Yurok Tribe joins federal lawsuit over data on tribal, LGBTQ foster youth


The Yurok Tribe is one of more than half-a-dozen parties that sued the Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Children and Families on Thursday over Trump administration rollbacks of requirements the suit says work toward better placement and care for both American Indian children and youth in the foster care system who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The lawsuit centers around the elimination of a 2016 rule that mandated child welfare agencies report data about the tribal membership and affiliation of foster children; voluntarily disclosed data about the sexual orientation of foster youth and foster and adoptive parents; and collect data about how agencies identify, serve, and place the two underserved groups which are over-represented in the U.S. foster care system. The data collection mandates are in their infancy and have only begun to be adopted in California, and even less so nationwide, according to Yurok Tribal Court Chief Justice Abby Abinanti, who told the Times-Standard on Friday that the lawsuit aims to protect “essential” data collection techniques aimed at ensuring American Indian and LGBTQ+ youth in the foster system are better cared for and avoid falling through the system’s cracks into human trafficking and other perils disproportionally facing foster youth.

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