Child welfare agencies in many states “go back and forth on whether they want to work with LGBTQ couples,” King said.
“Not only is Oregon willing, but eager to work with LGBTQ families.” Like same-sex couples, many people who rent or who are single often assume they are not eligible to become foster parents, Masserant said. But having someone who can accept and support an LGBTQ child’s self-expression in the home can make a big difference in a youth’s life.
“We have about two times as many LGBTQ-identified youth in (foster) care as in general population,” King said.
“It’s important that we are placing LBGTQ youth in families that are not only just OK with their identity, but affirming.” That’s one reason DHS will have a booth at this weekend’s Pride Northwest celebration at Tom Mc Call Waterfront Park, where festivalgoers can learn more about becoming an adoptive or foster parent.
Out of the six placements she’s had, she said, it wasn’t until she was placed at her current LGBTQ-specific foster home in Gresham that she finally felt accepted for who she is.
She said at one home she was in, the foster mother would watch her closely, not allowing her to be alone with girls and scrutinizing her every move.
There was this boy at school, he said, that kind of “sparked it.” The family he was living with at the time was religious, “but they didn’t force it on you,” he said.
Especially given the statistics we’ve seen,” King said.Anytime the child welfare system experiences a shortage of foster parents, it exacerbates the difficulties in placing kids who have specific needs, such as LGBTQ youths, said Cari King.King chairs DHS’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group, which was informally established nearly a decade ago.King was referencing the Williams Institute’s Los Angeles Foster Youth Study conducted in 2014.The study found: “LGBTQ youth have a higher average number of foster care placements and are more likely to be living in a group home.