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Trump Administration Says It Won't Track LGBTQ Kids in Foster Care


Obama-era rule sought system-wide data to improve care for queer kids. But Trump officials say practice would be intrusive for children and burdensome for agencies.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department won't implement a new rule calling for data collection on LGBTQ foster children and parents, reports NBC News.

The rule, called for during the Obama administration, was intended to "to help meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in foster care." But after Donald Trump's election as president, HHS officials delayed implementation of the rule and called for feedback from states.

The department now recommends nixing the plan entirely.

Notably, the decision comes after many agencies raised privacy concerns.

"A third of the states expressed concerns with the data elements around sexual orientation and recommended they be removed. States commented that if this information is important to decisions affecting the child, the information will be in the case file," reads a HHS report.

"However, when it is not pertinent, states said that asking for sexual orientation may be perceived as intrusive and worrisome to those who have experienced trauma and discrimination as a result of gender identity or sexual orientation," the report continued.

Many workers expressed concerns that collecting the data would require social workers questioning LGBTQ youth about their identities when they were not yet ready to share that information with family.

But supporters of the rule said the data would be valuable. Relying on information to be provided only when deemed relevant in a case-by-case basis does not result in "reliable or consistent data" and "thus are ineffective at providing a national picture of children placed in out-of-home care."

"Identifying those youth and being able to capture the disparity between non-LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth helps states and tribes to understand what their experiences are and be able to devise implement and deploy best practices," Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at the Family Equality Council, told NBC.

Ultimately, HHS officials say they would rather streamline work and eliminate the data collection rule altogether.

"We must strongly weigh the desire for more information with the burden on those who are required to report it," the report states.

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