Florida Moves To Protect LGBTQ Youth

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Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith

In the aftermath of one the worst mass killings in U.S. history, Florida is taking the necessary steps to care for a vulnerable group of people.

Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Children and Families updated regulatory language to ensure youth that identify as LGBTQ receive the proper protections.

“We are grateful to Secretary Carroll for his commitment to ensuring LGBTQ youth are properly protected,” said Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith, in a news release.

Equality Florida, the news release states, joined with child welfare experts and other state agencies to urge DCF Secretary Mike Carroll to restore state level protections for LGBTQ youth in group homes.

“These rule changes are common sense,” Smith continued, saying the updated regulations “reflect tested, best practices and confront the reality that LGBTQ youth disproportionately face discrimination, bullying and psychological abuse. It is impossible to ignore the painful existence of homophobia and bigotry in our state, and we thank the Department of Children and Families for taking this important step towards protecting all youth in their care.”

In Smith’s lengthy statement, issued July 5, the Equality Florida head said her organization is joining with other child welfare advocates in calling for a system wide ban on state sanctioned youth “conversion therapy” programs.