LGBTQ+ & Two-Spirit youth

LEx Leaders Speak on the Importance of Nondiscrimination Protections in Foster Care

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“Care shouldn’t be conditional, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity.”

— Keona Rose 

 

LEx leaders Daysha Reed (NC) and Keona Rose (AZ) met with the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign this month to discuss the importance of federal nondiscrimination policies in child welfare!

Some key takeaways from the meeting included:

  • LGBTQ2S+ adults should not be discriminated against if they want to become foster parents.

  • Training for caregivers and staff on the LGBTQ2S+ experience is critical.

  • Policy and practice decisions must be informed by LGBTQ2S+ lived experience.

  • Stakeholders should use an equity and diversity lens in their work with and for LGBTQ2S+ youth in foster care.

 

Here is just some of the expertise that Daysha and Keona shared with the coalition:

 

Foster caregivers who are also part of the LGBTQ2S+ community can provide critical support and understanding for LGBTQ2S+ youth in care.

 

“Stopping youth from the ability to be in a loving family kind of defeats the purpose of why we have a foster care system… Having protections for foster parents and kinship parents who are part of the LGBTQ2S+ community and are willing to be there for LGBTQ2S+ youth is important. And having LGBTQ2S+ elders there and willing to share their experience is vital for our wellbeing.”

—Daysha

 

Training for caregivers and staff on the LGBTQ2S+ experience and how to create affirming environments can help support LGBTQ2S+ youth in care.

 

“As a bisexual biracial youth, I noticed that a lot of caregivers and staff don’t have a lot of training around handling LGBTQ2S+ youth. I feel like their personal opinions get involved and make it more complicated… So creating more training and creating more transparency will move things forward.”

—Keona

 

Policy and practice decisions must be informed by LGBTQ2S+ lived experience.

 

“I think the next step would really be trying to talk to current foster youth… It’s important to highlight current youth in foster care and use older former foster youth to figure out what we were doing in the past that isn’t an option going forward… Providing space for youth to feel safe to speak on these issues is vital to supporting the entire child welfare system.”

—Daysha

 

Stakeholders should incorporate an equity and diversity lens to bring humanity into their work with and for LGBTQ2S+ youth.

 

“We have the data, we have the problems present. What do we do to create change using an equity and diversity based lens? Not just on black and white paper…how do we move forward on a human level?”

–Keona

Thank you to Daysha and Keona for sharing your experiences and insight! Together, we will create a child welfare system where all youth can thrive.

Want to learn more about the importance of federal nondiscrimination policies? Check out these resources:

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