Because lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) youth are overrepresented in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, NCCD places special emphasis on researching the experiences of this population. Additionally, the majority of LGBT youth in the juvenile justice system are youth of color, supporting the exploration of how race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression intersect.
Dr. Angela Irvine, director of research at NCCD, is heading up two projects to address these issues: “Dispelling Myths Surrounding the Incarceration of LGBT Youth” and “Improving Permanency for LGBT Youth.” These projects will build upon Irvine’s earlier research, which was published in a 2010 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law article titled, “’We’ve Had Three of Them’: Addressing the Invisibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Gender Non-Conforming Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.”
The goal of the Dispelling Myths project is to obtain a deeper understanding of the experiences of LGBT youth involved with the juvenile justice system. This study will compare detention rates between LGBT and straight youth; examine the relationships among home, school, homelessness, and incarceration; and assess systems of support for LGBT youth.
The objective of Improving Permanency for LGBT Youth is to prevent the movement of LGBT youth in and out of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and to increase successful transitions for them when they leave those systems. The project will focus on developing strategies to promote reunification or connection of LGBT youth with their families and communities.