The Need

  • Nearly 70% of GLBTQ students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment in their schools
  • GLBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to skip school because they feel unsafe
  • Nearly 1/3 of GLBTQ youth drop out of high school to escape the violence, harassment and isolation they face there – a dropout rate nearly three times the national average
  • 40% of gay youth are thrown out of their homes when parents learn they are gay
  • Gay students are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts

While there is very little data available specifically on GLBTQ youth in foster care, we know that being a GLBTQ youth can be difficult and that the challenges can be even greater for youth in foster care. The already traumatic experience of being in foster care is amplified by confronting sexual orientation and identity issues and facing rejection from peers and family.

According to the Child Welfare League of America Best Practices Manual, GLBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the foster care system and service providers are ill-prepared to address the issues they face. This population is very much in need of informed adults who will advocate on their behalf and deliver necessary services.

Current Work

With funding from The Miami Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects grant program, FFCR, with partner support, recently conducted an anonymous survey of approximately 200 young people who recently exited foster care and are in the independent living program. Participants included those who identify as GLBTQ and those who do not. The confidential, neutral survey, designed with The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth (The Alliance), explored participants’ experiences as or with GLBTQ youth. FFCR also conducted a Work Group of self-selecting GLBTQ former foster youth. Work Group outcomes and survey responses are currently being evaluated in order to share findings and formulate recommendations. The findings and recommendations will become part of a soon-to-be-released FFCR publication to inform stakeholders about how to better support GLBTQ youth. The findings will be presented to the CBC Alliance and foster parent associations by youth with support from FFCR and The Alliance. As part of the project, FFCR is also incorporating the Work Group’s feedback regarding the CRP.

Through the above methods, FFCR seeks to gain understanding, share knowledge to spur change, improve the CRP process, and empower GLBTQ former foster youth.

Past Work

As part of its past work to improve positive outcomes for GLBTQ youth by raising awareness and training volunteers, program staff and service providers on issues related to GLBTQ foster youth, FFCR produced and distributed an e-newletter to create awareness of issues related to GLBTQ youth in foster care: Special Issue GLBTQ Youth in Foster Care

FFCR also hosted a symposium on September 11, 2009 titled “GLBTQ Youth in Dependency; What Do We Need To Know?” Subject matter experts and local resource providers joined with us in this successful endeavor. To view several presentations from the symposium, please click the chosen link below:
YES Institute
Pridelines Youth Services
Pridelines Youth Services Fall Activities
Safe Schools South Florida
Bibliography Keynote Speaker Rob Woronoff