ADVOCATING FOR LGBTQ+ YOUTH
In Oregon and nationwide, LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care; according to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 30 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+, compared to 11 percent of the general youth population. This is largely due to the fact that coming out to family members who are not accepting can lead to harassment, abuse and even rejection, making it more likely for these children than their non-LGBTQ+ peers to experience homelessness or end up in foster care.
Once in foster care, LGBTQ+ youth face even more difficulties. Not only are they less likely to find permanency, but they have a higher average number of foster placements, are more likely to be placed in congregate care settings, and experience higher rates of harassment, discrimination, and violence against them.
Alongside the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and local experts in the field, CASA - Voices for Children has developed and implemented trainings and resources to help our volunteers effectively support and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth, guiding them through the challenges they face in the child welfare system. CASA-VFC works closely with the Oregon Department of Human Services, whose Foster Children's Bill of Rights affirms the rights of youth to not be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
Ready to learn more? Expand your vocabulary with this list of LGBTQ+ Terms, or read about why pronouns are important. You can also watch free educational webinars on LGBTQ+ advocacy topics at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Online Learning Archive.
In addition to ensuring effective advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth in care, CASA-VFC is committed to fostering equity, diversity and inclusion throughout all aspects of the organization, including staff and volunteers. Volunteers with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, identities, and life experiences, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, are encouraged to apply to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate today!
Please click the links below to download printable PDF lists of LGBTQ+ affirming agencies, service providers, and resources for advocates or CASA youth!