services shall discriminate with regards to the licensing of a resource parent or to providing resource care in accordance with N.J.A.C. 10:122C-2.1, on the basis of age; disability; gender; religion; sexual orientation; parental status; or birth status, against:
1. Any person who requests information about becoming a resource parent;
2. A resource parent applicant;
3. A licensed resource parent;
4. A child needing placement in a resource home; or
5. A child placed in a resource home.”

N.J. Admin. Code 10:133-1.4
Rights of applicants and clients
“(i) The Division shall not discriminate against an applicant or client on the basis of race; color; ethnicity; national origin; age; handicapping condition; gender; religion; marital, civil union, domestic partnership, parental or birth status; affectional or sexual orientation, as defined at N.J.S.A. 10:5-5hh; or gender identity or expression, as defined at N.J.S.A. 10:5-5rr.”

Policy:

New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual
CP&P VI-B-1-500 LGBTQI Policy
CP&P staff DCF contracted providers are prohibited from engaging in any form of discrimination, bias or harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, color, age, sex, national origin, religion, marital status or partnership, mental or physical disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, alienage and citizenship status.
http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/policy_manuals/CPP-VI-B-1-500_issuance.shtml

New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual
CP&P I-A-1-100, CP&P Mission, Vision and Goals
“CP&P prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The CP&P practice of inclusion extends to service delivery. Therefore, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersexed youth are provided with equal access to all available services, including placement, care, and treatment.”
http://www.nj.gov/dcf/policy_manuals/CPP-I-A-1-100_issuance.shtml

New Jersey Department of Children and Families
CP&P 5-44 Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P)
Youth Bill of Rights: To Ensure the Rights of Each Child and Adolescent in Placement
"Your out-of-home placement shall not discriminate against you based on your age, race, color, national origin, disability, gender identity, gender expression, religion, or sexual orientation"
http://www.nj.gov/dcf/policy_manuals/BillofRights.pdf

State Agency Website:

http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/

Grievance Procedure:

http://www.nj.gov/dcf/about/divisions/oa/

Ombudsman:

New Jersey Department of Children and Families
Office of Advocacy
Toll-Free: (877) 543-7864
Email: askDCF@dcf.state.nj.us
https://www.nj.gov/dcf/contact/email.html
http://www.nj.gov/dcf/about/divisions/oa/

Additional Provisions:

New Mexico

New Mexico has regulatory and policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. Additionally, New Mexico has regulation regarding LGBTQ+ specific training for staff and foster parents and affirming placements.

The state prohibits the provision of “conversion therapy” to any person under the age of eighteen. The law defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-1-3.3.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:
N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.4.17
Licensing Requirements for Foster and Adoptive Homes: Foster Care Provider Assurances
"Foster care providers:
(2) shall not engage in discriminatory treatment on the basis of a child’s race; ethnicity; creed; color; age; religion; sex or gender; gender identity; gender expression; sexual orientation; marital status or partnership; familial or parental status; pregnancy and breastfeeding or nursing; disability; genetic information; intersex traits; medical condition, including HIV/AIDS; citizenship or immigration status; national origin; tribal affiliation; ancestry; socioeconomic status; language; political affiliation; military or veteran status; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; and housing status, including homelessness; or any other non-merit factor;
(3) shall not attempt to change or discourage a child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression or prohibit expression, including through clothing or grooming, consistent with the child’s gender or gender expression"

N.M. Admin. Code 8.10.8.10
Permanency Planning: Out of Home Placement
When a child cannot safely remain in their home, PSD shall pursue legal custody of the child. When the court has determined it is contrary to the welfare of the child to remain in their home, PSD is awarded legal custody and the child shall be placed with a licensed resource family to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. The placement of a child into foster care shall not be delayed or denied on the basis of the race; ethnicity; creed; color; age; religion; sex or gender; gender identity; gender expression; sexual orientation; marital status or partnership; familial or parental status; pregnancy and breastfeeding or nursing; disability; genetic information; intersex traits; medical condition, including HIV/AIDS; citizenship or immigration status; national origin; tribal affiliation; ancestry; language; political affiliation; military or veteran status; status as a survivor of domestic violence; sexual assault, or stalking; or any other factor unrelated to suitability to parent.”

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.5.15
Child Placement Agency Licensing Standards: Agency Operations
“B. Ethical operations: The agency operates in an ethical manner and according to any standards a relevant licensing board promulgates, including, but not limited to the following:
(5) Discrimination: Agencies who receive state or federal monies, shall not discriminate against applicants, clients, or employees based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, physical or mental handicap, or serious medical condition, spousal affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

N.M. Admin. Code 8.8.2.21
Protective Services General Policies: Qualifications and Training of Staff
"B. All PSD staff shall receive training in carrying out the provision of services to children and families in a manner that is respectful of race; ethnicity; creed; color; age; religion; sex or gender; gender identity; gender expression; sexual orientation; marital status or partnership; familial or parental status; pregnancy and breastfeeding or nursing; disability; genetic information; intersex traits; medical condition, including HIV/AIDS; citizenship or immigration status; national origin; tribal affiliation; ancestry; language; political affiliation; military or veteran status; status as a survivor of domestic violence; sexual assault, or stalking; or any other factor."

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.2.21
Placement Services: Best Interest Adoption Placement
"E. The placement of a child shall not be delayed or denied based on the race; ethnicity; creed; color; age; religion; sex or gender; gender identity; gender expression; sexual orientation; marital status or partnership; familial or parental status; pregnancy and breastfeeding or nursing; disability; genetic information; intersex traits; medical condition, including HIV/AIDS; citizenship or immigration status; national origin; tribal affiliation; ancestry; language; political affiliation; military or veteran status; status as a survivor of domestic violence; sexual assault, or stalking; or any other non-merit factor of the adoptive parent or child involved."

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.6.16
Community Home Licensing Standards: Community Home Policies and Procedures
"Protection of children: Policies and procedures shall acknowledge the community home’s responsibility to protect the safety of children. Specifically, policies and procedures shall:
(3) create a safe and supportive home environment for youth in PSD custody regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.4.16
Licensing Requirements for Foster and Adoptive Homes: Foster Care Provider Training
"B. Ongoing training: All foster care providers licensed by PSD or a CPA are required to participate in PSD approved annual training.
(1)...Foster care providers licensed by PSD shall participate in approved annual on-going training determined by PSD. All foster care providers shall develop an annual individualized training plan. The training plan shall be jointly developed by the foster care provider and the PSD placement worker. The training plan shall ensure the foster care provider receives ongoing instruction to support their roles and remain up to date on policies, requirements, and services to meet the provider’s needs. Further training may also include child specific training (meeting the needs of the child related to their entire identity including race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability) or may address issues relevant to the general population of children in foster care in New Mexico."

