Resources for Professionals

Skip to Content

Accessible Navigation and Information

Use the following links to quickly navigate around the page. The number for each is also the shortcut key. You can jump to:

You are on this page: Resources for Professionals

In New York, LGBTQ youth in out-of-home placement have the right to the same care and support as non-LGBTQ youth. New York’s LGBTQ foster resource families have the right to participate in the foster care system in the same fashion as a non-LGBTQ foster resource families. While the principles and expectations are the same, working with the LGBTQ community may require additional knowledge, access to resources, and a deeper understanding of the LGBTQ community, their history, and culture.

Note: External links are provided for the convenience of the user. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the Office of Children and Family Services, as noted in the disclaimer. When users click an external link and leave the OCFS website, they should be aware that they are subject to the privacy and security policies of the external site.

The LGBTQ ally flag

Working with LGBTQ youth and families is no different than working with any other population. In order to successfully work with LGBTQ youth and families, it is vital to understand the vocabulary of the LGBTQ community and the nuances of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). An understanding of the term SOGIE is an important lens through which to view this work. All people, not just LGBTQ people, have a sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. To learn more about the vocabulary used by the LGBTQ community, please visit the resources below:

The alternate LGBTQ ally flag

If you are looking for local resources, the following directories can help you identify your nearest LGBTQ Center, or LGBTQ-affirming service provider:

Resources Regarding Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Nonbinary Youth

The Office of Children and Family Services recognizes and supports the gender identity of all youth. It is critical to provide resources that are affirming and supportive, especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) youth. Within the LGBTQ+ community, transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary (TGNC) youth face increased risks for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It is important to better understand TGNC youth gender identity and expression, inform youth about protections they have against gender-identity discrimination, and to understand their needs and experiences related to gender transition.

The resources below introduce TGNC gender transition through videos, webinars and education on gender transition and pronoun usage, and information from TGNC health programming worldwide. Further learning for New York State employees about Gender Identity can be found on the Statewide Learning Management System under the title "Gender Identity Toolkit."

For LGBTQ foster youth, family reunification can be difficult if the family of origin is rejecting of their child’s LGBTQ identity. It is important to engage biological families, and to work with them to best support their child. The following report provides information and strategies from the Family Acceptance Project on how to best engage rejecting families of LGBTQ youth:

Understanding and celebrating the history of the LGBTQ Equality movement can be important for LGBTQ people to develop a connection to their community. June is traditionally celebrated as LGBTQ Pride Month, but celebrations of Pride happen in New York State year-round. To learn how to connect to such an event, or create your own, please download the LGBTQ Pride Celebration Toolkit below:

For LGBTQ people, visibly safe spaces are important for their physical and mental safety. OCFS has created its own “LGBTQ+ Friendly” image for you to download, print, and display if you would like:

OCFS LGBTQ+ Friendly Logo (download as PDF)