The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), which oversees the care of placement of some of the state's most vulnerable children, has implemented sweeping mandates to promote the "well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) children and youth in the department's care," according to new agency guidelines.
The policies, announced earlier this month, not only dictate that DCFS staff and volunteers embrace the guidelines, but "will not tolerate exposing LGBTQ children and youth to staff/providers who are not supportive of children and youths' right to self-determination of sexual/gender identity," The Federalist reported Tuesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union helped the DCFS design the policy that will affect not only children, staff and volunteers, but also applies to foster families, caseworkers, and even private contractors and their employees that work with the state agency.
DCFS staff and volunteers must pass an "ideological test" to ensure they are "LGBTQ-affirming" and must not share their own personal opinions about the subject.
They must "[p]rovide supportive and affirming care regardless of one's personal attitudes, beliefs, preconceptions and/or judgments, if any, surrounding matters of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression," as stated in the guidelines. The state also will provide for re-education for those who don't readily adhere to the policy.
Staff who fail to comply with the new policies will be "disciplined" and risk "discharge" if their "personal beliefs impact the way individual needs of children/youth or families are met."
Each child in the system will be given "LGBTQ appropriate" resources and education on sexual health. The rules require caseworkers to contact agency director George Sheldon "immediately" about sexual issues regarding any child in the system "whenever questions or concerns surrounding a child or youth's sexual orientation or gender identity arises, even if the child does not identify as LGBTQ."
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