This testimony was submitted on May 8, 2012 to the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) on its draft proposal for the implementation of the Close to Home legislation, which plans for the transition of youth placed in non-secure placement from the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) custody to ACS custody. A shortened version of the testimony was presented at a public hearing on May 7, 2012 by Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum, Program Director of the Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) Program, following a complementary testimony by Adrian Guzman of the Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP).
Dr. Birnbaum's written testimony is focuses on the medical care of transgender youth, and is based on significant experience treating transgender youth in ACS and OCFS custody as Program Director of HEAT, a multidisciplinary adolescent HIV/AIDS clinic in Brooklyn. His testimony also stresses the need for specific written standards on LGBTQ and HIV-related competence and supports the use of CHLP's Model Staff Training Standards: Focusing on the Needs of LGBTQ Youth in State Custody, which help youth facility staff understand and protect the health and well-being of all young people. The testimony also advises two minor amendments to ACS's Guidelines for Promoting a Safe and Respectable Environment for LGBTQ Youth and their Families Involved with DYFJ to promote cultural competence and sound medical care for transgender youth. .