LGBTQ youth in foster care: litigated reform of New Jersey’s child welfare system

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Institutional heteronormativity is endemic across the U.S. state foster care system. The study purpose was to explore New Jersey’s child welfare agency in the context of policy changes during litigated reform that diminished the influence of institutional heteronormativity contributing to inadequate care of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) foster youth. LGBTQ-related policy-based reforms identified through document analysis included: (a) leveraging the authority of state sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) based anti-discrimination legislation; (b) establishing a Safe Space Initiative program; and (c) integrating SOGIE-based anti-discrimination policy and procedural changes to LGBTQ youth case practice, management, service provision, and placement decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-253
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Public Child Welfare
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Mar 2020


  • child welfare
  • foster care
  • heteronormativity
  • litigated reform


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