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.2.12
Placement Services: Roles and Responsibilities of Foster Parents
"E. Prohibited forms of discipline, for all children residing in the home, shall include, but are not limited to the following: corporal punishment such as shaking, spanking, hitting, whipping, or hair or ear pulling; isolation; forced to exercise; denial of food, sleep or approved visits or contact with parent; verbal assaults which subject the child to ridicule or which belittle the child or the child’s family based on: race; ethnicity; creed; color; age; religion; sex or gender; gender identity; gender expression; sexual orientation; marital status or partnership; familial or parental status; pregnancy and breastfeeding or nursing; disability; genetic information; intersex traits; medical condition, including HIV/AIDS; citizenship or immigration status; national origin; tribal affiliation; ancestry; language; political affiliation; military or veteran status; status as a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; and housing status, including homelessness; or any other factor.”

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.2.13
Placement Services: Application of the Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard
"C. In applying the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the resource parent shall consider the following:
(1) the desires of the child including, but not limited to, cultural identity, spiritual identity, gender identity, and sexual orientation."

N.M. Admin. Code 8.26.5.18
Child Placement Agency Licensing Standards: Agency Policies and Procedures
"A. Protection of children: Agency policies and procedures shall acknowledge the agency’s responsibility to protect the safety of children. Specifically, policies and procedures shall:
(3) educate prospective and current foster or adoptive families on how to create a safe and supportive home environment for youth in foster care regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."

Policy:

State of New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department
Nondiscrimination Policy Statement
"No child, youth, family or individual shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in the administration of provision of CYFD programs and services, including contract services and programs on the basis of: race; ethnicity; creed; color; age; religion; sex or gender; gender identity; gender expression; sexual orientation; marital status or partnership; familial or parental status; pregnancy and breastfeeding or nursing; disability; genetic information; intersex traits; citizenship or immigration status; national origin; tribal affiliation; ancestry; language; political affiliation; military or veteran status; medical condition, including HIV/AIDS; status as a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; and housing status, including homelessness; or any other non-merit factor.
https://cyfd.org/docs/LGBTQIAEnglish.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://cyfd.org/

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

New Mexico Children, Youth & Families
PO Drawer 5160
P.E.R.A. Room 254
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
Phone: (505) 827-7606
Fax: (505) 827-4053
Email: harry.montoya@state.nm.us
http://cyfd.org/about-cyfd/constituent-affairs

Additional Provisions:

New York*

New York has regulatory and policy based protection from discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. In addition, New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services has a policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care. New York City’s Administration for Children and Families also has a detailed LGBTQ+ policy and additional guidelines for serving transgender and gender-nonconforming youth (see NYC-specific chart below).

The state requires that “no facility shall provide services to minor patients that are intended to change such minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 14, § 527.8(d). Additionally, insurance law dictates that “[n]o policy or certificate shall provide coverage for conversion therapy rendered by a mental health professional to an individual under the age of 18 years.” N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 52.16(2).

New York has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 18, § 441.24
Nondiscriminatory treatment.
“(a) Authorized agency staff and volunteers shall not engage in or condone discrimination or harassment against prospective foster parents, foster parents or foster children on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, or disability. Authorized agencies shall promote and maintain a safe environment, take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment against youth by other youth, promptly investigate incidents of discrimination and harassment by staff, volunteers and youth , and take reasonable and appropriate corrective or disciplinary action when such incidents occur. Certified or approved foster parents shall not engage in discrimination or harassment against foster children on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, or disability, and shall promote and maintain a safe environment.”

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 18, § 423.4
Service provision requirements
“(m)(7) Staff and volunteers of agencies providing preventative services shall not engage in discrimination or harassment of families receiving preventative services on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, religion or disability. Such agencies shall promote and maintain a safe environment, take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination by staff and volunteers, promptly investigate incidents of discrimination and harassment, and take reasonable and appropriate corrective or disciplinary action when such incidents occur.”

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 18, § 421.3
General requirements
“Authorized agencies providing adoption services shall:
(d) prohibit discrimination and harassment against applicants for adoption services on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, religion, or disability, and, shall take reasonable steps to prevent such discrimination or harassment by staff and volunteers, promptly investigate incidents of discrimination and harassment, and take reasonable and appropriate corrective or disciplinary action when such incidents occur.”

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9 § 8.177
Executive Order No. 177: Prohibiting State Contracts With Entities That Support Discrimination.
(a) Affected State Entities are hereby directed to amend their procurement procedures to prevent Affected State Entities from entering into contracts with entities that have institutional policies or practices that fail to address the harassment and discrimination of individuals on the basis of their age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, sex, marital status, disability, or other protected basis.

Policy:

State of New York, Office of Children & Family Services, PPM 3442.00, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth (2008)
https://www.nycourts.gov/ip/judicialinstitute/transgender/220U.pdf

State of New York, Office of Children and Family Services, 09-OCFS-INF-06, Promoting a Safe and Respectful Environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Children and Youth in Out-of-Home Placement (Dec. 30, 2009)
http://on.ny.gov/2bRhew8

State of New York, Office of Children & Family Services
LGBTQ Sexual Orientation Series Booklet
https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/publications/Pub5090.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/

Grievance Procedure:

https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/ombudsman/contact.php

Ombudsman:

New York State Office of Children and Families
Office of the Ombudsman
Phone: (888) 219-9818
Email: MyAllies@ocfs.ny.gov
52 Washington Street, 230N
Rensselaer, NY 12144
https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/ombudsman/

Additional Provisions:

New York City*

New York City has nondiscrimination policies specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care. New York City has policy and guidelines for meeting the needs of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth in the child welfare system.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

City of New York, Administration for Children’s Services, Promoting a Safe and Respectful Environment for LGBTQ Youth and their Families Involved in the Child Welfare, Detention and Juvenile Justice Systems (2012)
http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/acs/pdf/lgbtq/LGBTQ_Policy.pdf

City of New York, Administration for Children’s Services, Non-Discrimination – Youth and Families (2008)
http://on.nyc.gov/2c9HaFa

City of New York, Administration for Children’s Services, Safe and Respected: Policy, Best Practices, & Guidance for Serving Transgender, Gender Expansive, & Nonbinary Children and Youth Involved in the Child Welfare, Detention, and Juvenile Justice Systems (2017)
https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/acs/pdf/lgbtq/SAFEAndRespectedUpdate061417.pdf

City of New York, Administration for Children's Services, https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/acs/pdf/lgbtq/14_12_16_NMR_signed_interim_policy.pdf

City Agency Website:

http://www1.nyc.gov/site/acs/index.page

Grievance Procedure:

http://www1.nyc.gov/site/acs/about/advocacy.page

Ombudsman:

New York City
Office of Advocacy/ACS Parents’ and Children’s Rights Unit
150 William Street - 18th Floor
New York, New York 10038
Phone: (212) 676-9421
Teletype for the hearing impaired: (212) 442-1447
http://www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/advocacy/office_advocacy.shtml

Additional Provisions:

North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Social Services Administration for Children and Families has a detailed LGBTQ+ policy and additional guidelines for serving transgender and gender-nonconforming youth. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex (or gender) for anyone seeking to access services.

