Trans Lifeline Library:

Family Safety:

What is a Safe Folder?

For Parents of Trans Youth

Family Safety


What is a Safe Folder?


A safe folder is a collection of proof that your child has persistently expressed a gender non-conforming identity, that they’re receiving adequate medical care, and that you’re supporting your child (not abusing or forcing them into changing their gender).

Unfortunately, some people make false allegations of abuse against families who support their trans/GNC child for a variety of reasons, including custody disputes. It’s important to make sure that your family knows what to expect, who to contact, and how to handle an investigator that shows up at home/school.

You can start building a safe folder as soon as you think that your child might express a different gender than what they were assigned.Early safe folder entries can be as simple as a running journal of things your child has expressed to you, or the preferences they’re showing towards traditionally or stereotypically gendered items/play/dress. The goal is not to over-analyze normal childhood play and learning, but to simply keep a record of little moments that help show that your child’s gender expression didn’t just pop up overnight.

Always keep the original and a digital copy of your safe folder for yourself. If you ever need to furnish these documents during an investigation, send out copies. There’s no guarantee that you’ll always get your documents back once they’re out of your possession, and some materials may be harder to replace than others.


How To Create a “Safe Folder” for Your Transgender Child

“Safe Folders” For Transgender Children: What to Know

“If A CPS Investigator Comes To Talk To You At School” Card for Trans Kids

Tips For Writing A Letter Of Support For A Trans & Gender Expansive Child

NCLR–Parenting a Transgender or Gender-Expansive Child: How to Protect Your Family Against False Allegations of Child Abuse (PDF)

Lambda Legal Helpdesk–Legal Counsel, Helps With Discriminatory CPS Investigations

Southern Equality–Southern Trans Youth Emergency Campaign


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