This National Foster Care Month, HRC and FosterClub have been proud to share the #FosterEquality campaign. Throughout the month, HRC shared stories that highlight the challenging experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care.
According to the Williams Institute, LGBTQ youth are more likely than non-LGBTQ youth to report being treated poorly in the foster care system. Mark's five years in California’s foster care system reflected that dreadful reality. However, he went from being afraid to “be gay in his house” to “succeeding and moving on with [his] life.”
In HRC’s Youth Survey Report, Growing Up LGBT in America, nearly half of LGBT youth said they do not “fit in” in their community. Veda’s story reflected that yearning for belonging, “At the end of the day, we just want someone to be by our side, support us, and let us know that we’re worth it; that we’re destined to succeed.”
Isaiah shared a story that exemplified the importance of safe, welcoming and affirming placements for youth in the foster care system. After facing negative situations in multiple placements, Isaiah explained how an affirming placement positively impacted him: “My foster parents’ support gave me confidence to come out freely and start being the real me.”
Unfortunately, LGBTQ youth too often struggle to find supportive services and home environments because of who they are and too many never get the resources they need. In Tristan's story, he shared what his experiences taught him: “Advocating for myself was the most difficult part of being in the foster care system, but it’s also a vital skill to learn.”
HRC’s All Children – All Families project works with foster care agencies around the country to build their capacity to provide inclusive services and resources for LGBTQ youth in the foster care system.
The stories shared throughout the month are a call to action for all of us. You can play a part in enhancing the lives of youth in foster care. You can look into becoming a foster parent, read briefs on the experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care, and keep yourself informed by checking HRC's blog.