June is LGBTQ Pride Month! This month-long observance celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, and is held in June of each year to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots – a major turning point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, both in Texas and nationwide. Continue reading for some resources and trainings to help CASA staff and advocates best serve this population.
Background on LGBTQ Youth in Care
According to a recent study, more than 30% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ, compared to about 11% of the general youth population. This disparity is due in large part to the fact that for children, coming out to family members can lead to verbal and physical harassment, abuse and even full-on rejection, making them more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to experience homelessness and/or end up in foster care. Once they are in foster care, these youth face all the same challenges and barriers their non-LGBTQ peers face, such as dealing with trauma, placement changes, falling behind in school, mental health challenges and more – but with the added layer of fear of further rejection, abuse and harassment if they are open about their LGBTQ identity.
Educational Opportunities & Resources
All Children – All Families (ACAF): A project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, ACAF promotes LGBTQ-inclusive policies and affirming practices among child welfare agencies through an annual engagement cycle. Agencies participating in ACAF work to improve their policies and practices, with ACAF’s expert assistance, until all benchmarks are met.
Texas CASA is an ACAF participant, and encourages CASA programs and other child welfare organizations to consider participating as well! Interested? Visit the ACAF website to learn more, including how your organization can request to participate. Check out:
The Human Rights Campaign Issue Brief on LGBTQ youth in foster care covers much of what you need to know about LGBTQ youth in foster care, as well as the current over-representation of LGBTQ youth and the current status of laws protecting LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Caseworkers with LGBTQ Clients, created by Lambda Legal and Child Welfare League of America, includes best practices to follow when working on the case of a LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Supporting Your LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents is an education resource for foster parents of LGBTQ youth with topics including common misconceptions, how to create a welcoming home for LGBTQ youth and how to support them out in the community.
Outreach & Recruitment
- Sample statement and talking points around CASA’s commitment to serving LGBTQ youth and recruiting LGBTQ volunteers
- Social media post templates and image bank for LGBTQ recruitment and awareness
- LGBTQ Pride Month 2020 Media Release Template developed by Texas CASA
- June 2020 Social Media Calendar developed by Texas CASA (contains posts about Pride Month and LGBTQ youth)
- LGBTQ Ally/Safe Space indicators (Options: 1 | 2 | 3 ) – print out and display one of these indicators in your office to promote that it is safe for LGBTQ people to be open about their identity. Google “safe space” for more options.
- LGBTQ-inclusive stock photos: Use LGBTQ-inclusive stock photos as another way to promote a welcoming, inclusive environment. For free photos, Pexels has a few options. We also recommend checking out this article on sources of free LGBTQ friendly stock photos, and Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection.
Resources for Youth
- Texas Youth Connection – DFPS’s website for youth has information on safety, sexual health, suicide prevention, resources and more.
- Superior HealthPlan Resources Available for LGBTQ Youth
Contact Communications Specialist and LGBTQ Staff Advocate Emma Ledford at [email]email@example.com[/email] if you would like additional information or have questions about ACAF or any of the resources listed.
Texas CASA is committed to our goal of ensuring the highest quality advocacy possible for all children in the child protection system, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or disability status – that’s why we are highlighting resources to support the CASA network’s journey to becoming more inclusive, welcoming, affirming and culturally considerate. Explore more Cultural Considerations articles.