Video: Voices of LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care
November 28, 2012 by HRC staff
The following post comes from HRC Family Project Intern Jessica St. Germain
As you may have learned from earlier blog posts this month, November is National Adoption Month. This month is ultimately about finding families for the thousands of children and youth in foster care in the U.S.
Fittingly, this month’s episode of IN THE LIFE, “Foster Care’s Invisible Youth,” focuses on the unique perspectives of LGBTQ youth in care. This video brings to life the importance of finding a loving, supportive family for all youth before they age out of the system.
LGBTQ youth are in particular need of finding a “forever” family because of the challenges they can face in the foster care system. They can be isolated in lesbian/gay/queer group homes or placed in homes that don’t accept them for who they are. There are a lucky few who find a loving, accepting home, but most don’t. One gay youth featured in the video felt so unaccepted in one of his placements that he contemplated suicide. No one, especially children, should ever feel that awful in a place they’re supposed to call home.
A powerful message in the video comes from Holly Luna, a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter at Families Like Ours based in Seattle. She says: “We have a moral obligation to provide them with permanent families and we have a moral obligation to make sure all kids know that what’s within them is valuable.”
These youth don’t just need permanent families; they need permanent families that will love them unconditionally. These kids deserve to know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally, and in turn know that it is safe to truly be themselves.
So what can be done to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth in care? There are several ways to help solve this problem.
One way is to give LGBTQ youth in foster care and those who have gone through foster care a voice. Listening to them will give the best insight into what needs to change within the foster care system in order to make it a positive experience.
Another way is to provide training to foster care agencies to enhance their LGBT cultural competence. HRC’s All Children - All Families initiative has been doing just that since its launch in 2007. In the coming months, All Children - All Families will be expanding its resources to offer trainings and services to an even wider range of youth-serving organizations.
You can be part of the solution too. Are you interested in mentoring, fostering or perhaps adopting an LGBTQ youth? These youth would benefit from having a caring adult like you in their life. Learn more about adoption and foster care.
And you can watch the video, “Foster Care’s Invisible Youth,” to learn more about LGBTQ youth in foster care.
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