New Alberta LGBTQ2S Youth Housing and Shelter Guidelines 2017

LGBTQ2S-Youth-Housing-And-Shelter-Guidelines developed by the LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness Working Group

Led by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, this group consists of representatives from community agencies from across Alberta, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, Children’s Services and Status of Women. As a commitment to the LGBTQ2S children and youth that we serve in Children’s Services, these guidelines have been accepted to serve as an initial ministry-wide support for our current practice. Nearly one in three homeless youth in Canada identify as LGBTQ2S. This population faces a higher risk of discrimination, violence and abuse in the shelter system than their non-LGBTQ2S counterparts. They are also at a higher risk of mental health concerns, self-harm and suicide than the general population. Research also shows that without acknowledgement or awareness of LGBTQ2S youth and their identities, front-line staff cannot respond appropriately to the needs of these youth effectively, which can result in further marginalization. The LGBTQ2S Youth Housing and Shelter Guidelines are meant to provide information to help individuals and organizations best meet the needs of LGBTQ2S homeless youth. The Guidelines are not standards or regulations, rather they are meant to support workers and organizations providing supports and services to LGBTQ2S young people. They are also meant to be a starting point for the larger discussion on how we are serving LGBTQ2S youth. Children’s Services intends to use these guidelines to inform continuous improvement to policy, practice and program development in the future. The Guidelines are a result of the evidence-based research completed on LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and the combined expertise of the members of the LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness Working Group. I encourage you to use the best practices found within the Guidelines to ensure we are providing safe, inclusive and affirming supports for LGBTQ2S youth.

Kim Spicer, MPA, RSW
Senior Manager
Child Intervention Outcomes, Policy  and Practice Support
Policy, Practice and Program Development Branch
Child Intervention Division

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