Some data suggest that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care, with as many as 2 times the number of LGBTQ youth in care as not in care. Like all children in foster care, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ), gender expansive and non-binary (GNB) youth are affected by the elimination of services, overburdened Family Courts, and an often-dysfunctional child welfare system. Unlike other children in foster care, however, LGBTQ and GNB youth must also contend with discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity; lack of service providers who are sensitive to their particular needs; questions about whether to “come out” or openly acknowledge sexual orientation or gender identity while in foster care; and difficulty finding a supportive community of other LGBTQ youth and adults.
LFC’s LGBTQ Rights Project consists of two attorneys who collaborate with LFC’s highly skilled social workers on each of their cases. The objectives of the project are to: 1) assess the needs of LGBTQ and GNB youth in foster care; 2) develop and implement advocacy plans both for individual young people and for system-wide improvements; and 3) inform LGBTQ and GNB youth in foster care of their rights through workshops and distribution of our You Are Not Alone handbook for LGBTQ and GNB youth in foster care, which includes a resource guide of programs and services specifically for LGBTQ youth.