BIPOC* and LGBTQ+* children are disproportionally represented in the foster care system. This means that the percentage of these youth in foster care is higher than the general community.
*The acronym BIPOC refers to black, indigenous, and other people of color and aims to emphasize the historic oppression of black and indigenous people.
*LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Our community continues to see a need for supportive, affirming foster families for LGBTQ+ youth. These youth may experience being kicked out of their birth/adoptive family due to their identity. This, among other factors, causes LGBTQ+ youth to enter foster care at higher rates.
Youthnet is proud to work with LGBTQ+ children and families. We are seeking LGBTQ+ foster parents as well as non-LGBTQ+ foster parents who are supportive and affirming of LGBTQ+ foster youth.
Here are two resources for learning more about supporting LGBTQ+ youth, courtesy of Washington Fosters:
- PFLAG: Short for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, PFLAG is a well-established, national organization with local chapters all over the country, including in Washington State.
- Stonewall Youth: a Washington-based, youth-led organization that supports LGBTQ+ youth through a variety of programs, including peer support groups, advocacy and mentorship, social events, and more.
Additionally, here is a training for current and potential foster parents:
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Training for Caregivers and Kinship Providers: 2 Hour eLearning
According to Washington Fosters, children who are black account for 16% of the children in foster care but represent less than 7% of the state's population. Children who are Indigenous are 3 times more likely to enter foster care than children who are white. "Systemic racism has led to over-policing, poverty, unwarranted scrutiny, and forced removal of children from their families. Such practices have a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable within the community: the children. Compared to society at large, children of color make up a disproportionate share of youth in the child welfare system."
Children benefit from being placed with families who are intentional about keeping them connected to their culture and identity. "Strong cultural identity contributes to mental health resilience, higher levels of social well-being, and improved coping skills, among other benefits. Foster youth face and deal with trauma, changing home environments, and lower levels of social well-being than the general population. Often, due to this disruption, former foster youth have lower cultural identity strength than those who did not experience foster care." (americanbar.org)
Youthnet is actively seeking BIPOC individuals and families in our community who have the desire to become foster parents.
Here are three resources regarding race and fostering BIPOC youth:
- Foster Club: Transracial Foster Parenting
- Resources for Race and Early Childhood Development
Foster Care Info Meeting
Join us at our next Online Foster Care Info Meeting! Participants will learn why kids and teens come into foster care, what services are available to kids and families, who can become a foster parent, what is required for licensing and how it is currently being done virtually, the differences between licensing through a nonprofit and the state, and how to get involved.