From the Chronicle of Social Change: Why we need to collect data on LGBTQ youth in the U.S. foster system: opinion article
In the United States, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) collects demographic and other types of information on all youth who enter the foster care system. This practice allows the government and the public to track how well the system is meeting its ultimate goal — to place all children into stable and loving homes.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) made a final rule that would require child welfare departments to gather and report data related to the sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression of youth in the foster care system. This was an important addition to AFCARS, as research shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system and experience health and wellness disparities while in care.
In March 2018, however, HHS asked the public to comment on whether the new AFCARS data requirements, set to go into practice in 2019, should be maintained. It should. When we know the characteristics and experiences of youth coming in and out of the system, we can analyze whether there are gaps in care and whether there are certain groups experiencing disparities.