For LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care, acceptance from foster care providers and professionals improves their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as protects them against risky behaviors such as substance misuse. Experiencing identity rejection can diminish a queer foster youth’s sense of self worth, self-esteem, and belonging.
Here are a few tips from LGBTQIA2S+ individuals with lived experience in foster care on how foster parents and providers can best affirm queer foster youth.
“My social workers let me know they were LGBTQ+ allies. So that helped me trust in them to tell them I am transgender.” – former foster youth from California
- Telling queer foster youth that you are an ally, that you respect all SOGIE identities, and that you will accept them for who they are will help them feel safe to trust you.
"My local agency is very open minded and very understanding. They told me it was ok and that I shouldn't feel bad or embarrassed for being who I am.” -- former foster youth from Texas
- Normalize LGBTQIA2S+ identities by being open-minded, respectful, and compassionate. All youth deserve care, regardless of their SOGIE identity.
“There was acceptance, free of judgment. Every one of the adults that has helped me in foster care has always told me to be [the] whole I wanna be. To live life for me and not for others. They have all been helpful both in support and resources.” – former foster youth from California
- Unconditional love and support can go a long way for any foster youth, not just those who are LGBTQIA2S+.
Respect, compassion, authenticity, and unconditional support are all ways that foster parents and providers can accept and affirm LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care. #FosterEquality’s next blogs will feature information and resources for child welfare agencies and professionals about best practices and policies to support gender affirming care for LGBTQIA2S+ youth!