Today, Representatives Donna Shalala (FL-27), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and members of the LGBT Equality Caucus, introduced the House version of the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act. This bill prevents the maltreatment of LGBTQ youth and improves outcomes for LGBTQ kids who enter the child welfare system.
“LGBTQ youth are almost four times more likely to experience childhood sexual abuse, and 20 percent more likely to experience physical abuse from a parent or guardian, than their heterosexual peers. It is imperative that we work to reverse the status quo that has left young Americans without the proper care and attention that they deserve,” said Rep. Shalala. “As a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, I was proud to pass the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act unanimously out of the committee. This CAPTA Reauthorization is a bold, bipartisan response to combat the rising rates of child maltreatment. However, more needs to be done to protect LGBTQ youth from abuse and neglect.”
“The trauma from abuse can carry long into adulthood, and we must do better to address the disproportionately high rates of abuse faced by LGBTQ children,” said Rep. Pappas. “I am proud to help introduce legislation that takes critical steps to better understand how we can support LGBTQ youth and help survivors heal.”
“More needs to be done to address and prevent the abuse and neglect of LGBTQ youth,” said Rep. Panetta. “Our legislation will provide valuable evidence to develop prevention strategies, train child welfare professionals in best practices to protect vulnerable children, and help improve the well-being of survivors.”
Additionally, the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act expands demographic information collected to include sexual orientation and gender identity when reporting on incidences and prevalence of child maltreatment; includes sexual orientation and gender identity as demographic characteristics in a report compiled by the Secretary; and provides open grant funding opportunities for the training of personnel in best practices to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.
Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) previously introduced a Senate version.
Text of the bill can be read HERE.