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Changing the World for LGBTQ Youth by Transforming the Juvenile Justice & Foster Care Systems


CCYJ’s eQuality Project is the first statewide effort to help LGBTQ youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system find safety and support for the unique issues they face.

LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in these systems – and before they even reach them, they all too often confront rejection by their families, harassment by their peers, and abuse and neglect by the adults who are supposed to protect them. The prejudices and problems LGBTQ youth face are all the more crushing as the systems designed to safeguard them further traumatize them instead.

CCYJ launched eQuality in 2013 as a multi-phase project aimed at creating lasting systems reform and pathways to healthy stable adulthood for LGBTQ youth. These youth deserve to be safe and supported. They deserve laws, policies, and practices that will eliminate and prevent further trauma solely because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. eQuality will make that happen.

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eQuality Phase I (Complete):

In Phase I, we gathered first-hand accounts from LGBTQ system alumni, collected the observations of systems professionals and community-based service providers about their experiences working with LGBTQ youth, and conducted extensive reviews of existing research, laws, policies, and practices – we listened to over 500 individual voices.

The stories that were shared culminated in a report, Listening to Their Voices: Enhancing Successful Outcomes for LGBTQ Youth in Washington State’s Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems.

Read a brief overview of the eQuality research findings and recommendations in Listening to Their Voices: the Executive Summary.

Read our full report summarizing the eQuality research findings and recommendations, Listening to Their Voices: Enhancing Successful Outcomes for LGBTQ Youth in Washington State’s Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice Systems.

eQuality Phase II (Currently In Progress):

Based on the findings and recommendations in Listening to Their Voices, eQuality has developed a Protocol for Safe and Affirming Care (PSAC) to guide youth-serving professionals in the foster care and juvenile justice systems to better identify, engage, and serve LGBTQ youth while simultaneously collecting data on their needs, experiences, and outcomes.  The Protocol will be piloted this year.

Phase II is a 2-year project, funded in part by a generous grant from the Raikes Foundation, as well as support from the Pride Foundation, Seattle Goodwill, QLaw, and numerous individuals.

Click here to read the Protocol for Safe & Affirming Care.