This report shares findings from a large-scale study of the New York City foster care system. It explores how many youth in care identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, agender or asexual and intersex and assesses how their experiences in foster care and life — including well-being, placement stability and emotional wellness — differ from other youth in care.
According to the study: More than one-third of youth in foster care in New York City identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, agender or asexual and intersex. These same youth are more often people of color, overrepresented in care, and more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to be unsatisfied with their experiences in care.
This research underscores how policies and practices must change to accommodate for differences in sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Doing so can help stem further inequities for youth of color, whose representation in the child welfare system is already disproportionately high.
New York City Administration for Children's Services has produced an action plan based on the report. This plan reviews the agency's work supporting LGBTQ youth in care to date and identifies three system-wide goals as well as eight action steps that the agency plans to take next.
In New York City, identifying as LGBTQ raises the likelihood that a child will end up in care
Findings & Stats
A Significant Share
In New York City’s foster care system, more than one in every three youths between the ages of 13 to 21 are LGBTQ.
Compared to their non-LGBTQ counterparts, sexual and gender diverse youth in care are more likely than to experience homelessness and negative confrontations with police.
A Disappointing Experience in Care
Sexual and gender diverse youth are more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to live in group homes and feel as if they had no control over what happened to them in care.
Statements & Quotations
While the assessment of gender and sexuality used to be seen as simple — people were either male or female and straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual — the gender and sexual landscape is rapidly changing and becoming more and more diverse.
The observed disparities between LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ youth require action in terms of policy and programming. A very first step would be ensuring that relevant parties that interact with foster care youth — including social workers, foster parents and institutional staff — have an awareness and understanding of gender and sexual diversity and related issues.