Courtesy of ACS
The findings are included in a new 71-page report released by ACS, which contracted with Theo Sandfort, PhD, professor of clinical sociomedical sciences in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, to conduct the first-ever survey on the proportion of youth in foster care in New York City.
By Forum Staff
More than one out of three youths, ages 13 to 20, in City foster care identify as LGBTQAI+ and those youth are more frequently young people of color, according to key findings of a new survey about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, agender or asexual and intersex (LGBTQAI+) youth in foster care in the five boroughs.
According to the Administration for Children’s Services, a total of 659 young people in foster care participated in the survey. The survey questionnaire included questions about the sexual and gender status, demographic characteristics, characteristics of the youth’s placement in foster care, the youth’s social connections, and their well-being.
Key findings from the survey suggest:
LGBTQAI+ youth are overrepresented in foster care. More than one out of three youths (34.1 percent), ages 13-20, in New York City foster care is LGBTQAI+. This is substantially higher than the proportion of LGBTQAI+ youth in the general population.
LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care are more frequently youth of color. With almost three quarters of the sample identifying as African American and almost a third identifying as Latinx, the sample reflects the population of New York City youth in foster care, in which people of color are disproportionally represented. Within this already racially and ethnically disproportionate group, LGBTQAI+ youth are less likely to be white and more likely to be Latinx.
The placements of LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care differ from those of non-LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care.
The family experiences of LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care can be challenging.
LGBTQAI+ young people have higher risk factors and more struggles with systems.
The following ACS action plan was informed by the findings of the survey:
ACS will broadly share the survey findings and leverage this research to inform stakeholders of LGBTQAI+ youth experiences and make systemic changes.
ACS will form a dedicated LGBTQAI+ Committee as part of the ACS Youth Leadership Council.
ACS will work with foster care providers to expand recruitment targeting foster parents who would be interested in fostering the LGBTQAI+ youth population and to expand foster parent training for serving these young people.
ACS is updating the current LGBTQAI+ Youth in Care Policy.
ACS is revising and strengthening staff training on LGBTQAI+ issues.
ACS is increasing services and supports for LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care.
ACS will be conducting further studies moving forward, including adding questions pertaining to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) to its annual Youth Experience Survey and conducting a needs assessment for LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care that will measure and quantify specific needs, gaps, and resources needed to ensure LGBTQAI+ youth in the ACS systems have better outcomes in placement(s) and in aftercare
ACS will advocate for, support and protect the implementation of LGBTQAI+ affirming policies and practices. ACS will create opportunities to share its experiences and practice with other local jurisdictions. ACS will also collaborate with national advocacy organizations to protect and affirm LGBTQAI+ youth in foster care.