by Wendy Sousa
Welcome to May, National Foster Care Month. As many of you may know, LGBTQ youth are often not safe in their homes, schools, and communities. Many experience discrimination, bullying, and violence because of their sexuality and gender identity. Many also experience rejection from their families and communities.
The experience of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system can be fraught with even greater risks and barriers. Research indicates that LGBTQ youth in care are more likely to have multiple placements, be placed in group homes and/or congregate care settings, and have higher rates of homelessness than their peers. They often re-experience rejection, discrimination, and isolation.
We can change the course for LGBTQ youth by providing them affirming and meaningful support when they are most vulnerable. By matching youth with adults and caregivers who are open and willing to discuss issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, who will believe reports of mistreatment and bullying, and who will stand up for the needs of these children, we can help all youth feel safe and respected. We can create an environment that enables all children to reach their full potential.
Here at Adoption Rhode Island, one of our core values is to advocate for the safety and well-being of children. We believe that all youth matter. We believe that all families matter. As May is National Foster Care Month, we would like to remind you that everyone has something to offer a child, and that any individual or couple who welcomes a foster child into their home can count on support from Adoption RI.
Adoption RI offers both home-based and office-based support services for children and families that include individual, family, and group counseling; events; activities; and trainings that promote and support the permanent placement of children in families. All children and families impacted by adoption – domestic and international – are welcome.
Would you like to learn more about helping LGBTQ youth by mentoring, fostering, or adopting? Are you a family brought together through adoption that would like to learn more about our community, services or support? Contact Adoption Rhode Island at 865-6000, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.adoptionri.org.