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Engaging LGBTQ+ Youth

About the Course

Children and youth in foster care who identify as LGBTQI+ are over-represented in the child welfare system and face unique challenges. Their experience in foster care is often more difficult than their peers. They experience far more placements than non-LGBTQI+ youth, and according to a recent survey, “19.6 percent of LGBTQ youth in foster care were moved from their first placement because of caregiver request, compared to 8.6 percent of their heterosexual peers in foster care.” Many have the added layer of trauma that comes with being rejected or mistreated because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression by family and peers. Like other children and youth, they deserve a safe, affirming, nurturing home.

Child Welfare caseworkers and resource families have the privilege and task of assessing the diversity of children and youth and assuring all of their diverse needs are met. Sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity are three of those diversities. To meet their diverse needs a two-prong approach is required: 1) increase the number of LGBTQI+ resource & adoptive families and 2) better educate and support non-LGBTQI+ resource & adoptive families who take placement.

This workshop will give attendees the opportunity to increase their understanding of the LGBTQI+ community, learn the unique challenges faced by LGBTQI+ children and youth, and identify personal biases that may interfere with accurate assessments, provision of services, parenting, and recruitment of LGBTQI+ families as well as learn about national and local resources for youth and their caregivers.

Learning Objectives

Participants will receive an overview of the LGBTQI+ community.
Participants will learn the CASS model of LGBTQ identity formation.
Participants will learn engagement strategies unique to LGBTQI+ families.
Participants will understand the unique difficulties experienced by LGBTQI+ children and youth.
Participants will learn support strategies for resource families.
Participants will know Child Welfare League of America and Lambda Legal joint initiative to address the needs of LGBTQ youth involved with the U.S. foster care system.
Participants will know support systems and community resources for resource families and LGBTQI+ youth.

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