Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Keeping LGBTQ Youth Safe in Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Placements

“Many young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ) and in the custody of juvenile justice and delinquency systems are unsafe in their placements and are not receiving appropriate services. Professionals working within these systems must ensure that LGBTQ young people are protected from harm and supported in their development” (p. 1). This publication provides a brief, but very good, explanation of how people working with LGBTQ youth should treat them. Professionals need to: acknowledge their existence; understand the factors contributing to disproportionate numbers of LGBTQ youth in the systems; adopt policies to improve the quality of care provided to LGBTQ youth; seek alternatives to detention of LGBTQ youth; seek out safe, affirming placements; protect the right of LGBTQ youth to safety; ensure freedom from unreasonably restrictive conditions of confinement; provide appropriate services; protect LGBTQ youth from sexual abuse; don’t assume LGBTQ youth are potential sex offenders; provide a sound classification system; and never unnecessarily isolate LGBTQ youth from the general population.