Fostering Family Best Practices Guide
Fostering Family Best Practices Guide

Fostering Family: A guide to working well with LGBTQ youth in Georgia’s Child Welfare System

This guide was co-authored by a group of child welfare organizations and experts, including The Health Initiative,
Children’s Rights, Georgia Equality, and others. The guide shines a light on the unique needs of LGBTQ
youth and makes specific recommendations for how the system can best serve them.

The guide focuses on Georgia, but the recommendations have nationwide application given that LGBTQ
youth are dramatically overrepresented in child welfare, foster care, juvenile justice, and other state
systems. In these environments, they are more likely to be discriminated against and face barriers in
accessing appropriate medical and mental healthcare. In Georgia alone, it is estimated that over 2,700
youth in the foster care system are LGBTQ.

This publication highlights policies, training, and best practices to support LGBTQ youths’ wellbeing while combatting homelessness and mistreatment, including recommendations for collecting relevant data and specific strategies to empower case managers to more effectively work with LGBTQ youth. Recommendations include:

  • Non-discrimination policies: All agencies serving youth involved in the child welfare system should create and post non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
  • Room, Board & Watchful Oversight (RBWO) Minimum Standards: RBWO Minimum Standards determine the minimum level of care for child welfare providers with state contracts. These minimum standards should be expanded to further protect LGBTQ youth, including (but not limited to) adding LGBTQ-specific training, and adding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protected classes.
  • State Law: Georgia stands out from other states in its lack of protection for LGBTQ people of all ages. Youth involved in the child welfare system are no exception. The guide recommends legislative changes that would provide protections for LGBTQ youth.


For a hard copy of the guide, please send a request to