Youth in Out-of-Home Care

Find Your State

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

Know Your Rights

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are over-represented in foster care, juvenile justice systems and homeless settings. These youth face the prospect of neglect, discrimination and abuse by the child welfare systems charged to protect them. Inappropriate placements and a lack of understanding of the needs of LGBTQ youth also endanger their health and safety. They are at risk of physical violence, substance abuse, unsafe sex and even suicide.

Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of Home Care Project raises awareness and advances reform on behalf of LGBTQ youth in child welfare, juvenile justice and homeless systems of care. We aim to increase the will and capacity of youth-serving organizations to prepare and support LGBTQ youth as they transition from adolescence to independence. We work with LGBTQ youth as well as social workers, case managers, administrators and other child welfare advocates to ensure safe and affirming child welfare services for LGBTQ youth.

For more information about Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, see our fact sheet:

In English - Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project

In Spanish - Proyecto de Jóvenes LGBTQ que Viven Fuera de Casa

Know Your Rights / Legal Assistance Helpline

Youth in foster care or juvenile justice systems who are LGBTQ or living with HIV have basic rights. Read about them here. To seek help for a young person who has experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status, inquire with us online.


Lambda Legal has released a number of publications addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care and providing practice recommendations for policymakers and child welfare professionals. These publications have been issued both independently as well as in collaboration with co-authoring child welfare experts and advocates. You can download our publications, or order them free of charge.

Other Resources

Lambda Legal has compiled lists of state and national resources for LGBTQ young people, both in and out of care.

Resources for LGBTQ Youth