LGBT Rights for Foster Youth

The Department of Children and Families are making it suitable for all children, regardless of their sexual identity, to be protected while under the state's care. The main objective is to bring uniformity to foster homes.

According to AdoptKidsUs.Org, more than 250,000 children in the U.S. enter the foster care system every year.

Advocates are also making strides to include provisions to require better treatment for those foster children who are lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LGBT) living in these institutions.

Jordan Baker, a fourth-year criminal justice student at Florida A&M University, has been a supporter for equal rights for the LGBT youth.

“I work with children who identify themselves as LGBT and some of them are foster youth.  I believe children who are LGBT in foster homes shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation,” Baker said.

The Florida Bar Foundation’s LGBTQ Child Welfare Workgroup handles issues affecting LGBT.

Robert Latham, attorney at the University of Miami’s Children and Youth Law Clinic believes children who are LGBT will not be accepted in their foster homes.

“Children who identify with LGBT are most likely to be rejected by foster parents or group homes because of their sexual identity, ” said Latham.

The Zebra Coalition is a non-profit organization that serves LGBT youth between the ages of 13-24.

Cecil Chik, the outreach coordinator for the Zebra Coalition in Orlando, said the coalition provides many services to help LGBT youth such as case management, counseling and housing.

“To meet the specific needs of LGBT youth, we set a standard of creating a safe space for everyone to come to Zebra Coalition and be valued and respected,” Chik said.

As of now, there is no current information being provided by the Department of Children and Families on what specific standards will be put in place to protect LGBT children.