This document contains comments on proposed changes to the New Jersey Administrative Code regarding New Jersey's "Manual of Requirements," which outlines the requirements for foster homes, also called "resource families." The comments are limited to the provisions that implicate the rights of youth in state care to basic medical services, including sexual health and HIV education, autonomy and privacy in decision-making with respect to sexual health care, and physical and emotional safety and accommodation of basic needs, including consideration of factors related to individual identity (including race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation). The comments take issue with the proposed new Manual of Requirements' failure to address the sexual health and HIV prevention needs of youth, and the related right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth to supportive care and freedom from discrimination. They discuss the statistics regarding HIV in New Jersey and the need to address the needs of LGBTQ youth in state custody as part of addressing this public health problem.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), response to these comments can be viewed here. The DYFS declined to implement the changes advocated by Hyacinth Foundation and CHLP in this document but, in general, found that most of the rights that Hyacinth Foundation and CHLP advocated making explcit were implicit in the Manual of Requirements. The new Manual of Requirements was subsequently adopted and became effective in 2006, with an expiration of 2011.