When we take a minute and realize that the youth of today will be the next generation of parents in our society, it is in our best interest to make sure that LGBTQ youth in foster care grow up feeling supported, accepted, and welcomed. Unfortunately, in the daily fight for equality, LGBTQ youth still face rejection and discrimination in their everyday environments. However, the place they call “home” should be filled with love and acceptance. Youth receive values, morals, and ethics from their parents. Therefore, children that grow up in safe and loving families will pass these values to the generations to come. The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), a leading national coalition that serves vulnerable children, joined with several other national partners working on behalf of LGBTQ youth such as the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, to issue “Recommended Practices to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living with HIV in Child Welfare Settings.”
“Recommended Practices” is a great recourse for all child welfare agencies across the U.S. that promote and facilitate the best interest of children and provides information on how these agencies can better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Having personal experience with the child welfare system as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, I know that, sadly, some States still do not allow LGBT parents to become foster parents and adopt children in the child welfare system, even though there is more than 30 years of social science research that shows that gay and lesbian parents are as just as fit as opposite-sex parents.
“Recommended Practices” is also a great complement to the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (HR 1681/S1770), a federal bill currently before Congress, that would open up more homes to youth waiting in the foster care system. ECDF also provides much-needed protections for LGBT youth in foster care.
Our future as a society is up to the youth of today! “Recommended Practices” takes a significant step towards ensuring that LGBTQ youth are in welcoming, safe and affirming environments that allow them to grow and thrive into the future parents of tomorrow.