Illinois DCFS highlights affirming services for LGBTQ youth in care and staff during Pride Month

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CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reiterated their work to help LGBTQ staff and the youth and families served by the department.

“Pride Month is a time to celebrate our history of supporting pro-equality policies and practices at DCFS. It is also a time to recognize that we must do more. Our leadership team is deeply committed to ending the disparities LGBTQI+ youth in care experience and ensure that their civil rights are not an afterthought but central to ensuring their well-being,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith in a press release. “We are striving to be a fully welcoming and affirming agency where all of our youth, caregivers and staff feel safe and supported.”

Illinois DCFS partners with the Gender Development Program at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Howard Brown Behavioral Health Services in Chicago and the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to support the physical and mental health needs of youth in care who are transgender or gender non-conforming.

“Lurie Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive services to children and adolescents supporting their gender development, sexual identity and sexual health in a diverse and affirming care environment,” said Jennifer Leininger, M.Ed., associate director, community programs and initiatives at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “Our multidisciplinary and holistic patient-centered approach ensures that patients receive exemplary physical and mental healthcare as well as connections to community resources which are critical for successful positive youth development.”

“Howard Brown Health is excited to work more closely with Illinois DCFS to ensure that young people who need affirming and knowledgeable LGBTQI+ healthcare are able to receive it,” said Addis Green, TGNC youth hormone navigator, Howard Brown Behavioral Health Services.

To promote an inclusive, affirming workplace, the department launched the LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group in April 2020 as an avenue for LGBTQ staff statewide.

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