Study: Higher Rates of LGBTQ Youth End Up In Foster Care

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Questioning (LGBTQ) teens in the United States are three times more likely to live in foster care than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a newly released study.


The study, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, found that these teens are also three times as likely to have considered suicide.

According to a report from Reuters: “Roughly a third of teens living in foster care are LGBT(QI), the research found. Overall, 11 percent of the U.S. population is LGBT(QI), according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.”

The report, based on a study of 600,000 students ages 10 to 18 in California, also found these youth suffer from higher substance abuse issues, perform worse in school and experience poorer mental health.

According to the study, teens revealing their sexuality to their families can result in harassment as well as homelessness.

“We need to start examining whether LGBTQ youth are more likely to be removed from their families of origin, or whether they are more likely to get ‘stuck’ in the system by not getting permanent placements, or both,” Stephen Wilson, a public policy faculty member at UCLA School of Law and author of the report, told The Daily Texan.

Many LGBTQI adults who understand the specific trauma and issues of these youth often foster and adopt. However, there has been a fight across the country to prevent these parents from adopting.

Most recently President Donald Trump’s administration granted a request from the governor of South Carolina to allow federally funded child welfare agencies to deny parents services based on religious beliefs.

To view the full Reuters story, click here, and to read the full Daily Texan story, click here.

To learn more about the South Carolina adoption fight, click here.

Bringing some ‘Inspiration’ to Life Books for Foster Children

Whether many people realize it or not, there is a book somewhere in their house – or their parent’s house – that holds in its pages their history. These books, commonly called photo albums, are often pulled out at embarrassing moments to remind them of a not-so-great haircut or unfortunate fashion choices.

But these books are also a reminder of something else – something much more important.

These children were – are- loved.

For foster kids who are often shuffled from home to home across the country, there are no records of how much they grew between 1st or 2nd grade, or what Halloween costume they wore as toddlers because there are often no photo albums that travel with them to serve as a reminder.
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Report: Foster Youth Who Remain in Care After 18 Have More Wealth, Stability

A recently released study shows that California foster youth who remain in care after they turn 18 are better educated, more likely to be employed and wealthier than their peers who exit the system at 18.

foster youth
The study, conducted by Chaplin Hill at the University of Chicago, used data from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) to track more than 40,000 foster youth in California’s Child Welfare Services/Case Management System over five years.

According to the report, youth who remained in care increased the amount of money they had in their bank accounts by $404, decreased their odds of being homeless by 28 percent and reduced their chances of being arrested by 41 percent.
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‘Instant Family’ Sparks Instant Interest in Foster Care

Instant Family, a film about the ups and downs of becoming foster parents starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, hit theaters in November and brought with it a wave of interest in foster care throughout the U.S.

Interest in Foster Care
The comedy, which features Wahlberg and Byrne as a couple who decide to foster a teenage girl and her two younger siblings with the intention of adopting, presented an interesting recruitment opportunity for foster care agencies – and at a time when many states are dealing with a shortage of foster parents and an increase of children in care.

With moviegoers getting a glimpse into the lives of foster parents and the children who need them, recruiters in Ohio, North Carolina and New Jersey have set up shop at movie theaters to talk with prospective parents and answer any questions they may have.

According to the Tribune Chronicle in Ohio:

“Trumbull County Children Services officials hosted a special caregivers night Wednesday at Regal Cinema in Niles, which is showing the movie “Instant Family” — a comedy-drama about foster care.

Megan Martin, senior supervisor for foster care and adoption, said the meet-and-greet event was held for prospective foster parents to present them with information on programs as well provide an early screening of the movie.

She said about 50 Trumbull County residents interested in fostering and adopting attended. This is the first time the agency has held such an event at a movie theater, but noted the film relates to what services they provide to families.”

Interest in fostering is important in Ohio where there are almost 16,000 kids in care. The same can also be said about North Carolina, which has more than 10,500 children in care.

After hosting a recruiting event at Regal Cinemas in Gastonia, the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services said more adults have expressed interest in becoming foster parents after seeing Instant Family, according to the Gaston Gazette.

“According to Julie Murphy, a licensing supervisor with Health and Human Services, the majority of individuals who attended the screening took applications.

“We had a great response and have continued to get phone calls daily as a result of the event,” she said.”

The movie is based loosely on writer-director Sean Anders’ life after he fostered (and adopted) three kids.

“I think the message of the movie is: no matter what, love first,” his wife, Beth Anders, told The Columbian. “They need parents, and we’re here.”

To learn more about the film, Instant Family, click here.

One Family: Birth Parents and Foster Parents

The goal of foster care across the country is always the same – reunify the child in care with his or her parents as soon as their home is a safe and stable environment. That’s why the Birth Parent National Network, through the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership, is working to improve relationships between both types of parents.

birth parents and foster parents

According to the Children’s Bureau, of the 250,248 children who left the foster care system in the U.S., 51 percent, or about 127, 626 children, were reunified with their parents in 2016. For those children, the assimilation back into the home of their birth parents was often made easier when foster and birth parents worked as a team.

“It is important that the adults in a child’s life coordinate and cooperate effectively, and nowhere is that more true than in the relationship between birth parents and foster parents,” the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership wrote in their official position statement. “Sometimes the child welfare system creates unnecessary barriers to engaging with each other. We believe that in order to be productive at strengthening families, we must collaborate, and have the support of child welfare professionals to do so.”

Born from The National Alliance for Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds, Casey Family Programs and the Youth Law Center/ Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI), the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership aims to identify strategies to help birth and foster parents work together to facilitate reunification and prevent re-entry into the system. The group also looks to increase recruitment of foster parents willing to work with birth parents.
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Anti-LGBTQ Adoption Amendment Passes House

An amendment that would allow faith-based agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ couples looking to adopt and punish states that attempt to prevent this from occurring passed the House Appropriations Committee in early July.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), would not only prevent states from taking action against agencies that decline to provide services based on their religious beliefs but also would direct the federal government to withhold 15 percent of federal funding from any state that refuses to allow discrimination to take place.

States like New Jersey, California and Rhode Island with laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are at risk of funding cuts if the new amendment remains part of the final funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
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