Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced legislation on Tuesday for the first-time ever that seeks to protect LGBT kids from child abuse.
The Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act seeks to prevent the mistreatment of LGBT youth. According to 2011 analysis from the National Institutes for Health, LGBT youth are 3.8 times to face sexual abuse and 1.2 times more likely to face parental physical abuse.
The Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act would amend the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act to accomplish four goals:
· Direct the Secretary of Health & Human Services to conduct research to protect LGBTQ youth from child abuse and neglect and to improve the well-being of victims;
· Expand demographic information collected to include sexual orientation and gender identity when reporting on incidences and prevalence of child maltreatment;
· Open grant funding opportunities for the training of personnel in best practices to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ youth;
· And include individuals experienced in working with LGBTQ youth and families in state task forces.
Co-sponsoring the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act is Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the first out lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate.
Kaine introduced the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act on the same day he introduced the Child Welfare Workforce Support Act, which seeks to address high turnover rates among child welfare workers. The bill would direct the Department of Health & Human Services to conduct a five-year pilot program on finding the best practices for recruitment and retention.
“Abuse has devastating impacts on children’s lives, and more resources are needed to both prevent maltreatment and help those recovering from trauma,” Kaine said in a statement. “With high turnover rates among staff, America’s child welfare system often lacks workers needed to care for at-risk youth. By strengthening the child welfare workforce and specifically addressing the higher rates of abuse among LGBTQ children, these bills would help ensure that our child welfare system better supports vulnerable kids.”