Statute:

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 131D-10.1
Foster Care Children’s Bill of Rights; purpose
“(a) It is the policy of this State to strengthen and preserve the family as a unit consistent with a high priority of protecting children's welfare. When a child requires care outside the family unit, it is the duty of the State to assure that the quality of substitute care is as close as possible to the care and nurturing that society expects of a family.”

Regulation:

10A N.C. Admin. Code 70E.1101
Client Rights
“(a) Foster parents shall ensure that each foster child:
(22) is provided supervision in accordance with the child’s age, intelligence, emotional makeup, and experience[.]”

Policy:
The North Carolina Division of Social Services: Child Welfare Practice Guidance for LGBTQ+ Youth
"The purpose of this guidance document is to ensure that youth who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+) and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) involved in the child welfare system have equal access to services that are affirming and supportive including housing, medical and mental health care, and opportunities that promote positive youth development, and are emotionally and physically safe. This document provides guidance to child welfare workers working with LGBTQ+ youth regarding safety, fair and respectful treatment, harmful practices, healthy approaches, confidentiality, freedom of expression, medical and mental healthcare, protective factors, working with school and community partners, and training agency staff. It also provides a glossary of terms and links to additional resources." https://policies.ncdhhs.gov/divisional/social-services/child-welfare/policy-manuals/child-welfare-practice-guidance-for-lgbtq-youth.pdf

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Notice Informing Individuals About Nondiscrimination and Accessibility Requirements
“The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. DHHS does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.”
https://www.ncdhhs.gov/about/department-initiatives

State Agency Website:

https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/dss

Grievance Procedure:

Ombudsman:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
101 Blair Drive
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Phone: (919) 855-4800
http://www.ncdhhs.gov

NC DHHS - Division of Social Services
Dorothea Dix Campus, McBryde Building
820 S. Boylan Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27603
Phone: (919) 527-6335
Fax: (919) 334-1018
https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/dss/social-services-contact-form

Additional Provisions:

North Dakota

North Dakota has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. The Foster Care Handbook for Youth provides policy-based protection against discrimination on account of gender and sexual orientation. North Dakota Department of Human Services has policy-based protection from discrimination based on sex for anyone seeking to access services.

The state has a religious refusal law, which permits any child placing agency to refuse to “perform, assist, counsel, recommend, facilitate, refer, or participate in a placement violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” N.D. Cent. Code § 50-12-07.1.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

N.D. Admin. Code 75-03-36-35
Foster care services related to child-placing agencies – Programs and services.
“2. The child-placing agency shall have a written intake, admission, and discharge policy. The written policy must include:
d. A requirement that the child-placing agency will provide services to a child referred to the child-placing agency’s care without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation[.]”

N.D. Admin. Code 75-03-14-05
Operation of the family foster home for children.
"7. Discipline must be constructive or educational in nature and may include diversion, separation from problem situation, talk with the foster child about the situation, praise for appropriate behavior, and gentle physical restraint such as holding.
(f) Verbal abuse or derogatory remarks about a foster child, the foster child's family, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or cultural background may not be used and are not permitted."

Policy:

North Dakota Department of Human Services
Children & Family Services Division
North Dakota Foster Care Handbook For Youth
“As a North Dakota Foster Youth, you have the right to:
Be treated fairly and without discrimination or put-downs because of your race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disabilities, or religious beliefs.”
https://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/cfs/foster-youth-handbook.pdf

North Dakota Department of Human Services
Nondiscrimination Policy
“Discrimination means treating someone differently because of a particular characteristic such as race, color, sex, age, disability, or religion. North Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS) makes available all services and assistance without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, political beliefs, or status with respect to marriage or public assistance. These laws must be followed by persons who contract with or receive funds to provide services for DHS, including the state’s eight regional human service centers, the State Hospital, the Life Skills and Transition Center, and county social services.”
https://www.nd.gov/dhs/misc/nondiscrimination.html

State Agency Website:

https://www.nd.gov/dhs/services/childfamily/

Grievance Procedure:
Appeals Supervisor (for appeals of denial, termination or reduction of benefits)
https://www.nd.gov/dhs/misc/clientrights.html
https://www.nd.gov/eforms/Doc/sfn00162.pdf

Program Civil Rights Office
https://www.nd.gov/dhs/misc/nondiscrimination.html

Ombudsman:

North Dakota Department of Human Services
Appeals Supervisor, Legal Advisory Unit
600 E Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 325
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0250
Phone: (701) 328-2311
Toll-Free: (800) 472-2622
Email: dhslau@nd.gov

Program Civil Rights Office
North Dakota Department of Human Services
Legal Advisory Unit
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Department 325
Bismarck, ND 58505-0250
Phone: 701-328-2311
TTY: 1-800-366-6888
Fax: 701-328-2173
Email: dhslau@nd.gov

Additional Provisions:

Ohio

Ohio has regulatory and policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex, gender, “sexual identity” and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system.

The state’s Bureau of Civil Rights accepts discrimination claims on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, political affiliation, disability or age. The Office of Constituent Affairs handles questions and concerns about a broad range of services provided by the state.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Ohio Admin. Code 5101:2-5-35
Children’s rights
“(A) No agency, foster caregiver, residential facility or any employee of an agency or residential facility shall in any way violate any of the following rights of children:
(1) The right to enjoy freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or to abstain from the practice of religion.
(2) The right to reasonable enjoyment of privacy.
(3) The right to have his or her opinions heard and be included, to the greatest extent possible, when any decisions are being made affecting his life.
(8) The right to receive adequate and appropriate food, clothing, and housing.
(12) The right to communicate with family, friends and ‘significant others’ from whom he or she is living apart, in accordance with the child's service or case plan.”

