Takeaways

  • LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in child welfare settings compared to their non-LGBTQ peers. Due to societal factors, institutional racism, and bias, youth of color are overrepresented in foster care.
  • Due to a lack of services to promote family and kin acceptance and safe return home, LGBTQ youth are often placed in unfamiliar, unaffirming foster homes. Lack of affirming foster placements leads to an overuse of congregate care. As a result, youth often exit foster care with no adult or family support and without stable housing.
  • Youth in foster care have higher incidences of contact with the juvenile justice system than non-foster care involved youth. LGBTQ youth in care thus face heightened rates of criminalization due to a combination of identity and expression, race, and child welfare involvement.
  • Time in foster care and homelessness increases risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

Data

74% of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness reported having been in a child welfare placement at some point in the past (n=400) [12]
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