It is estimated that 4 to 10% of individuals in the United States identify as LGBTQ+. However, nearly 20% of youth in foster care do, indicating that the LGBTQ+ population is significantly overrepresented within child welfare. For many of these youth, their birth families are unable or unwilling to provide safe homes for them. Some are kicked out of the house while others face abuse in all forms from their family members. In fact, it has been found that “an estimated 43% of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness are forced from their homes because of conflicts with their families about their sexual orientation or gender identity; 32% of homeless LGBTQ youth have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at home over their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Unfortunately, the traumas these youth face at home typically do not end when they enter foster care. Youth who are LGBTQ+ report facing verbal and physical abuse because of their gender or sexual identity. Additionally, according to the Human Rights Campaign, 78% of LGBTQ+ youth have been removed or left their foster care placement because of hostility toward their identity.
This Pride Month (and every month after), we must put more intentional effort into being and doing better for youth who are LGBTQ+. Whether with their birth family or in a foster home, safety and stability should be considered the foundation of wellbeing, not an unattainable goal.
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