Ohio Admin. Code 5101:2-7-09
Care, supervision and discipline
“(B) A foster caregiver shall not discriminate in providing care and supervision to foster children on the basis of race, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, religion, color or national origin.
(D) A foster caregiver shall not subject a foster child to verbal abuse or swearing; to derogatory remarks about foster children and their families, race, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, religion, color or national origin; or to threats of physical violence or removal from the foster home.

(N) Concerning the hygiene needs of a foster child, the foster caregiver shall:
(1) Ensure that:
(a) Each foster child's clothing and footwear shall be clean, well-fitting, seasonal and appropriate to the child’s age and gender identity.
(b) Each foster child capable of meeting their own personal hygiene needs shall be provided with adequate personal toiletry supplies appropriate to the child’s age, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, race and national origin.
(2) Provide each foster child instruction on good habits of personal care, hygiene, and grooming appropriate to the child’s age, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, race, national origin and need for training.”

Policy:

Department of Job and Family Services: Family, Children and Adult Services Manual: Foster Care Licensing
5101:2-7-09 Care, Supervision and Discipline
(B) A foster caregiver shall not discriminate in providing care and supervision to foster children on the basis of race, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, religion, color or national origin.
(N) Concerning the hygiene needs of a foster child, the foster caregiver shall:
(1)Ensure that:
(a)Each foster child's clothing and footwear shall be clean, well-fitting, seasonal and appropriate to the child's age and gender identity.
(b)Each foster child capable of meeting their own personal hygiene needs shall be provided with adequate personal toiletry supplies appropriate to the child's age, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, race and national origin. (2 )Provide each foster child instruction on good habits of personal care, hygiene, and grooming appropriate to the child's age, sex, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, race, national origin and need for training. https://emanuals.jfs.ohio.gov/FamChild/FCASM/FosterCareLic/5101-2-7-09.stm

State Agency Website:

http://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/index.stm

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Office of Legislation: Constituent Services
30 East Broad Street, 32nd Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414
Phone: (614) 466-2100
TTY/TDD number (614) 752-3951
http://jfs.ohio.gov/oleg/

Additional Provisions:

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has regulatory based protections against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex.

The state has a religious refusal law, which permits any private child placing agency to “perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 10A, § 1-8-112

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has an Office of Client Advocacy.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:
Okla. Admin. Code 340:75-14-1.
Department of Human Services: Child Welfare Services
Well-Being: Purpose, definitions, and assessment
"(b) Equal access. Children engaged by the CW system have 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 on the basis of 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."

Okla. Admin. Code 340:1-11-14
Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) responsibility to contractors, vendors, and sub-grantees
“(a) DHS requires its contractors, vendors, and sub-grantees to comply per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:1-11-1. Contractors, vendors, and sub-grantees are informed that compliance with OAC 340:1-11-1 is a condition of the initial or continued participation in any part of the programs in which they are involved. In each DHS-written authorization for the purchase of services, a requirement is included stipulating the services are rendered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability, age, or genetic information.”

Okla. Admin. Code 340:75-7-38
Discipline for the child in Oklahoma Department of Human Service (OKDHS) custody placed in foster family care
“(c) Teaching techniques.
. . .
(5) Punishment. Unacceptable behavior management methods and techniques promote negative behavior, are punitive, and do not promote self-control. Unacceptable behavior management techniques for the child include, but are not limited to:
. . .
(G) derogatory remarks about the child, the child’s biological family, race, religion, or cultural background[.]”

Policy:

Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Web Site Policies: Non-Discrimination Statement
“OKDHS does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, or political opinion or affiliation.”
http://www.okdhs.org/notices/pages/nondisc.aspx

State Agency Website:

http://www.okdhs.org/services/cws/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Office of Client Advocacy
Advocate General: Kathryn Brewer
Phone: (405) 522-2720
Fax: (405) 522-2680
2401 NW 23rd Street, Ste. 28
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
href="Update: https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/about-us/exec/ocahome.html">Update: https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/about-us/exec/ocahome.html

Additional Provisions:

Oregon

Oregon has regulatory based protection from discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. Oregon has policy based protection against discrimination on account of gender and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. Oregon’s “Foster Children Bill of Rights,” found in agency policy, gives youth the right to “determine and express [their] gender and sexual identity for [themselves].” Additionally, Oregon's Foster Home Certification regulation has provisions requiring that gender identity and expression be respected in providing youth with adequate clothing and sleeping arrangements.

The state prohibits mental health care professionals from practicing “conversion therapy” on recipients under 18 years of age. The law defines conversion therapy as “providing professional services for the purpose of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 675.850.

Oregon has a Foster Care Ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Oregon Administrative Rules 413-215-0031
Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services
Licensing Umbrella Rules: Respect of Children in Care
A child-caring agency must respect the race, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, disabilities, national origin, and cultural identities of a child in care, and provide opportunities to enhance the positive self-concept and understanding of the child in care.

Oregon Administrative Rules 413-200-0308
Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services
Personal Qualifications of Applicants and Certified Resource Families
"(2) Applicants must ... (k) Respect, accept and support the race, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, disabilities, national origin, cultural identities, immigration status and socioeconomic status of a child or young adult in the care or custody of the Department, and provide opportunities to enhance the positive self-concept and understanding of the child or young adult's heritage"

Oregon Administrative Rules 413-200-0358
Requirements Regarding the Discipline of a Child or Young Adult
"(2) The certified resource family must not do any of the following to a child or young adult in the care or custody of the Department placed in the home: (f) Use derogatory remarks about the child or young adult, or the family characteristics, physical traits, culture, ethnicity, language, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or traditions of the child or young adult."

Oregon Administrative Rules 413-215-0316
Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services
Foster Care Agencies: Assessment and Approval of Proctor Foster Homes
(3) The foster care agency must complete a written home study that includes all of the following information:
(A) For all members of the household age 18 and over; and
(q) The proctor foster home applicant's ability to respect the spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, disabilities, national origin, cultural identity, and socioeconomic background of each child in care, and provide opportunities to enhance the positive self-concept and understanding of the heritage of the child in care."

Oregon Administrative Rules 413-200-0352
Foster Home Certification: Requirements for the Care of Children and Young Adults
(1) Work cooperatively with the Department, to support the case plan and meet the needs of the child or young adult in the care or custody of the Department placed with the certified resource family including, but not limited to:
(d) Adequate clothing that is age-appropriate and meets the cultural and gender identity and gender expression of the child or young adult.

Oregon Administrative Rules 413-200-0335
Foster Home Certification: Standards Regarding the Home Environment
(a) Department staff must consider the age, gender, gender expression, and gender identity, culture, special needs, behavior, and history of abuse of the child or young adult in the care or custody of the Department, when determining appropriate sleeping arrangements.

