Gender Pathway Services
Nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report
Education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.
Gender Pathways Services is a pediatric multidisciplinary approach to provide gender affirming care after a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is made by a licensed mental health provider (licensed counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist). This can be obtained from a community mental health provider or in very specific situations, from a psychologist at Children’s Mercy. For more information or questions call (816) 960-8844 and a list of community resources can be provided.
Gender Pathway Services at Children's Mercy provides interdisciplinary, family-centered services for transgender and gender-questioning children. Our services support the physical, mental and social health of young people and their families as they navigate the process of gender identity development.
As specialists in pediatric and adolescent development, we recognize that each person has a different "pathway," so we provide care that is unique to each family. Our goals are to keep families informed of their treatment options and to provide them with medical and emotional support, advocacy and community resources.
Our team of pediatric specialists cares for people with any gender variance. Our specialists work together to provide evidence-based care that is informed by the Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guidelines and Standards of Care proposed by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).
Who we serve
People who come to our clinic usually fall within one or more of the following groups:
- Gender questioning youth: Children and adolescents who are questioning their gender identities.
- Transgender, gender non-binary or gender-fluid youth: Children and adolescents whose gender identity is different from their assigned birth sex.
What to expect
After you contact Gender Pathway Services (GPS), an electronic GPS Clinic Intake survey will be sent to you by e-mail. This survey will allow you to share information about your child with the GPS team and allow us to guide you to the services you need.
Once a diagnosis is received from a licensed mental health provider, first appointments will typically be made with the GPS team, which includes multiple health care professionals that may include:
An endocrinologist is available to discuss puberty-blocking and gender affirming hormones (at appropriate ages), monitor effects and help patients navigate their gender-affirming journey. That physician may also recommend blood work or X-rays to screen for other health conditions that may influence medical therapy.
- Developmental and Behavioral Health
A Gender Pathway Services psychologist will provide a diagnostic evaluation and make treatment recommendations. Ongoing mental health is generally provided in the community, but psychologists are available to consult with community therapists as needed.
- Adolescent Medicine
An Adolescent Medicine Specialist will assist patients and families who desire assistance with psychiatric medications, menstrual suppression or other reproductive health needs. Adolescent Medicine is also available outside of Gender Pathway Services for patients and families who have questions about the gender transition process or need assistance connecting to community services, but do not currently want to start hormones or blockers.
A Board-Certified Chaplain will provide gender affirming support which facilitates spiritual wellbeing and the promotion of respectful and compassionate relationships. Resources are available to guide families in search of open and affirming communities of faith.
- Speech therapy
Gender-affirming voice coaching referrals are available at Children’s Mercy.
If you need to cancel your GPS appointment, please call (816) 960-8803. We appreciate you calling in advance if you need to cancel, so we can try to keep our waiting list for Gender Pathways Services appointments as short as possible. Thank you for your help and consideration.
Healthcare Equality Index
Children’s Mercy has earned “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation by receiving a top score of 100 on Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
HEI is the national LGBTQ benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities' policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of our LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.
For tips on how you can talk with your child about gender and sexual orientation, please read our Parent-ish articles below:
- 8 tips to support kids when talking about gender
- Tips for talking to your kids about sexual orientation
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