Review Highlights Research, Policy and Practices to Best Serve LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care

Posted September 22, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog researchpolicypracticetoservelgbtqyouth 2016

As the child wel­fare field responds to the grow­ing num­ber of old­er youth who are com­ing into fos­ter care, new research, poli­cies and prac­tices are emerg­ing that point the way to how child wel­fare agen­cies can most effec­tive­ly serve those who are les­bian, gay, bisex­u­al, trans­gen­der and ques­tion­ing (LGBTQ).

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has cap­tured and syn­the­sized an array of research and mate­ri­als in a recent­ly released lit­er­a­ture review to help raise aware­ness and broad­en the reach of this work.

As child wel­fare agen­cies strive to most effec­tive­ly care for chil­dren and young peo­ple, we at Casey believe les­bian, gay, bisex­u­al, trans­gen­der and ques­tion­ing youth and their fam­i­lies deserve to be affirmed and sup­port­ed — and must be free from discrimination. 

Research shows that youth who are LGBTQ are sig­nif­i­cant­ly over­rep­re­sent­ed in fos­ter care. They are more like­ly to be placed in group facil­i­ties and expe­ri­ence more place­ment dis­rup­tions than youth who are not LGBTQ. In addi­tion, they face the same racial inequities and dis­par­i­ties as oth­ers in the fos­ter care system.

Many of the best prac­tices doc­u­ment­ed in the Casey Foundation’s Every Kid Needs a Fam­i­ly pol­i­cy report will effec­tive­ly serve youth who are LGBTQ. These prac­tices will keep young peo­ple safe­ly with their own fam­i­lies, pri­or­i­tize place­ment with rel­a­tives and fos­ter fam­i­lies and build strong, per­ma­nent fam­i­ly relationships.

Mean­while, it’s crit­i­cal to ensure that youth who are LGBTQ have good out­comes and are treat­ed equi­tably. Child wel­fare sys­tems need equi­table, inclu­sive solu­tions tai­lored to young peo­ple of all races, eth­nic­i­ties, and sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tions, gen­der iden­ti­ties and expressions.

Read the lit­er­a­ture review

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