Policy:

Oregon Department of Human Services: Office of Child Welfare Programs
Policy No. I-A.1, Client Rights – Policy
“Discrimination Prohibited. No individual shall, on the grounds of race, national origin, religion, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, political affiliation, language or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under programs and activities for which the Oregon Department of Human Services has responsibility. This same policy of non-discrimination is equally applicable to all Department contract providers, grantees, agents and providers of services funded in whole or in part with federal funds.”
http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/manual_1/I-A.1.pdf

Oregon’s Foster Children’s Bill of Rights
“As a child or youth in foster care, I have the right:
. . .
To determine and express my gender and sexual identity for myself.”
https://www.oregon.gov/gov/policy/Documents/

State Agency Website:

http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/children/Pages/index.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Oregon Foster Care Ombudsman
500 Summer St. NE E-17
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: (855) 840-6036
Fax: (855) 840-6036
Email: fco.info@state.or.us
http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/aboutdhs/Pages/fostercare-ombudsman.aspx

Additional Provisions:

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has statutory and regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of sex (and gender) and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system in the context of residential facilities.

Statute:

11 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 2633
Children in foster care
“Children in foster care shall be provided with the following:
(1) Treatment with fairness, dignity and respect.
(2) Freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, age or gender.
(3) Freedom from harassment, corporal punishment, unreasonable restraint and physical, sexual, emotional and other abuse.
. . .
(12) An environment that maintains and reflects the child’s culture as may be reasonably accommodated.”

Regulation:

55 Pa. Code § 3800.32
Child Residential and Day Treatment Facilities: Child Rights
Specific rights.
“(a) A child may not be discriminated against because of race, color, religious creed, disability, handicap, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age or sex.”

Policy:

None known.

State Agency Website:

https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Children/Pages/Child-Welfare-Services.aspx

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Regional Children Youth and Families Offices
https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/Regional-OCYF-Offices.aspx

Additional Provisions:

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has no explicit protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in statute, regulation or agency policy for youth in the child welfare system.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

None known.

State Agency Website:

http://www.agencias.pr.gov/agencias/adfan/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:

None known.

Ombudsman:

None known.

Additional Provisions:

Rhode Island*

Rhode Island has statutory, regulatory, and policy based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. The state has a nondiscrimination policy for LGBTQ+ youth in the child welfare system.

The state prohibits engaging in “conversion therapy efforts” with anyone younger than eighteen. The law defines conversion therapy as “any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” 23 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. §§ 23-94-2-4.

Rhode Island has an Office of the Child Advocate.

Statute:

R.I. Gen. Laws 42-72-15
Children’s bill of rights
“(q) No child shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has, or is perceived to have one, or more of such characteristics.”

Regulation:

214 R.I. Code R. 40-00-4.1.2
Department of Children, Youth, and Families: Licensing: Residential Child Care Regulations for Licensure "F. The Department of Children, Youth, and Families does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religious belief, political belief or handicap. The prohibition against discriminatory practices extends to the agencies, organizations and institutions the Department licenses."

Policy:

Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (Nov. 10, 2016)
"The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families... strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status or disability or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics." DCYF Policies and Operating Procedures, Select the Policy's Title on the Menu

State Agency Website:

http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Rhode Island Office of the Child Advocate
6 Cherrydale Court. Cottage 43
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-4300
Fax: (401) 462-4305
http://www.child-advocate.ri.gov/index.php

Additional Provisions:

South Carolina

South Carolina has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of sex, but no explicit protection against discrimination on account of gender identity or gender expression for anyone seeking to access services. South Carolina Department of Social Services Human Services has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system.

In 2018, the governor issued an executive order directing that “DSS shall not deny licensure to faith-based [child placing agencies] solely on account of their religious identity and sincerely held religious beliefs” and directing DSS “to review and revise its policies and manuals in accordance with this Order and ensure that DSS does not directly or indirectly penalize religious identity or activity[.]” S.C. Exec. Order No. 2018-12 (Mar. 13, 2018).

South Carolina has a Department of Children's Advocacy.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

S.C. Code Regs. 114-200
Department of Social Services: Civil Rights: Definitions
“E. Discrimination - to deny unlawfully to any individual, on the basis of race, color, national origin, qualified disability, sex, age, religion, or political belief, or other unlawful basis, the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid of any program administered by the Department.”

S.C. Code Regs. 114-210
Department of Social Services: Civil Rights: Non-Discriminatory Practices
“B. The Department shall not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements:
1. Deny unlawfully to any individual, on the basis of race, color, national origin, qualified disability, sex, age, religion, or political belief, or other unlawful basis, the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid of any program administered by it;
2. Aid or perpetuate unlawful discrimination against a client by contracting with, licensing, or otherwise utilizing providers who discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, qualified disability, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or other unlawful basis.”

Policy:
South Carolina Department of Social Services Human Services Policy and Procedure Manual
Foster Family Licensing & Support
710. Non-Discrimination: Purpose Statement
"The agency is committed to the exercise of nondiscriminatory practice, and shall provide equal opportunities to all families and children, without regard to their race, color, and national origin, and religion, state of residence, age, disability, political belief, sex, or sexual orientation...
No child shall be denied the opportunity to have a permanent family on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, state of residence, age, disability, political belief, sex, or sexual orientation. Further, no individual shall be denied the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, state of residence, age, disability, political belief, sex, or sexual orientation. Neither of these opportunities shall be delayed on the above basis." https://dss.sc.gov/media/2079/foster_home_licensing_v16-01.pdf

South Carolina Department of Social Services
SCDSS Children and Youth in Foster Care Bill of Rights
“I have the right to:
1. Be treated as a normal and important human being.
2. Be cared for with love and affection.
3. Be provided adequate food, shelter and clothing.
4. Be heard and involved with the decisions of my life.”
. . .
17. Be cared for without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability.”
https://dss.sc.gov/resource-library/forms_brochures/files/30163.pdf

South Carolina Department of Social Services
Nondiscrimination Statement
“This Agency is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex and in some cases religion or political beliefs.”
https://dss.sc.gov/privacy-statement/

State Agency Website:

https://dss.sc.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
DSS Office of Civil Rights
P.O. Box 1520
Columbia, S.C. 29202-1520
Phone: (800) 311-7220 or (803) 898-8080 or TTY: (800) 311-7219
https://dss.sc.gov/privacy-statement/

Ombudsman:

South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 471A
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-734-3176
Toll Free Complaint Line: 1-800-206-1957
https://childadvocate.sc.gov/submit-complaint

Additional Provisions:

South Dakota

South Dakota has Department of Social Services policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system.

