All children and youth need the same thing – safety, love, and a sense of belonging. Numerous studies have shown that LBGTQ+ foster youth are more likely to have multiple placements (including group homes), struggle to find supportive adults, and are more likely to end up in the hospital for emotional distress. This issue of Foster Care Footnotes concentrates on targeted recruitment for youth who identify as LGBTQ+. You may assume that the most logical choice for placement for these youth would be with LGBTQ+ caregivers as they may have lived through similar experiences. But what do you do if that isn’t currently an option for you?
A former foster family recruitment specialist shared that she found the most effective approach to finding homes for LGBTQ+ youth was to educate families who were already licensed in addition to recruiting in the LGBTQ+ community. Other strategies that she suggests to identify LGBTQ+ friendly homes include:
- Offer trainings for licensed foster parents on the needs of LGBTQ+ kids so those who are potentially open to these placements are better educated and better prepared. Sometimes misconceptions, lack of confidence, or lack of experience may hold them back.
- Ask LGBTQ+ youth to identify ally adults that they have positive relationships with currently or in the past. This may include teachers, coaches, youth group leaders, friends’ parents, respite providers, or guidance counselors.
- Ask LGBQ+ foster parents to identify allies who might be interested. For example, non-LGBTQ+ parents with gay children, siblings, or close friends often show great compassion and understanding.
LGBTQ+ youth have always been here. It is up to us to listen to them and find the families they need to feel safe, supported, and affirmed. As always, please contact our recruitment team at the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families for additional support and consultation regarding targeted recruitment.