142 The whole child, not simply the facets of the child’s life that are easily
addressed, is entitled to reasonable efforts toward reunification and to timely permanency.
To avoid removal and promote reunification when possible, and to ensure appropriate
placement and permanency when it is not possible, advocates for LGBTQ children and youth
have a professional obligation to ensure that a broad constellation of services is provided to meet
the needs of these children. This could include training attorneys and guardians ad litem about
the needs of LGBTQ children and youth,
143 including how the needs of those children and youth
may vary based on other attributes of their identity. Caseworkers and service providers must be
appropriately trained and resourced to respond to the needs of LGBTQ children and youth in
144 Courts must be aware of these issues, both generally and how they relate to individual
cases, such as how they may occur in the context of a “reasonable efforts” finding. Advocates
must become aware of community resources available to LGBTQ children and youth? If there
are none, what is being done to fill that gap? Are those community resources aware of the needs
that LGBTQ children and youth require in state care? Are they aware of the differing needs
arising from the intersection between sexual orientation and gender identity with sex and gender,
race, class, and disability? If not, what is being done to build that awareness and capacity? There
is a rich and emerging array of resources to guide courts, agencies, advocates, families, and
children and youth in answering these questions and providing these supports.
The following four examples illustrate the need for the preceding assertions and
questions. They show the mission-critical nature of considering intersections and providing
reasoned responses to lived experiences. First, an LGBTQ child with a physical disability is
placed in a family foster home that is physically accessible; however, the family foster home
does not have the resources to address the needs arising from the child’s sexual orientation or
gender identity. Second, an LGBTQ child is set to be placed in an adoptive home of the child’s
same race based on the child’s close identification with her heritage;
146 however, the prospective
adoptive family holds heterosexist views. Third, a gay youth is battered by his boyfriend;
however, local resources for targets of intimate partner violence, including teen dating
147 are only available to women. Fourth, a social worker seeks services for an LGBTQ
youth in poverty from an LGBTQ community center; however, all of the services focus on the
needs and interests of LGBTQ youth of affluence.
142 Lund & Renne, supra note 118, at 297–98, 307–08 (discussing the “reasonable efforts” requirements);
Vandervort, supra note 8, at 206–10 (discussing “reasonable efforts” requirements). See CHILD WELFARE INFO.
GATE WAY, U. S. DEP’ T OF HEALTH & HUM. SERVS., REASONABLE EFFOR TS TO PRESERVE OR REUNIF Y FAMILIES AND
ACHIEVE PERMANENCY FOR CHILDREN (2012), https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/reunify.pdf (compiling state
“reasonable efforts” laws).
143 GETTING DOWN TO BASICS, supra note 1, at 15–17.
145 See generally CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, supra note 2 (discussing resources to support LGBTQ
children in care); GETTING DOWN TO BASICS, supra note 1 (discussing resources to support LGBTQ children in
146 Cf. Vandervort, supra note 8, at 211–16 (discussing the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, and summarizing the
controversies surrounding race and adoption/placement). See also Frank E. Vandervort, The Indian Child Welfare
Act, in CHILD WELFARE LAW AND PRACTICE: REPRESENTING CHILDREN, PARENTS, AND STATE AGENCIES IN ABUSE,
NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY CASES 257 (Donald N. Duquette & Ann M. Haralambie eds., 2d ed. 2010).
147 See, e.g., Thomas A. Mayes, Students with No-Contact Orders Against Abusive Classmates: Recommendations
for Educators, PREVENTING SCH. FAILURE, Summer 2008, at 37 (discussing teen dating violence).