The state has a religious refusal law, which provides, "broad protection of free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions" S.D. Codified Laws § 26-6-46.

South Dakota’s Department of Social Services has a Constituent Liaison.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

South Dakota Department of Social Services
Notice of Nondiscrimination
“As a recipient of Federal financial assistance and a State or local governmental agency, the Department of Social Services does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the ground of race, color, or national origin, or on the basis of disability or age in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, activities, or services, whether carried out by the Department of Social Services directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which the Department of Social Services arranges to carry out its programs and activities; or on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, activities, or services when carried out by the Department of Social Services directly or when carried out by sub-recipients of grants issued by the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence against Women.”
https://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/discrimination.aspx

State Agency Website:

https://dss.sd.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

http://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/legal/grievance.aspx

Discrimination Coordinator
Director of DSS Division of Legal Services
700 Governor’s Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 773-3305
Email: DSSInfo@state.sd.us
https://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/discrimination.aspx#dis

Ombudsman:

South Dakota Department of Social Services
Constituent Liaison
700 Governor’s Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
Toll-Free: (800) 597-1603
Email: DSSConstituentLiaison@state.sd.us
http://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/legal/grievance.aspx

Additional Provisions:

Tennessee*

Tennessee has statutory based protection against discrimination on account of sex for youth in the child welfare system. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services “Clients Rights Handbook” provides policy based protection against discrimination while receiving services on account of gender, sexual orientation and “sexual identity” for youth in the child welfare system. In addition, Tennessee has a policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care.

Statute:

Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-5-116
Department of Children's Services: General Provisions: Nondiscrimination
No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age or ability to pay, be excluded from participation, be denied the benefits of or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity operated by the department of children's services. This shall include, but not be limited to, contracts for services, employment or services to consumers."

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Administrative Policies and Procedures
20.20 Guidelines for Managing Children/Youth in DCS Custody Related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression
https://files.dcs.tn.gov/policies/chap20/20.20.pdf

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
Clients Rights Handbook
“You have the right to:
Available services, regardless of your age, race, ethnicity, gender, religious or political affiliation, sexual orientation, sexual identity, physical or mental disability, or infectious disease, and the right to referral, as appropriate, to other service providers.”
https://files.dcs.tn.gov/policies/chap31/ClientsRightsHandbook.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://www.tn.gov/dcs/

Grievance Procedure:
https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/tccy/programs0/ombuds.html
Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
Office of Civil Rights
UBS Tower, 7th Floor
315 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 532-5552
https://www.tn.gov/dcs/contact-us/civil-rights.html
DCS Customer Relations Unit
315 Deaderick St.
10th Floor, UBS Building
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (800) 861-1935
Email: DCS.Custserv@tn.gov

Ombudsman:

Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth Ombudsman for Children and Families
Gerald Papica
Program Director
Phone: (615) 532-1572
Email: Gerald.Papica@tn.gov
https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/tccy/programs0/ombuds.html

Additional Provisions:

Texas

Texas has no known protection against discrimination on account of sex (or gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has policy-based discrimination on account of sex for anyone seeking to access services.

The state has a religious refusal law, which codified that "a governmental entity or any person that contracts with this state or operates under governmental authority to refer or place children for child welfare services may not discriminate or take any adverse action against a child welfare services provider on the basis, wholly or partly, that the provider: (1) has declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services that conflict with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs" Tex. Hum. Res. Code Ann. § 45.004

Texas has a Foster Care Ombudsman

Statute:
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. Title 5, Subtitle E § 263.008
Foster Children’s Bill of Rights
"(b) It is the policy of this state that each child in foster care be informed of the child ’s rights provided by state or federal law or policy that relate to:
(1) abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination, and harassment;"
. . .
(14) participation in the development of service and treatment plans

Regulation:

None known.

Policy:
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Child Protective Services Handbook
1240 General Eligibility Criteria for Child Protective Services
“DFPS must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or handicap in providing child protective services.”
https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/handbooks/CPS/Files/CPS_pg_1200.asp

State Agency Website:
Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission
Foster Care Ombudsman
P.O. Box 13247
Austin, TX 78711-3247
Phone: (844) 286-0769
RT: 800-735-2989
Fax: (888) 780-8099
https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/your-rights/office-ombudsman/hhs-ombudsman-foster-care-help

Additional Provisions:

Utah*

Utah Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Child and Family Services has policy based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services has policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care. Utah has regulatory based protections from discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system.

Utah has regulation banning Conversion Therapy - “Unprofessional conduct includes: (2) (a) providing conversion therapy to a patient or client who is younger than 18 years old" However, this, "does not apply to: (i) a clergy member or religious counselor who is acting substantially in a pastoral or religious capacity and not in the capacity of a mental health therapist; or (ii) a parent or grandparent who is a mental health therapist and who is acting substantially in the capacity of a parent or grandparent and not in the capacity of a mental health therapist" Utah Admin. Code R156-60-502

Utah has an Office of Child Protection Ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Utah Admin. Code R501-12-13
Foster Child's Rights in Foster Care.
“(1) Foster parents shall not violate a foster child’s right to:
. . .
(f) be protected from discrimination based upon the foster child's race, color, national origin, culture, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, or disability”

Policy:

Utah Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Child and Family Services
Out-of-Home Services, Practice Guidelines
300.5, Safety for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth
Major objectives:
All children and youth, regardless of gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation(GI/GE/SO), need to feel safe in their surroundings in order for positive child and/or youth development outcomes to occur. Child and Family Team members will promote the positive development of all children and youth by demonstrating respect for all children and youth, reinforcing respect for differences, encouraging the development of healthy self-esteem, and helping all children and youth manage the stigma sometimes associated with difference...
D. Expectations for Out-of-Home Placement: 1. Any out-of-home placement, whether it be with foster, adoptive, or birth parents, will affirm every child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, treat them with respect and dignity, and work to ensure their overall well-being.
https://www.powerdms.com/public/UTAHDHS/documents/274994

Utah Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Child and Family Services
300.9 Utah Foster Care Bill of Rights
"Children and Youth in Foster Care Have the Right to... (1) Be treated with respect regardless of age, race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, religious beliefs, family relations, or family history"
https://www.powerdms.com/public/UTAHDHS/documents/274994

State Agency Website:

https://dcfs.utah.gov/

Grievance Procedure:

https://hs.utah.gov/commitment-to-civil-rights
Department of Human Services
Executive Director’s Office – 4th Floor
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
TTY only: (801) 538-4187 or Utah Relay 711
Email: dhscivilrightscomplaint@utah.gov

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights
Toll-free call center: (800) 368-1019
TTD: (800) 537-7697
www.hhs.gov/OCR

Ombudsman:

Utah Department of Human Services
Office of Child Protection Ombudsman
Phone: (801) 538-4589
Email: ocpo@utah.gov

https://dcfs.utah.gov/contact-us/

Additional Provisions:

Vermont*

Vermont has Agency of Human Services policy based protection against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for youth in the child welfare system. The Department of Children and Family has a policy specific to upholding the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in care. Vermont has regulatory requirements for Residential Treatment Programs to provide "humane conditions with respect for their dignity and privacy... [and] gender specific, culturally competent and linguistically appropriate service."

