Happy Pride month! Now is the time to celebrate, educate, and come alongside our LGBTQ+ community.
In light of this month and some recent headlines, we just want to take this time to say that the LGBTQ+ community is welcome here at Victor FFA and tell you why Pride month is so important to us.
We believe love is love and that’s what children need above all else when they find themselves in a foster home for whatever length of time and under any circumstances.
This extends to all children including those who identify as LGBTQ+. In reality, LGBTQ+ kids are overrepresented in the foster care system and more likely to have experienced trauma, making the need even greater for LGBTQ+ affirming homes.
That care can be found in a home with those who sincerely want to support a child, and we don’t think that is limited to certain gender identities or sexualities.
Every child deserves a loving and supporting home and to be a kid. Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ foster youth face many hardships and discrimination, even in 2020.
LGBTQ+ Foster Youth
Homelessness26% of LGBTQ+ youth are rejected by their family or forced to leave the home making them more vulnerable to homelessness and sexual exploitation. They are also less likely to be placed in a home and many LGBTQ+ youth have expressed not feeling safe or supported in their foster home and choose to live on the street instead.
LGBTQ+ Foster Parents
It is apparent that LGBTQ+ affirming homes are needed. Both because of the high population of LGBTQ+ youth, but also the dire consequences in the long term for that child or teen if they don’t find a home that they feel safe in.
That is one of the reasons we feel lucky to have the amazing resource families that we do at Victor FFA.
They can provide that support, empathy, and care to the youth placed in their home through shared experience. But their impact goes beyond that.
More likely to fosterSame-sex foster parents are six times more likely to foster than opposite sex couples.
Financial impactGay foster parents make up $87-$130 million in childcare nationally. Meaning they don’t just impact individual lives but the system as a whole.
Lifetime positive role modelFoster parents who are themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community can offer a sense of normalcy and empathy through shared experiences. They can also give them a sense of hope of what life can look like in the long term, opposed to homelessness and more abuse that befalls some of their peers. Similarly, our single parents or heterosexual couples can model being a good ally by affirmation and acceptance.
Be an Ally
As a whole, the nation is not on the same page when it comes to protecting LGBTQ+ foster youth or parent’s rights. Only 14 states have non-discrimination laws that protect sexual orientation and gender identity and only 7 more have laws protecting sexual orientation.
However, all members of the foster care system have a responsibility to our LGBTQ+ youth, not just the members of their community. From the social workers, to administrative workers, to non-LGBTQ+ resource families, we all need to be allies and educate ourselves to ensure the best future and lives for the children we serve and the families we work with.
So this month we celebrate and speak up for our LGBTQ+ community to say 'thank you' to our foster parents and 'we see you' to our foster children.
If you or someone you know would like to become a resource parent or wants to know how else you can help us by providing caring homes to youth in need, please reach out.