As we reflect back on this year’s celebration of Pride Month, we wanted to take a moment to shed some light on the realities faced by LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care. We also want to share the incredible story of one foster parent who’s creating space for LGBTQIA2S+ youth to find hope and belonging.
Experiences of LGBTQIA2S+ Youth in Foster Care
Across the country, LGBTQIA2S+ youth struggle with mental health issues related to discrimination and anti-LGBTQIA2S+ victimization. According to a 2023 survey from The Trevor Project, LGBTQIA2S+ young people reported higher rates of suicide risk. Many of them also said they were unable to access the mental health care they wanted. Additionally, the survey found that “fewer than 40 percent of LGBTQ young people found their home to be LGBTQ-affirming.”
The hostility faced by LGBTQIA2S+ youth has contributed to their overrepresentation in the foster care system. Recent studies show that 30 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQIA2S+, compared to just 11 percent of youth not in foster care. Sadly, many LGBTQIA2S+ young people confront further harassment and discrimination when placed in unwelcoming foster homes.
These statistics and the reported experiences of LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care illustrate just how great the need is for more LGBTQIA2S+ foster parents and homes that affirm LGBTQIA2S+ youth.
Back in 2018, the federal government began implementing an immigration enforcement policy where children were taken from their parents who had been detained for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without permission. When Adrian heard that some of these kids were being sent to foster families, he wanted to learn more about what foster parenting was and how he could help.
Fast forward to today, and Adrian has now been a foster parent for two years. As a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, Adrian has opened his home to provide a space where LGBTQIA2S+ youth are free to fully be themselves. We’re proud to share his incredible story in the video below.
Become a Foster Parent in Oregon
Adrian’s story shows what a powerful difference a safe and affirming home can make in the life of a young person. There are many more people like Alex who need places where they can thrive and feel they belong.
If you live in Oregon and you want to learn more about becoming a foster parent, please reach out to us by visiting fosterplus.org/get-started. Also, if you’re LGBTQIA2S+ and wondering what it would look like to become a foster parent, we recommend this FAQ from the Children’s Bureau.