Getting Down to Basics

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Tools to Support LGBTQ Youth in Care

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are in America’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems in disproportionate numbers. Like all young people in care, they have the right to be safe and protected. All too often, however, they are misunderstood and mistreated, leading to an increased risk of negative outcomes.

This tool kit, updated on 2012, offers practical tips and information to ensure that LGBTQ young people in care receive the support and services they deserve.

Developed in partnership by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and Lambda Legal, the tool kit gives guidance on an array of issues affecting LGBTQ youth and the adults and organizations who provide them with out-of-home care.

Download the complete tool kit, or browse by topic below.

En español.

Topics Included in This Tool Kit


CWLA is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit advocate for children and youth and has a membership of nearly 1000 public and private agencies, including nearly every state child welfare system.

Lambda Legal is the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV.

In 2002, Lambda Legal and CWLA combined their respective expertise in child welfare and LGBTQ issues and launched a historic partnership, entitled Fostering Transitions, to change the way LGBTQ youth and adults are treated in the nation’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In addition to this tool kit, Fostering Transitions has published other educational and advocacy tools, including Out of the Margins: A Report on Regional Listening Forums Highlighting the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Care.

Fostering Transitions is supported by a generous grant from the Andrus Family Fund, a grantmaking foundation with a priority area of funding projects that help young people transition from foster care to adult independence. CWLA and Lambda Legal are profoundly grateful for the Andrus Family Fund’s support and vision, without which Fostering Transitions and this tool kit would not have been possible.

To order free copies of the Getting Down to Basics tool kit, Out of the Margins and other resources, contact Lambda Legal at 1-866-LGBTeen (1-866-542-8336) (toll-free) or 212-809-8585.

July 31, 2014