For this week’s blog posting, I want to bring attention to a report that was recently released by the UCLA’s Williams Institute. They received a federal grant to do a landmark phone survey of foster kids in Los Angeles, and they found that nearly 1 in 5 identify as LGBTQ. The report details how LGBTQ kids have more foster care placements, are more likely to be living in a group home and are three times more likely than straight youths to have been hospitalized for emotional reasons at some point in their lives. The study also found an overrepresentation of Latino or Black LGBTQ youth. Many of these youth enter the foster system either because they ran away from a home where their parents did not accept them, or because their parents kicked them out. It is distressing that a youth then enters a foster home where they experience more mistreated or are kicked out again.
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has been conducting training for social workers and foster parents about how to work with LGBTQ youth. Also, organizations, such as Family Builders, work to connect LGBTQ youth in the foster system with accepting families.
A number of reports and publications have already highlighted the disproportionately high number of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ, and thus it was not surprising to read the news from the UCLA’s Williams Institute. It gets tiring to read the reports of mistreatment of LGBT youth, at the hands of their own families, and I imagine I am not alone in this feeling. I hope this report is compelling enough for accepting families in California (and across the country) to approach their foster care worker and declare themselves as a welcoming home for LGBTQ youth.