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The LGBTQ+ identity is both overrepresented in and maltreated by the foster care system. While each individual has a unique experience, there are common statistics and narratives throughout the community. When individuals explore their sexuality and gender identity, they are very vulnerable, and trust in the people around them is essential. The foster care system cannot provide the security that these youth need. In this article, I hope to build upon your knowledge and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, provide insight into adoption by LGBTQ+ parents, and educate you on possible solutions and strategies for fixing foster care’s treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Race in the foster care system is a fickle subject. This article does not serve to group the experiences of all people of color under one box nor overshadow the struggles of any particular racial/ethnic group. The best way to preface this section is by analyzing the above graphic sourced from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Depending on their residing state, foster youth age out of the system around ages eighteen to twenty-one. In this transition from adolescence to adulthood, they are in the most need of support and stability. The challenge-ridden track to college exemplifies a flaw in the foster care system. There are educational and environmental factors that hinder foster youth from fulfilling their potential. Foster children have to adapt to independent living—how can we expect any student to focus on higher education on top of that?
Social changes are the small events that shape modern politics and society; the people’s demands are the source of these changes. In just their first few months in office, the Biden administration has taken steps to support the foster care system, but we need to call for bigger, braver actions.