In December, 2016, Florida Administrative Code (FAC) was amended to support and protect our LGBTQ+ youth in care, specifically those in group homes. We are only the 14th state to have anti-discrimination laws that protect youth based on sexual orientation AND gender identity. Some states have anti-discrimination laws for only sexual orientation; others have nothing in place for this population.
Sexual orientation: a person’s sexual, emotional or physical attraction to members of the same gender, different gender, or any gender. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and pansexual are examples.
Gender identity: a person’s perception of having a particular gender, or none at all. May or may not match the gender they were assigned at birth.
Transgender: a person whose gender identity is different than what is listed on their birth certificate.
Gender expression: the way people express their gender through mannerisms, behaviors, expressions, or physical appearance (clothing, hairstyle, etc.). Also may or may not match the gender they were assigned at birth
FAC changes pertinent to the LGBTQ population
65C-14.021 Discipline and Behavior Management
- Group Home staff cannot engage in discriminatory treatment or harassment based on gender expression or sexual orientation.
- Group Home staff cannot permit harassment or bullying of children by staff or other youth based on gender expression or sexual orientation.
65C-14.018 Individual Needs for Children in Care
- Group Home staff cannot restrict access to hygiene, grooming and personal care items based on the child’s gender identity or expression.
65C-14.040 Admission, Placement, and Ongoing Services
- For transgender youth, a decision will need to be made whether that child should be placed with their gender on the birth certificate, or their identified gender.
- Factors to include while making the decision: physical safety, emotional well-being, youth preference, and opinions of case manager, GAL, parent (if rights aren’t terminated) and therapist.
- Child placing agency must take into account the capacity of the placement to meet the child’s needs, and the needs of the other children already placed in that setting.
65C-14.023 Personnel and Staffing Requirements
- Direct child care staff must obtain training within their first full year of employment in the area of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
This information is ever-changing.