At an April 23, 2013 public hearing in Lower Manhattan, Adrian Guzman of The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) presented testimony on the need for written policies and standards on sexual health services to guide the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Close to Home Draft Plan on Limited Secure Placement. The hearings, held on April 9, 10, 16, 18, and 23, allowed for public comments on ACS's implementation of Phase II of its Close to Home legislation, which plans for the placement of youth involved in juvenile justice in limited secure settings in or around New York City.
Guzman, who heads up CHLP's Teen SENSE initiative, pointed out that the policy does not explicitly plan for the provision of sexual health services for young people in care. General medical services are only briefly discussed and contain no mention of sexual health care at intake or in individual treatment plans. Nor does the Draft Plan discuss the provision of appropriate sexual health information and referrals in its sections on education and case management. Guzman recommended that ACS adopt and implement the Teen SENSE Model Policy and Standards on sexual health care to supplement the Draft Plan's Medical and Mental Health Care for Youth and Treatment Planning and Oversight of Treatment sections. He also recommended that the Model Policy and Standards on sexual health education supplement the Treatment Planning and Oversight of Treatment and Education While in Placement sections.
Guzman also offered the Teen SENSE Model Policy and Standards on staff training to help develop ACS's family planning and sexual health training module. CHLP is one of several members of the ACS Training Academy's LGBTQ Task Force, which is currently reviewing ACS's LGBTQ-specific training module.
Lastly, Guzman recommended that ACS include in the Draft Plan's quality assurance mechanisms indicators of access to and quality of comprehensive, LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health care services, sexual health education programs, and staff cultural competence to meet the standards set forth in Teen SENSE Model Policies and Standards.
CHLP submitted a more detailed version of Guzman's testimony in writing following the April 23 hearing.