Today marks two-years since the shooting at #Pulse that took the lives of 49 people celebrating Latin Night during #PRIDEMonth. Join @EqualityFL and others by using #HonorThemWithAction to share how you are challenging anti-#LGBTQ harassment, discrimination, and violence.
Today’s action is focused on the manipulation of a questionaire from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that particularly addresses the needs of #LGBTQ youth.
Currently, they must ask if children left home because of “family conflict related to child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Trump’s HHS would like to “streamline” their data reporting requirements, and “reduce burden on title IV-E agencies, by allowing them to stop asking this question. They would like to downgrade the information chain for Native American children as well, which tribes are fighting back with letters in the comments section describing how the placing of Indian children in foster care is both a failure to follow the rule of law and to protect children from identified and preventable harm.
Comment examples here and below.
Background and ideas for comment writing:
- I am writing to comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 83 Fed. Reg. 11449 (“Proposed Rule”) proposing to streamline the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) (RIN 0970-AC72).
- I urge HHS to retain the voluntary sexual orientation questions for foster youth and foster and adoptive parents and guardians, as well as the data element on the reason for removal of a child from a home due to “family conflict related to child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
- Studies show that approximately 19% of foster youth identify as LGBTQ, and they experience worse safety, well-being, and permanency outcomes than non-LGBTQ youth. For states and tribes to improve these outcomes and identify best practices for doing so, data collection on the state and national level is urgently needed.
- Same-sex couples foster at six times the rate of their opposite-sex counterparts, and can provide loving, supportive homes for America’s 400,000+ foster youth.
- I also urge HHS to retain the data elements related to the Indian Child Welfare Act, as American Indian and Native Alaskan foster youth are another vulnerable population overrepresented in foster care with worse safety, well-being, and permanency outcomes than non-Native youth.
- Please add WHY you support data collection on LGBTQ youth and families; explain why this issue matters to you.
- If you have experienced discrimination in foster care or adoption due to your sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, explain how this discrimination impacted your ability to provide a home for a child in need. (And, please share your foster care, adoption, or LGBTQ parenting story with your member of Congress by clicking here.)
Comment: I urge HHS to keep asking if children were removed from their home due to family conflict related to child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. I also urge HHS to retain voluntary sexual orientation questions for foster youth & foster or adoptive parents.
Comment: As an MSW and a parent of an LGBTQ-identified child, I know how important it is to protect our LGBTQ youth. My child was raised in a safe and supportive environment, but their friends, many of whom I know personally, were not as fortunate. We need to keep the question about family conflict in the HHS document so we can fully support and understand the context by which a child left home and be able to arrange for appropriate accommodations. Do to anything less would risk children’s overall health, well-being, and susceptibility to trauma.
Comment: I think it’s extremely important for records to be kept on the sexual orientation and gender identity of both foster parents and foster children. Children in this category need to have their rights respected. Parents need to have potential fosters know who they are.
Comment: I urge HHS to keep asking if children were removed from their home due to family conflict related to child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. I also urge HHS to retain voluntary sexual orientation questions for foster youth & foster or adoptive parents. Protecting the most vulnerable citizens is imperative to our ideology as a nation & must be a priority.