Gender Pathway Services at Children’s Mercy provides interdisciplinary, family-centered services for transgender, gender-variant, and gender-questioning children. Our services are aimed at supporting the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families as they navigate the process of gender identity development.
As specialists in pediatric and adolescent development, we recognize that each patient has a different “pathway,” so we provide care that is unique to each family. Our goal is to keep families informed of their treatment options, providing them with medical and emotional support, advocacy, and community resources.
Patients who come to our clinic to usually fall within one or more of the following groups:
- Gender non-conforming youth: Children and adolescents who exhibit behavior that is not typical of their assigned birth sex.
- Gender questioning youth: Children and adolescents who are questioning their gender identities (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I wonder if I’m really a boy?”).
- Transgender and gender-fluid youth: Children and adolescents who identify as a gender identity different from their assigned birth sex (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I am really a boy.”).
Our experienced social work team is one of the first points of contact at the Gender Pathway Services clinic providing support and advocacy for our patients and families as well as consultation and education for community partners, local school systems and other allies.
A Gender Pathway Services psychologist is available to provide a diagnostic evaluation and to make treatment recommendations. Gender Pathway Services patients are seen at least once a year by the multi-disciplinary treatment team, which includes professionals from social work, psychology, adolescent medicine, endocrinology and chaplaincy and hearing and speech, if needed. Ongoing mental health support is generally provided in the community, but psychologists are available to consult with community therapists as needed.
An endocrinologist will recommend blood work to look for biologic changes that may contribute to feelings of transgender and treat those if needed. They are also available to discuss puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormones at appropriate ages, monitor their effects, and help guide patients who desire gender confirmation surgery to appropriate surgeons.