TNOYS stands with trans and gender non-conforming youth as we respond to the recent letter to DFPS to have gender- affirming care investigated as child abuse. At a time when Texas is grappling with an acute foster care capacity crisis, this letter can only exacerbate the very real problems facing the system.
In addition to being overrepresented in foster care, transgender youth are more likely to experience homelessness and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth (CSEY) – dangerous outcomes that occur when youth are unsupported. We have heard time and again that youth run away from placements in foster care when they do not feel safe or respected. This recommendation will only make youth feel the need to run away, putting them in danger and creating costly consequences for providers and the system.
While the letter is non-binding, trans youth need to know they are safe and being well cared for by providers. TNOYS will continue to work with providers, legislators, and state leadership to prevent youth from running away. We are monitoring the implications that the recommendation will have for young people, our member network, and the capacity crisis that continues to plague our state.
TNOYS offers training for providers on preventing runaways from residential facilities, supporting systems-involved LGBTQ+ youth, and identification of CSEY. To learn more about the services provided by TNOYS or our member organizations, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.