Policy and Procedures

Learning Objectives–At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  1. review existing policies and procedures through a LGBTQ2S lens to identify required revisions in order to be LGBTQ2S inclusive.
  2. develop new policies and procedures that are LGBTQ2S inclusive.

Policies set the standards of our organizations. In our youth focus groups, participants were adamant that needed need service providers to have clear policy and procedures on diversity. They also want us to have policies that  make it clear that we will not tolerate discrimination by staff, volunteers or youth on any grounds. Youth believe that such policies enable staff to act on incidents of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Does your organization have a plan in place to review your policy and procedures periodically to ensure they reflect the current context of your organization?

If yes, fantastic. In your next review consider your policy and procedures from a LGBTQ2S lens. If no, it is okay. There is still the opportunity to do so. You will need to determine a format that works for your organization. It would be great to convene a working group/task force to undertake the work that includes managers and staff.

You may want to ask LGBTQ2S youth to participate in the review, as they have first hand experience of using your space and programs with the current policy and procedures. To create this space for youth, we need to be willing to hear and act on what young people tell us. It is possible that the feedback we receive may be hard to hear. But it is necessary to make this space to be authentic in our efforts to create safe enough spaces.

As part of your review process, you may want to consider the policy and procedures shared in the Policy and Procedures module. These are examples of policy and procedures shared by youth serving organizations.

It is vital that youth who access your programs and services are aware of organizational policy and procedures that pertain to them and their time in your space. Youth probably don’t care what the on-call manager policy and procedure is. But they do care about what your organization’s inclusivity/diversity policy is. And as they told us in the focus groups they want to know what the complaint process is.

<blockquote>Have a clearly defined policy and process for violations that is posted in common areas of the space (youth in one of the four focus groups).</blockquote>

Youth told us that staff need to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic comments in the moment they occur. Ignoring these comments tells LGBTQ2S youth that the space is not truly inclusive and not safe enough. This will hinder all the hard work that staff and management have done with youth to create a safe enough space (Perry, 2014). While the goal is not to discharge youth into homelessness, there are situations in which discharge (exiting) youth from a shelter program is necessary. To take such actions must be a last resort. Striving to ensure the safety of the larger group needs to take priority.

The NYC Administration for Children’s Servicess “Safe & Respected: Policy, Best Practices & Guidance for Serving Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Children and Youth Involved in the Child Welfare, Detention, and Juvenile Justice Systems” is a great resource to learn how to better support trans* and gender non-conforming youth. The guide shares a number of great policies to accomplish this goal. Please take a few moments and review the guide to aid in your work of being LGBTQ2S inclusive.

Sources:

National Alliance to End Homelessness. (n.d.). National Recommended Best Practices for Serving LGBT Homeless Youth. Retrieved February 27, 2015, from http://www.f2f.ca.gov/res/pdf/NationalRecommended.pdf

Perry, J.R. & Green, E.R. (2014). Safe & Respected: Policy, Best Practices & Guidance for Serving Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Children and Youth Involved in the Child Welfare, Detention, and Juvenile Justice Systems. New York City, NY: New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services.

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