LGBTQIA2S+ foster youth are more likely to age out of the foster care system than their heterosexual peers. Youth aging out of the system deserve to have help during this huge transition in their lives. This resource is part of a larger series on how to support older LGBTQIA2S+ as they transition into adulthood.
What do youth think is the best way to set up a LGBTQIA2S+ young person for success as they transition to adulthood?
In 2020, the National Foster Youth & Alumni Policy Council surveyed former foster youth across the country to gather their thoughts on how to best support foster youth if they age out of the system. One of their resulting priorities centered on transition plans and resources that should be available for youth who age out. Please see Part 1 of this series (Transitioning to Adulthood) for the first half of this priority. In regards to supporting older youth in care, the National Foster Youth & Alumni Policy Council suggests for child welfare professionals to:
- “Actively engage young people with their communities to exchange experiences and offer support and/or mentorship.”
- For queer youth in care, engaging in community LGBTQIA2S+ supports and groups is key for a successful transition and achieving positive permanency. To find community supports for queer foster youth, Lambda Legal’s state-by-state resource list is a great place to start.
- “Normalize conversations around adolescent milestones in a young person’s life.”
- LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care often face more obstacles to normalcy than their heterosexual peers due to experiences of discrimination, harassment, and rejection based on their SOGIE identity. Learn more about normalcy and queer youth in care here.
- It is imperative that child welfare staff and caregivers talk to all youth about various SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity). Open conversations about identity removes stigma that “otherizes” non-heteronormative identities, thus increasing safety and wellbeing for everyone. Here is a resource on how to speak about SOGI with youth.
- “Advocate for specific, periodic training of both social workers and agency/contracting employees to ensure full awareness of the available opportunities that help youth successfully transition.”
- In working with LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care, child welfare professionals need to understand the challenges queer youth face in care.
- This resource provides mental health professionals with best practices in serving queer youth in care.
For more information on how to support older LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care, visit the other parts of this series!
- Part 1: Transition Plannning with Older LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care
- Part 3: Policy Corner: Understanding Family First Act's Impact on LGBTQIA2S+ Older Youth in Foster Care
- Part 4: Practice Improvement: Supporting Transition Planning
Here are some additional resources for professionals and caregivers for queer foster youth: