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New study says Illinois DCFS needs to do more for LGBTQ youth

CHICAGO — The ACLU of Illinois said on Tuesday that a new report by Children & Family Research Center shows the state Department of Children and Family Services needs to do more for LGBTQ youth in its care.

The study, the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study, was released in June.

The study stated that 21.8% of the youth age 12 to 17 who were interviewed reported an LGBTQ sexual orientation. Despite the small size of this group, LGBTQ youths were significantly more likely to score high on self-report measures of negative mood, bodily concerns, and thought problems, more likely to report often or always hating going to school, and more likely to report having been beat up by an adult at home at some point in their life. 

“We have been anxiously awaiting this report as this was the first time questions concerning sexual orientation and gender identity were added to this important statewide survey,” the ACLU said in a statement. “The ACLU of Illinois worked hard to ensure these questions were included in order to more fully understand the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ youth in state care.”

The organization said that DCFS had updated its LGBTQ policy in Appendix K to Procedures 302 to strengthen anti-discrimination measures, but it is unsure if the the policy is being followed or how.

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