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Victimization and rejection from caregivers can result in LGBTQ youth involvement in the foster care system, which is strongly associated with greater suicide risk among youth in general.

Presents the results of a study that showed sexual minority youth (ex. lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-sex attracted) youth are almost two and a half times as likely as heterosexual youth to experience foster care placement and are largely overrepresented in child welfare services and out-of-home placement.

LGBTQ+ youth enter the child welfare system for reasons like those of other children and youth — that is, their birth families cannot provide a safe, stable, and nurturing home. In some cases, families reject, neglect, or abuse young people when they learn that they identify as LGBTQ+ or are questioning their romantic/sexual orientation or gender identity.

“About 3 months after I entered the foster care system at age 12, a foster parent uttered words that would stay with me for the rest of my life. ‘Gay people are sinners who have no direction in life,’ she told me. That comment still lives with me today, deeply ingrained into my self-esteem more than 15 years later. As a well-educated gay man, I am able to recognize it has no bearing on who I am today as a person. But youth in the child welfare system still hear statements like these as they grow up in care.”

“My quality of life within the child welfare system would have been drastically more positive had there been individuals whom I could turn to during times of need. To feel support, rather than ridicule and judgment would have made all the difference in my development as a teenager.”

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