Saturday, August 19, 2006

"Out of the Margins" ~ on the experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care ~ press release & article

Press Release:
Lambda Legal and Child Welfare League of America Launch Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Foster Care:

Out of the Margins documents the experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care across the country.

(Washington D.C., August 16, 2006) — Today, Lambda Legal and the Child Welfare League of America launched a new publication to serve as a guide for helping the child welfare system to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in care.

Out in the Margins: A Report on Regional Listening Forums Highlighting the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Care, is a compilation of the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care along with concrete solutions to end the problems they face in the foster care, juvenile justice, and homeless/transitional living systems. The information was gathered during 13 listening forums attended by over 500 people — including social workers, service providers, administrators, caregivers, and LGBTQ youth who are or were in care — from 22 states in 2003-2004. The publication is available free of charge upon request or downloadable at www.lambdalegal.org or www.cwla.org.

“We held listening forums in every region of the country and found that the needs of LGBTQ youth in care are by and large the same no matter where they live. From large urban cities to small rural towns — not enough is being done to keep these young people safe,” said Rudy Estrada, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal’s Foster Care Project.

“That kind of coast to coast consensus makes this book applicable to child welfare services everywhere.”

“This report offers concrete recommendations for policy makers and practitioners who want to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ youth,” said Rob Woronoff, LGBTQ Program Director at the Child Welfare League of America. “The experiences and practical solutions in this report come directly from the people who are most affected — the youth and their advocates, caregivers, and service providers.”

Out of the Margins builds upon Lambda Legal’s 2001 publication, Youth in the Margins, a tool aimed at providing child welfare administrators with recommendations on policies, training, and services to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in care. CWLA’s body of publications dedicated to LGBTQ youth has recently expanded to include CWLA Best Practice Guidelines: Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care, as well as a special issue of their journal, Child Welfare, entirely dedicated to LGBTQ youth in child welfare, featuring more than a dozen never-before published studies and articles, including articles by Lambda Legal Staff Attorney, Rudy Estrada.

This fall, the two groups will launch a free toolkit with a variety of handouts aimed at providing additional educational information specifically geared for the child welfare community, from foster parents, to LGBT youth in care, to social workers and beyond. In November, CWLA will host its annual Finding Better Ways Best Practices conference, and this year’s will be entirely devoted to addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth and families involved with the country’s foster care system. This conference, cosponsored by Lambda Legal, will take place in Nashville, TN. For more information on any of these resources go to www.lambdalegal.org or www.cwla.org.

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Contacts: Jackie Yodashkin, Lambda Legal, 212-809-8585 ext.229
Rob Woronoff, CWLA, 202-662-4292, rworonoff@cwla.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
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Download the PDF of Out of the Margins A Report on Regional Listening Forums Highlighting the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth in Care

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Article:

Initiative Launched To Help Protect Gay Foster Youth

(Washington) Two advocacy groups on Thursday announced a new initiative to help protect LGBT young people in child welfare systems across the country.

Lambda Legal and the Child Welfare League of America hope a new publication will serve as a guide for helping the foster care systems to better meet the needs of gay youth in their care.

Called "Out of the Margins" it is a compilation of the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care along with concrete solutions to end the problems they face in the foster care, juvenile justice, and homeless/transitional living systems.
and
"My foster family took away my clothes, called me a 'dyke,' and tried to remake me," said one teen quoted in the book.

"When I was in foster care all my foster mom would do was taunt me," said another.

A third teen quoted in the book said that after coming out to her foster family "I was told I was going to hell and forced to go to church with them. I became very closeted after that and didn't tell any other foster families I was a lesbian. I was in 22 different homes; many of them were very religious."
and
In November, CWLA will host its annual Finding Better Ways Best Practices conference, and this year's will be entirely devoted to addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth and families involved with the country's foster care system. The conference, co-sponsored by Lambda, will take place in Nashville, TN.

"Out of the Margins" is available free of charge upon request or downloadable at www.lambdalegal.org or www.cwla.org
Read: Initiative Launched To Help Protect Gay Foster Youth
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff ~ August 17, 2006

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