Vermont prohibits mental health care providers from practicing “conversion therapy” on minors under 18 years of age. The law defines conversion therapy as any practice that “seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 8351-8353.

Vermont has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Vt. Admin. Code 12-3-103:3.4
Non-Discriminatory Enrollment
The FCCP shall not deny a child's entry into the program because of race, creed, color, national origin, religion, disability, gender or the parents marital status or gender identification.

Vt. Admin. Code 12-3-508:200
Licensing Regulations for Residential Treatment Programs: General Provisions
“201 A Residential Treatment Program shall ensure children/youth the following rights:
• to be served under humane conditions with respect for their dignity and privacy;
. . .
• to receive gender specific, culturally competent and linguistically appropriate service[.]”

Policy:

Vermont Department for Children and Families, Family Services Policy Manual 76, Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Children & Youth
"All division staff are prohibited from engaging in any form of discrimination or bias based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or marital status or partnership. https://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/FSD/Policies/76.pdf

Vermont Department for Children and Families
C Nondiscrimination Policy/Grievance Policy
“[DCF does] not discriminate in the administration of our programs, services, or activities nor do we exclude any individual from participation in our programs, services, or activities based on race, creed (religion), color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or political beliefs.”
https://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/DCF/docs/Nondiscrimination-Policy.pdf

State Agency Website:
http://dcf.vermont.gov/
Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

VT Consumer Concerns Team- Commissioner's Office, Department for Children and Families
280 State Drive, HC 1 North,
Waterbury, VT 05671-1080
Phone: (802) 241-0925
Email: AHS.DCFConsumerConcerns@vermont.gov
https://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/DCF/docs/Nondiscrimination-Policy.pdf

Additional Provisions:

Virginia

The Virginia Department of Social Services has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. Virginia Department of Social Services has LGBTQ+ specific foster care policy that includes guidelines for serving transgender and gender-nonconforming youth. Virginia Department of Social Services also has policy prohibiting discrimination on account of sex in USDA programs.

The state has a religious refusal law, which permits any “private child-placing agency” to refuse to “participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” Va. Code Ann. § 63.2-1709.3.

Virginia is establishing a Children’s Ombudsman created July 2020.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

22 Virginia Admin. Code 40-211-80.
Standards of care for continued approval.
"A. The provider shall provide care that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status."

Policy:

Virginia Department of Social Services
Child and Family Services Manual
17.14 Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) youth in foster care
"All youth in foster care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and be placed in an affirming environment that will support safety, permanency, and well-being."
https://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/dfs/fc/intro_page/guidance_manuals/

Virginia Department of Social Services
Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
Auxiliary Grant Program, Administrative Issues
“The Virginia Department of Social Services requires that all individuals be assured of the uniform application of procedures in determining eligibility for services and financial assistance. There must be no discrimination against applicants or participants in any aspect of program administration for reasons of age, race, color, sex, disability, marital/family status, religion, national origin, or political beliefs.”
https://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/bp/fs/manual/P1.pdf

Virginia Department of Social Services
Civil Rights Policy & Procedures
“The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and local social services offices, in accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion or political beliefs.”
http://www.dss.virginia.gov/about/civil_rights/

State Agency Website:

http://www.dss.virginia.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Virginia is establishing a Children’s Ombudsman created in July 2020 (more information to come)

Virginia Department of Social Services
801 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-3301
Phone: (804) 726-7011
Fax: (804) 726-7015
Email: comm@dss.virginia.gov
https://www.dss.virginia.gov/appeals/cps.cgi

Additional Provisions:

Washington

Washington has regulatory and policy based protection against discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender identity in the child welfare system. The Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families has policy prohibiting discrimination on account of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families also has LGBTQ+ specific policy that includes guidelines for serving transgender and gender-nonconforming youth.

State law prohibits “the following conduct, acts, or conditions constitute unprofessional conduct for any license holder under the jurisdiction of this chapter: (27) Performing conversion therapy on a patient under age eighteen." Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 18.130.180. Conversion therapy is defined as “a regime that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” S.B. 5722, 65th Leg. (Wash. 2018).

Washington has a Family and Children’s Ombuds.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Wash. Admin. Code 110-145-1710
Licensing requirements for group care facilities.
What are the requirements about nondiscrimination?
“You must follow all state and federal laws regarding nondiscrimination while providing services to children in your care. You must treat foster children in your care with dignity and respect regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity. You must connect a child with resources that meets a child’s needs regarding race, religion, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Wash. Admin. Code 110-147-1595
Licensing requirements for child placing agency and adoption services.
What are the requirements about nondiscrimination?
“You must follow all state and federal laws regarding nondiscrimination while providing services to children in your care. You must treat foster children in your care with dignity and respect regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity. You must connect a child with resources that meets a child’s needs regarding race, religion, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Wash. Admin. Code 110-148-1520
Licensing requirements for child foster homes.
What services am I expected to provide for children in my care?
“(6) You must follow all state and federal laws regarding nondiscrimination while providing services to children in your care. You must treat foster children in your care with dignity and respect regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Policy:

Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families
6900. Supporting LGBTQ+ Identified Children and Youth
"A child or youth who identifies as LGBTQ+ will not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."
https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/6000-operations/6900-supporting-lgbtq-identified-children-and-youth

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
Promoting Safety for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning People
https://www.dshs.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/documents/22-1511.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Washington State Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds
6840 Fort Dent Way, Suite 125 Tukwila, WA 98188
Phone: (206) 439-3870
Toll-Free: (800) 571-7321
Fax: (206) 439-3877
https://ofco.wa.gov/

Additional Provisions:

West Virginia

West Virginia has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of gender and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity for anyone seeking to access services. The West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families has policy based protections against discrimination on account of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity for youth in the child welfare system. These protections are also referenced in the Bureau for Children and Families Juvenile Justice policy

West Virginia has a Foster Care Ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

W. Va. Code St. R. 78-2-9
The Child’s and The Child’s Family’s Basic Rights.
“9.1. For the child and the child’s biological family, an agency shall ensure the following rights:
9.1.a. Equal access to services regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation[.]”

