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Fostering LGBTQ+ Youth

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The latest data from the Office of National Statistics states that 1% of 16-24-year-olds identify as Transgender, and 6.9% of 16-24-year-olds identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual - the highest prevalence among all age groups surveyed. Given the challenges young people face when exploring their sexual and gender identity, being in foster care can make this process even more complex. In our guide, we’ll address common questions our carers have about fostering LGBTQ+ youth and provide you with guidance on how to support them as an ally.

If I am LGBTQ+, will I be Automatically Matched with an LGBTQ+ Young Person?

Here at Capstone Foster Care, we prioritise the well-being of the children and young people in our care by carefully matching them with foster carers who can support their needs. While there is an increased likelihood that if you are from the LGBTQ+ community, you’ll be matched with a young person from the same community, this is never guaranteed. Factors such as education, location and type of foster care needed are also considered.

What if I’m not part of the LGBTQ+ Community and I’m matched with an LGBTQ+ Young Person?

As a foster carer, your number one priority is to develop a safe and loving environment for your foster child regardless of their gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity or race. Here, we’ll explain some of the ways you can be an ally for your foster child.

Educate Yourself   

The terminology and identities concerning the LGBTQ+ community are constantly evolving and changing. Making an effort to educate yourself on the terminology used by the community and the issues they face can help you better understand your foster child’s experience and become a better support to their needs.

It’s also important to remember that as a foster carer with Capstone, you’ll have access to an incredible level of support through the training you receive including;

  • LBTQ+ Training
  • Transgender Awareness
  • Supporting Children with Their Identity
  • Equality and Diversity

You'll also benefit from working with our network of foster carers, meaning whatever the situation, it’s likely there’ll be someone who’s had the same experience 

Respect Their Identity

Even if you don’t fully agree with or understand your foster child’s gender identity or sexuality, you should validate your foster child’s feelings and experiences without judgment.

If your foster child is questioning the gender they were assigned at birth and wants to use a different name or pronoun that aligns with their identity, you should address and refer to them according to their preference.

Create a Safe and Supportive Environment

As a foster carer, your main priority is to create a safe and loving environment for your foster child. Your foster child is likely to be feeling a range of emotions as they explore their gender and sexuality, including confusion, worry, denial and shame. It’s important to create an open dialogue between you and your foster child so that they feel supported and validated. Have a conversation with your foster child about what you can do to support them and make them feel more comfortable.

You should make it clear that you are a safe person to talk about LGBTQ+ topics and that you are here to support them unconditionally. You should ensure your foster child understands that you are here to help them navigate their journey and will be patient and understanding along the way.

Advocate For Your Foster Child

As an ally, it’s important to advocate for your foster child by addressing any bullying or discrimination they may face due to their LGBTQ+ identity. Read our guide on dealing with bullying for more information. You should ensure your foster child has the level of support they need, whether that be through support networks, therapy or at school.

What happens if the child’s family are not supportive?

For many children and young people in foster care, reunification with their families is the end goal. However, relationships can be strained and further challenged if their family is not supportive of their gender identity or sexuality. 

Your foster child’s well-being is our primary concern. Your social workers, therapists and fellow professionals will work with you to prioritise the safety and emotional and psychological health of your foster child. If your foster child’s safety and well-being are at risk due to their LGBTQ+ identity, it will be considered when deciding whether to reunite the foster child with their family. 

In some cases, it might be helpful for both parties to explore mediation and counselling to come to terms with the child’s gender identity. 

How Can Capstone Help?

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are interested, learn more about LGBTQ+ fostering in our guide. Or ready to start fostering? Contact us today.

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

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