First, let’s explore what SOGIE means. SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.
Sexual Orientation: who a person is attracted to
Gender Identity: how a person sees themself
Gender Expression: how a person presents themself to others, often within the spectrum of femininity and masculinity
#FosterEquality is standing up for queer youth by advocating for policy and practice improvement for LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care. In order to improve the experience of queer youth in care, child welfare stakeholders need SOGIE data to help paint a picture of who is in care and what they are experiencing. However, federal child welfare policy does not require states to collect this data. How can we convince policymakers to improve the experience of LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care if we don’t have data to support our case?
So why does it matter? Collection of SOGIE data is critical to understanding the queer experience in foster care. It shines a light on the disparate outcomes experienced by LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care, and provides evidence for the need to implement policies and practices to improve those outcomes. Further, many foster youth report losing their identity when entering into care*. Asking about and acknowledging a young person’s identity through SOGIE data collection can help prevent such a loss.
Further, while collecting SOGIE data, it is critical to ensure a young person’s safety, well-being and stability are not compromised due to the sharing of this information. This is especially important as there are clear discriminatory actions taken by states, agencies and jurisdictions against LGBTQIA2S+ youth and families.
Keep an eye out for further #FosterEquality work on SOGIE data collection in 2023! Until then, learn more about and join in on our advocacy to improve SOGIE data collection in foster care: