“Historically, many of the LGBTQ youth who turn to us for a safe place to live have aged out of the foster system, don’t have the skills or resources to make it on their own, and would otherwise be homeless” said Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the Center. “So this study supports our long-held belief that LGBTQ youth are not only overrepresented in the foster system but extremely disadvantaged within that system.” The study, called the Los Angeles Foster Youth Survey (LAFYS), was funded to answer questions about how many sexual and gender minority youth are in foster care in the County and to understand more about their experiences. “We found LGBTQ youth in foster care share many similarities in experiences with non-LGBTQ youth, including racial disparities, yet also face unique systemic barriers to placement in permanent homes, such as being placed in group homes and experiencing homelessness at higher rates” said the survey study’s Principal Investigator, Bianca D.M. Wilson, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at UCLA’s Williams Institute.
In response to the study’s findings, Jean said “The study validates the importance of our ongoing work to develop a new model of care for LGBTQ foster youth; they remain some of the most vulnerable, and forgotten, in our community. When finished, we hope this model will be replicated in cities around the country, because there’s no reason to believe the problems for LGBTQ foster youth are unique to Los Angeles.”
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