“When I was first placed in a group home, my biggest worry was, ‘Will people accept me? Will I have to fight?’ I’ve had to fight every day of my life.”
– Jessie, an LGBTQ+ youth in foster care
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. This month, and every month, Texas CASA is committed to our goal of ensuring the highest quality advocacy possible for all children and families in the child protection system.
According to a recent study, more than 30% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+. That’s nearly three times the overall LGBTQ+ population percentage. This disparity is due in large part to the fact that for young people, coming out to family members can lead to verbal and physical harassment, abuse and even full-on rejection. 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 identity.
How Can I Help?
CASA needs more LGBTQ+ volunteers to advocate for these children’s safety, permanency and well-being. While all CASA volunteers are equipped and trained to advocate for any child, having a volunteer from a similar background may help youth build stronger, trusting relationships more quickly. In addition, youth may have a higher likelihood of receiving the care and resources they need to be successful when they have a volunteer who understands their unique experiences.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, we hope you’ll consider getting involved and spreading awareness in your community. Despite the many challenges ranged against them, LGBTQ+ youth in foster care demonstrate remarkable resiliency and creativity. They can heal and thrive when offered love, acceptance and safety. Become a CASA volunteer, and be a consistent, affirming presence for a young person who needs you!
- For Allies: CASA Deep Dive: Supporting LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care
- Helping Parents & Caregivers Understand, Accept & Celebrate LGBTQ Youth