Policies and Laws Regarding the LGBTQ Community

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OCFS Policies

LGBTQ Sexual Orientation Series Booklet
From Youth in Progress' "Need to Know" series for youth in care.
Health Services for Children in Foster Care
This PDF specifies the needs of, and services that should be provided to, LGBT children and youth in foster care. (Please see pages 13 to 16.)
NYS OCFS Administrative Directive, Recognition of Legal Same-Sex Marriages
Informs local districts, voluntary agencies and other providers of the implications of the Supreme Court decision that legally-performed same-sex marriages are "entitled to recognition in New York in the absence of express legislation to the contrary" (Martinez, 50 A.D.3d at 193).This includes, among other items, extension of benefits by Civil Service to eligible NY employees' spouses, rewording of forms, the need for adoption statutes to include gender non-specific wording such as spouse or couples rather than husband or wife, and certification and approval of interested same-sex couples as foster parents.
NYC OCFS Informational Letter: Promoting a Safe and Respectful Environment
For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Children and Youth in Out-of-Home Placement.
NYS OCFS Informational Letter: Adoption by Two Unmarried Adult Intimate Partners
This states that regardless of sexual orientation, two unmarried adults in a committed relationship may adopt another person, subject to the laws and policies that govern all adoptive relationships.
NYS OCFS Informational Letter: Clarification of Adoption Study Criteria Related to Length of Marriage and Sexual Orientation
The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to provide clarification to local departments of social services (LDSS) and voluntary authorized agencies regarding 18 NYCRR 421.16 (e) and (h) in relation to length of marriage and sexual orientation as adoption study criteria.
NYS OCFS Informational Letter: Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Act and Building Competent Communities for Youth Suicide Prevention.

OCFS Regulations

New York State Laws

The Dignity for All Students Act
Seeks to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.
The Marriage Equality Act
Allows for same-sex marriage in New York State.
Ban on Conversion Therapy in New York State
Designates as professional misconduct, engaging in sexual orientation change efforts by mental health care professionals upon patients under 18 years of age.
Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA)
Offers protection for LGB persons from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, education and public accommodation based on real or perceived sexual orientation.
Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)
Offers protection for transgender, gender nonconforming and nonbinary persons from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, education and public accommodation based on real or perceived gender identity or expression.
Spousal Eligibility - Revised New York State Health Insurance Program Policy
NYS employees can elect coverage for a legally married spouse, regardless of the sexual orientations of the couple.

Federal Laws

Administration for Children and Families (ACF): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Foster Care
Every child and youth who is unable to live with his or her parents is entitled to a safe, loving and affirming foster care placement, irrespective of the young person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression
Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009
Provides funding and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to help them to more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
United States v. Windsor
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013. Same-sex couples legally married in New York State and elsewhere deserve the same rights and benefits under federal law as all other married couples.