Advocating for a Non-Discrimination Provision in RI Children’s Bill of Rights
GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Vickie Henry submitted testimony in Rhode Island today for a hearing on a bill to add a non-discrimination provision to the state’s Children’s Bill of Rights.
From her testimony:
The Children’s Bill of Rights enumerates the specific rights of children in the custody and/or care of the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF). To help ensure that the rights of children in DCYF care are respected, a copy of the Children’s Bill of Rights must be posted in a conspicuous place in all secure facilities and/or residential placement facilities.
The Children’s Bill of Rights is remarkable for the absence of a non-discrimination provision. What a message that omission sends.
This bill will make explicit what we hope is policy now: the right of youth to be free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, socioeconomic status or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more such characteristics.
Henry makes two key points in her testimony submitted on behalf of GLAD:
1) LBGTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the out-of home and juvenile justice populations and 2) Assuring youth unequivocally that DCYF will treat them without discrimination will improve the lives of DCYF-involved youth.