The City of New York's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) has released Safe & Respected, the first Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Best Practices Guide developed by a juvenile justice government agency. The guide covers current situations, policy, best practices, and practices to avoid across different issues for serving TGNC children involved in government programs and services. Included in the guide are also an overview of challenges TGNC youth face in Children's Services' care, a glossary of relevant terms, and a commitment to providing culturally competent care. The guide describes cultural competence as "an ability to interact and work effectively with people of different cultures, socio-economic experiences, and backgrounds."
The array of topics covered is quite comprehensive, positioned to improve, and holistic of being transgender. The guide addresses the medical and social aspects and also includes cultural competence assessments of both staff and foster homes, with a strong emphasis on not condoning and instead addressing others' disrespectful behaviors, and a reporting system and protocol for LGBTQ incidents of bias, harassment, and discrimination.
While the Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) points out that the guide still lacks specificity when it comes to sexual healthcare unrelated to medical transition services, timelines for processing requests for such medical services, and suggested steps when funding is unavailable, the guide is still an enormous step in the right direction.
ACS Commissioner, Gladys Carrion, said of the release:
Children's Services has made it a priority to improve the quality of services for transgender and gender non-conforming young people, and this resource offers very tangible steps on how to offer services that allow TGNC young people to thrive in environments where they can succeed.
The guide can be located on ACS' LGBTQ Web Portal, here.