Policy:

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Bureau for Children and Families: Foster Care Policy
9.1 Nondiscrimination
As a recipient of Federal financial assistance, the Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the ground of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or creed in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by BCF directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which BCF arranges to carry out its programs and activities.
https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/policy/Documents/Foster%20Care%20Policy%20June%202021%20(4)

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Bureau for Children and Families: Youth Services Policy
1.2 Philosophical Principles
“Effective intervention requires that Youth Services respond in a non-punitive noncritical manner and offer help in the least intrusive way possible. Children and Families shall be treated with dignity and respect by the child welfare staff and all providers of service working with them. It is the Child Welfare System’s responsibility to ensure the rights of children and families being served are protected. In doing so, Child Welfare workers (including Youth service workers, Child Protective Workers, & any agency contracted by the DHHR) shall not assume all children in care are heterosexual, non-transgender or gender-conforming and will treat Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth with respect and competence. They will also adhere to State and Federal Laws related to LGBTQI Youth. All professionals in state and local child welfare systems have an obligation to understand and adhere to the federal laws that protect the families and children in the communities they serve.

Decisions made by Child Welfare Workers, (including Youth Service Workers, Child Protective Service Workers, & any agency contracted by the DHHR) should be made without intentional or unintentional discrimination. This includes discriminating on the basis of age, race, color, sex, mental or physical disability, religious creed, national origin, sexual orientation, political beliefs and limited proficiency in speaking, reading, writing or understanding the English language.”

11.1 Nondiscrimination
"As a recipient of Federal financial assistance, the Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the ground of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or creed in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by BCF directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which BCF arranges to carryout its programs and activities...
11.3 Complaint Procedure and Due Process Standards
A: Complaints Based on Disability or other Forms of Discrimination
It is the policy of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), not to discriminate on the basis of on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or creed." https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/policy/Documents/Youth%20Services%20January%202021.pdf

State Agency Website:

https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Pages/default.aspx

Grievance Procedure:

Bureau for Children and Families: Youth Services Policy
11.3 Complaint Procedure and Due Process Standards
https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/policy/Documents/Youth%20Services%20January%202021.pdf

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Office of Human Resource Management
EEO/Civil Rights Officer
Phone: (304) 558-3313
Fax: (304) 558-6051
Email: DHHRCivilRights@WV.Gov

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Office of Client Services
350 Capital Street - Room 513
Charleston, West Virginia 25301
Toll-Free: (800) 642-8589
http://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Services/Documents/Client%20Services%20Phamplet%20v4.0.pdf

Ombudsman:

Foster Care Ombudsman
Pamela M. Woodman-Kaehler
State Capitol Complex
Building 6, Room 817-B
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone: (304) 558-1117
Fax: (304) 558-1992
http://www.wvdhhr.org/oig/fco.html

Additional Provisions:

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of sex and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. Sex is a protected class in Department of Children and Families policy. Chapter 3 of the state’s Foster Parent Handbook contains a section on working with LGBTQ+ youth.

Wisconsin has a civil rights complaint procedure within the Department of Children and Families.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Wis. Admin. Code DCF § 56.09
Care of foster children.
“(1) Principles for Nurturing Care. The foster parent shall provide nurturing care to each child placed in a foster home. Nurturing care is care that does all of the following:
. . .
(e) Does not discriminate against the child because of the child’s race or cultural identification, sex, age, sexual orientation, color, creed, ancestry, national origin or disability.”

Wis. Admin. Code DCF § 52.11
Residential Care Centers for Children and Youth: Subchapter II - Administration
Licensee Responsibilities
“(24) Non-Discrimination. Ensure that the residential care center does not discriminate against a resident based on the resident’s race or cultural identification, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, political affiliations, or religious beliefs.”

Wis. Admin. Code DCF § 54.04
Child-Placing Agencies
Social services.
“(1) General Requirements.
(a) The agency shall provide services to children who need and seek its care without discrimination on the basis of race or cultural identification, sex, sexual orientation, age, creed, ancestry, disability, political affiliations, religious beliefs, color, or national origin.”

Wis. Admin. Code DCF § 57.05
Group Homes: Subchapter I - General Provisions
Group home program and policies.
“(1) Program Statement. Each group home shall have a written program statement that shall include all of the following:
. . .
(f) A non-discrimination statement that indicates that the group home does not discriminate against a resident because of race or cultural identification, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, political affiliations, or religious beliefs.”

Policy:

State of Wisconsin Foster Parent Handbook, Chapter 3, Caring for Children in Foster Care, pp.46-47, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth (2019)
https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/publications/pdf/5000chapter3.pdf

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
About Civil Rights Compliance
"The Department of Children and Families (DCF) must comply with Federal Civil Rights' laws and regulations as a stipulation for receiving federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services."
https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/civilrights

State Agency Website:

https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
201 West Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 422-7000 or 608-422-6889
Fax: (608) 422-7163
Email: dcfweb@wisconsin.gov
https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/civilrights/complaint-procedures

Wyoming

Wyoming has regulatory based protection against discrimination on account of gender and sexual orientation for youth in the child welfare system. Wyoming Department of Family Services has policy prohibiting discrimination on account of sex in USDA programs.

Wyoming has a child welfare ombudsman.

Statute:

None known.

Regulation:

Wyo. Admin. Code, Department of Family Services, Providers of Substitute Care Services, Certification of Ch. 3 § 23
Child and Family (Parent, Guardian) Rights.
“All organizations shall develop and maintain a child’s rights policy that supports and protects the fundamental human, civil, constitutional, and statutory rights of all children. These rights shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
. . .
(b) Every child and family shall have equal access to services regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status or gender[.]”

Wyo. Admin. Code, Department of Family Services, Certification of Providers of Substitute Care Services Ch. 3 § 2
Responsibilities of the Organization.
“(a) The organization shall develop policies and procedures that assure proper protection, care and treatment of children, as follows:
(i) Ensure that no child, on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin, is excluded from participation in, is denied benefits of, or is subjected to discrimination in receipt of services by the organization[.]”

Policy:

Wyoming Department of Family Services Non-Discrimination Statement
"In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA."
https://dfs.wyo.gov/non-discrimination-statement/

State Agency Website:

http://dfsweb.wyo.gov/

Grievance Procedure:
Ombudsman:

Wyoming Department of Family Services
Complaint Resolution
Clint Hanes
Phone: (307) 777-6597
Email: clint.hanes1@wyo.gov
https://dfs.wyo.gov/about/complaint-resolution/

Additional Provisions: