May 1st, 2016 – In observance of National Foster Care Month during May, FosterClub and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's All Children - All Families (ACAF) project reactivate the #FosterEquality movement to appeal for the safety and equal care of LGBTQ foster youth. 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.
“My foster dad said that I couldn’t be gay in his house,” recalled Mark, a 2016 FosterClub Youth Ambassador and #FosterEquality spokesperson, who spent five years in California’s foster care system. During his time in foster care, Mark experienced verbal abuse, mistreatment and discrimination due to his sexual identity.
There are many factors that contribute to the LGBTQ foster youth struggle. Many face neglect or abuse from their families of origin because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, causing their entry in the child welfare system. What is more, nearly 80% of LGBTQ youth when placed in foster residences are then removed, like Tristan, or run away because of hostility toward their gender identity or sexual orientation, according to the Urban Justice Center’s Justice for All report. Additionally, many foster youth are unjustly denied placements in family settings if they openly identify as LGBTQ.
During National Foster Care Month, FosterClub and HRC ACAF encourages everyone – not just members of the foster care community - to support efforts to provide LGBTQ foster youth with safe homes and healthy support networks. The #FosterEquality campaign is designed to build awareness, educate community members and ultimately mobilize action for safe and equal care for LGBTQ foster youth.