This Administrative Directive advises New York State local departments of social services (LDSSs) and voluntary authorized agencies (VAs)—agencies authorized to operate, manage, supervise, or own group homes or other such child care institutions—of regulations prohibiting discrimination by LDSS and VA staff, volunteers, and certified or approved foster parents. They protect the rights of various groups and individuals who may interact with LDSSs and VAs, including foster parents and foster children, youth in runaway and homeless youth programs, and youth in detention.
The regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of, among other things, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability. Specifically, they require enactment of specific nondiscrimination and harassment policies and procedures to ensure LDSSs and VAs:
• Promote and maintain a safe environment;
• Take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment against youth by other youth;
• Promptly investigate incidents of discrimination and harassment by staff, volunteers, and youth; and
• Take reasonable and appropriate corrective or disciplinary action when such incidents occur.