Sending Office: Honorable Donna E. Shalala
Cosponsor the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act of 2019
Endorsed By: HRC
Cosponsors: Shalala, Panetta, Pappas, Carbajal, Castor, Cicilline, Cisneros, Clarke (NY), Cox, Craig, Crist, Davids (KS), Doyle, Espaillat, Foster, Garcia (IL), Garcia (TX), Grijalva, Haaland, Hastings, Hill (CA),
Holmes Norton, Jackson Lee, Johnson (GA), Kennedy, Khanna, Kildee, Kilmer, Krishnamoorthi, Kuster, Lee (CA), Levin (MI), Lowenthal, Maloney SP (NY), Matsui, McGovern, Meng, Moore, Morelle, Moulton, Murphy, Napolitano, Omar, Payne Jr., Pingree, Pocan, Porter,
Quigley, Rouda, Ruiz, Ryan, Scanlon, Schakowsky, Sires, Soto, Speier, Takano, Tlaib, Underwood, Watson Coleman, Welch, Wexton, Wild, Wilson (FL)
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth are at an increased risk for experiencing maltreatment compared to non-LGB youth. A 2011 meta-analysis of 37 school-based studies found that LGB adolescents
were 3.8 times more likely to experience childhood sexual abuse and 1.2 times more likely to experience physical abuse by a parent or guardian when compared to their heterosexual peers. Additional studies have demonstrated that gender nonconformity during
childhood may increase the risk for child maltreatment.
These risks for maltreatment often times result in LGBTQ youth entering the child welfare system. Studies have found that LGBT young people are overrepresented in child welfare systems, despite the fact that they are likely to be underreported because they
risk harassment and abuse if their LGBT identity is disclosed. This overrepresentation of LGBTQ youth in the foster care system raises concerns about issues in the child abuse and prevention space.
This is why I invite you to cosponsor the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act and stand up for the rights and safety of our children.
The Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act would amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to:
- Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with other federal agencies and recognized experts in the field, to carry out an interdisciplinary research program to protect LGBTQ youth from child abuse and neglect and to improve the
well-being of victims of child abuse or neglect
- Expand demographic information collected to include sexual orientation and gender identity when reporting on incidences of prevalence of child maltreatment
- Include sexual orientation and gender identity as demographic characteristics in a report compiled by the Secretary
- Open grant funding opportunities for the training of personnel in best practices to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ youth
- Include individuals experienced in working with LGBTQ youth and families in state task forces
Because LGBTQ young people, and those perceived to be LGBTQ, are vulnerable to mistreatment and harm from a variety of sources, both inside and outside the home, it is imperative that child welfare workers provide appropriate oversight and supervision so
that youth who are at risk of harm are, and continue to be, safe and appropriately cared for.
More research is needed to understand the risk of maltreatment among LGBTQ youth, particularly those identifying as transgender or queer. This bill will yield invaluable information to be used in developing targeted prevention strategies to reduce the rates
of adverse childhood experiences of LGBTQ individuals.
Join me and over 65 or our colleagues in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions or wish to cosponsor, please contact
Christofer.Horta@mail.house.gov by email or by telephone at (202) 225-3931.
Donna E. Shalala
Member of Congress
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