Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Foster Care: Assessing Disproportionality and Disparities in Los Angeles

youth-imgBy Bianca D.M. Wilson, Khush Cooper, Angel Kastanis, Sheila Nezhad
August 2014

LGBTQ foster youth are twice as likely to report poor treatment and more likely to live in group homes and to have more foster care placements. Approximately 1 in 5, or 1,400 foster youth in Los Angeles County, home to the nation’s largest population of foster youth, identify as LGBTQ. The finding is twice the estimated percentage of youth not in foster care who are LGBTQ. Generally, LGBTQ foster youth mirror the racial/ethnic demographic of all foster youth in Los Angeles County. The majority are people of color, over 86% are Latino, Black, or API. More than 18% of all respondents reported experiencing discrimination related to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, some of whom don’t identify as LGBTQ. The percentage of LGBTQ youth who were hospitalized for emotional reasons (13.5%) was nearly triple the percentage of similar hospitalizations for non-LGBTQ youth (4.2%).

The study was funded by the Los Angeles LGBT Center as part of the federal Permanency Innovations Initiative.

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