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How the Connecticut Department of Children & Families is failing a trans girl of color

Editor’s note: This is a guest contribution from Chase Strangio. Chase is a Staff Attorney with the LGBT & AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and the co-founder of the Lorena Borjas Community Fund.

Jessica* is a 16 year-old transgender girl. She has been in and out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems since early childhood, surviving unthinkable trauma and demonstrating resilience and strength. As a ward of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), DCF is her legal parent and guardian, responsible for her care and well-being. Jessica was also in the custody of the juvenile justice side of DCF following a delinquency adjudication; she has never been convicted of a crime or faced adult criminal charges in Connecticut. Despite this, DCF is acting directly contrary to federal law and transferring her into the adult prison system without any criminal charges or convictions. It has been 14 years since DCF last invoked this exceptional and legally questionable procedure to transfer a young person into the adult prison system without charges.

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