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Agency highlights that 30% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+

D.A. Blodgett-St. John's Photo

There’s a growing need for foster homes for LGBTQ youth, according to a West Michigan child advocacy group

To mark Pride Month, staff at Grand Rapids-based D.A. Blodgett St. John’s is focusing awareness on the need for safe, affirming homes for LGBTQ+ youth in foster care, noting they are disproportionally represented in the system.

“Some estimates are around 30% of children in foster care identify as LGBTQ+, and so that would mean across the state for instance, there may be as many as 3000 children in foster care who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Joel Bell is the Chief Programs Officer for DABSJ and says these children often face additional challenges stemming from trauma related to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

“LGBTQ foster children in particular need families that are not only able to respond to trauma of abuse and neglect but are able to provide a home that is safe, affirming, celebratory in fact of who they are as LGBTQ people.”

The child advocacy organization is also seeking foster parents from the LGBTQ community.

Bell says a diverse group of foster parents is the best group to meet the needs of the diverse children entering foster care.

“We are wanting, we need, we’re glad to partner with LGBTQ adults who can become licensed for foster care because we need them. We need them not just for LGBTQ youth, but for the foster care need in general.”

For more information on how to become a foster parent with DABSJ, and to learn about the support and resources available, please visit www.dabsj.org or email fosterparentinfo@dabsj.org

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