FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 21, 2007
New Regulations Put California In The Forefront Of Protecting LGBT Youth
(San Francisco, CA, February 21, 2007) — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) for updating regulations to protect the personal rights of youth in foster care. CDSS expanded the regulations to incorporate the provisions of AB 458, the Foster Care Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibit harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the California foster care system. Comments from NCLR, Youth Law Center, and other children's advocates helped shape the updated regulations.
The first and only law of its kind in the nation, AB 458, sponsored by the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, was passed by the California Legislature in 2003 and went into effect January 1, 2004. AB 458 mandates that all children in foster care have the right to fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits and may 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. The law also requires training for foster parents, county child welfare departments, group home staff, and foster family agencies.
"These new regulations provide guidance to foster care workers about how to treat LGBT youth with dignity and respect," said NCLR Staff Attorney Jody Marksamer. "In the past, many LGBT youth would run away or be kicked out of foster care placements because they were harassed or rejected simply for being themselves. We are fortunate to live in a state that has taken a strong stand against mistreatment of these youth and that is taking concrete steps to ensure that they receive the support and services they need."
The Foster Youth Personal Rights Regulations were approved by the Office of Administrative Law earlier this year and filed with the Secretary of State on January 17, 2007. They went into effect on February 16, 2007.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.