Friday, July 01, 2022

Mountaineers Aging with Pride: WV Grandparents of LGBTQ Youth

President Biden issued an executive order on June 15, 2022 that promotes LGBTQ+ equality policies. The executive order addresses discriminatory legislative attacks by charging HHS with expanding healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients, creating initiatives to raise awareness about “conversion therapy” and clarifies that it cannot be supported with federal funds, supporting LGBTQ+ children and families through eliminating discriminatory barriers in housing, education, caregiving, and juvenile justice, and other steps promoting equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

The executive order charges the Department of Health and Human Services to launch a new plan to partner with state child welfare agencies to improve outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth in other’s care, increase training for child welfare personnel on best practices for supporting LGBTQ+ youth, and other goals to promote LGBTQ+ youth development.

According to Bonnie Dunn, WV Grandfamilies’ Extension Specialist, West Virginia ranks second in the United States for the percentage of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren, number 1 is Arkansas. There are over 7,000 children in foster care in WV, more and more grandparents are having to step into the parenting role.

A strong bond with grandchildren is important, yet statistics show that older generations still have a harder time accepting LGBTQ+ families. But it's time to be a part of the change, and we at West Virginia Senior Legal Aid are part of that change as well. President Biden’s executive order is one step in a chain of events towards equality. However, there is still a long way to go. Any senior West Virginian age 60 or over can call us at 1-800-229-5068 to speak to a lawyer for free about legal issues with raising your grandchildren, LGBTQ+ discrimination, or any civil legal matter.

You can read more about President Biden’s executive order at the following link:

contributed by Katie McCausley, Public Interest Law Fellow at WVSLA.

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