Affirm LGBT lifestyles, foster care workers ordered

By Diana Chandler - Posted at Baptist Press:
Illinois foster care workers are required to inform LGBT youth of legal rights of "self-determination" regarding gender identity and sexuality, the policy states, opening the door to legal recourse.
CHICAGO (BP) -- Foster care workers and families in Illinois must allow gay and transgender youth to express and explore their chosen gender identity and sexual orientation, according to a new state governmental directive.

Termination is among the penalties workers with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) would face for violating the policy, the DCFS said in its new rules added May 11 as Appendix K to the state foster care policy manual.

"Staff may not impose personal, organizational or religious beliefs on [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] children, youth and families, and in no way should personal beliefs impact the way individual needs of children/youth or families are met," the 17-page policy states in part. "DCFS staff can be disciplined for violating this policy up to and including discharge, per the Employee Handbook and CMS (Illinois Department of Central Management Services) Personnel Rules."

Foster care caseworkers and caregivers must use "an affirming approach" in facilitating a child's "exploration of any [LGBT] matters" and must be "open, non-judgmental, and empathic," the new rule stipulates.