With recent blog posts from #FosterEquality focusing on the discrimination that LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care experience, you may find yourself asking, "How can my agency help improve the experience of LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care's experience?" Well, agency professionals and advocates, you've come to the right place! Below, you'll find suggestions on how to improve your agency's engagement with queer youth in care.
What can my (professionals + advocates) agency do?
→ Hold folks accountable by adopting and implementing written policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (see examples here.)
→ Encourage your agency to include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGIE) questions on intake forms--including pronouns and names (see examples of these questions here.)
→Provide mandatory LGBTQIA2S+ competency training to all agency employees and volunteers to ensure inclusivity and an affirming practice (for tips on what this looks like, click here.)
While this isn't an exhaustive list of ways to improve practice to help queer youth in care experience better outcomes while in the foster care system, it is a starting point! In the coming months, #FosterEquality will use our "Practice Improvement" blog posts and resources to share ways that you and your agency can improve the care that LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care receive. We look forward to supporting LGBQIA2S+ youth in care with you!
For more information on ways to improve practice to better serve LGBTQIA2S+ youth, visit Lamda Legal’s RECOMMENDED PRACTICES To Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living with HIV in Child Welfare Settings.