There are many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and those questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBTQ) in foster care. These youth enter foster care more often than straight and gender-typical children, are placed into out-of-home care at higher rates, often have a more difficult time in care, and have poorer permanency outcomes. They also have extremely high risk factors for dropping out of school, resorting to drugs and alcohol, becoming homeless, or attempting suicide. These problems almost always come from the rejection and abuse these youth face.
Often, birth families reject these children because they cannot accept behaviors that cross gender or sexuality norms. There have been extreme cases of child maltreatment throughout the country in which the perpetrators have used statements like, “I was afraid he would turn out gay.” These young people need and deserve the same kind of love, acceptance, support, and advocacy as their straight peers. They need the freedom to grow and explore, to date, to attend youth groups, to dress in ways that feel validating and comfortable, and to know that they will be cared for.
Every child is a mystery. Just as we never know which child will be an artist or an athlete, we cannot predict who will come out as gay or transgender and who will fit neatly into gender norms. We are looking for foster parents who welcome the mystery of these children and who will nurture an LGBTQ youth with kindness and acceptance. Regardless of the foster parents’ sexual identity, any family can provide the love, support, and acceptance GLBTQ children need.
Community Based Resources for Caregivers of GLBTQ Youth
The mission of Families Like Ours is to overcome barriers for ALL families – traditional and non-traditional wishing to foster or adopt children of all ages and backgrounds. We achieve this through strong individual family and youth advocacy, a continuum of family support, community outreach and education. As an independent advocate for youth and families, we are able to overcome obstacles insuring that the right of a supportive permanent family is protected.
PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has over 350 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states.
Pride Foundation is a regional community foundation that inspires giving to expand opportunities and advance full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people across the Northwest. They invest in organizations, students, and leaders in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington—transforming individual acts of courage into a unified movement for change.
Published Resources for Caregivers of GLBTQ Youth
LGBTQ Support Groups
Meeting with LGBTQ caregivers or those who provide care to LGBTQ youth can also be another excellent source of support. In addition to support groups offered through organizations like PFLAG, Fostering Together is working on developing support groups in our community. For information on LGBTQ Support Groups in your area, please enter your zip code below. If there are no LGBTQ specific groups available in your area, please know that all Support Groups offered by Fostering Together are available to offer support to caregivers of children in care.
For online support, please join the Fostering Together LGBTQ Facebook Group.