LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care: Why it Matters
All youth in the foster care system are faced with difficult circumstances and obstacles to overcome. These challenges are amplified when the youth identifies as LGBTQ. Often times, acceptance and supports are lacking.
There are many factors that contribute to the LGBTQ foster youth struggle. During National Foster Care Month, FosterClub encourages everyone – not just members of the foster care community – to acknowledge efforts that provide LGBTQ foster youth with safe homes and support networks.
Many LGBTQ youth face neglect or abuse from their families of origin because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Over 30% of LGBTQ youth reported suffering physical violence at the hands of a family member after coming out according to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Youth in the Margins report.*
The Urban Justice Center's Justice for All report found that 78% of LGBTQ youth were removed or ran away from their foster placements as a result of hostility toward their sexual orientation or gender identity.*
LGBTQ foster youth are twice as likely to report poor treatment and more likely to live in group homes and to have more foster care placements, according to a 2014 Sexuality and Gender Minority Youth in Foster Care report by The Williams Institute.
On top of those statistics, some states' legislation prohibits or is trying to prohibit LGBTQ adults from adoption and fostering youth. They are not only treating LGBTQ adults unequally in the welfare system, but they are denying LGTBQ youth, whom are getting removed from placements because of their sexuality, the option to be fostered or adopted by LGBTQ adults - those who know exactly what they are going through.
“Who will really bear the brunt of this are the kids who might be matched with a family who perfectly suits them and by all professional child welfare standards is a good home,” said Michelle Richardson, public policy director for the ACLU of Florida. - except from 'The terrible message Florida is sending to LGBT foster care youth' by Jorge Rivas, fusion.net, April 15th, 2015. Read the full article, click here.
*More information and statistics about LGBTQ youth in foster care can be found at the National Resource Center for Youth Development website.
"All young people, regardless of what they look like, which religion they follow, who they love, or the gender they identify with, deserve the chance to dream and grow in a loving, permanent home." - excerpt from the 2015 Presidential Proclamation for National Foster Care Month. Read the full proclamation here...
Want to learn even more about LGBTQ youth in foster care? Want to contribute to the discussion? Join FosterClub's group on LGBTQ issues at www.fosterclub.com/groups/lgbtq