The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $13.3 million competitive federal grant to a coalition of groups, led by the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, to develop a model program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in foster care. NCTE applauds this historic grant award and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, PFLAG and the nearly 20 other organizations who will be undertaking this important project.
This is big news, not only because it is the largest ever federal grant for an LGBT-focused project, but because LGBT foster youth are in such dire need of caring and supportive homes and services. It is by now well documented that LGBT youth are disproportionately in out of home care, and that these youth face high levels hostility, discrimination and abuse in care. In addition, transgender foster youth struggle daily with their very identities being disregarded. While the Child Welfare League of America has worked hard together with LGBT advocates to educate providers and promote best practices, the difficulties faced by LGBT foster youth remain pervasive. With the support of the federal government, this model project could lead the way for agencies and providers around the country who are responsible for the safety and well-being of LGBT youth.