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Does LGBTQIA+ youth in youth care call for a different approach?

16 November 2021
Working with LGBTQIA+ youth in the child welfare system: Perspectives from youth and professionals

Being placed in the youth care system is challenging but research shows that LGBTQIA+ youth have an even harder time when they find themselves in these environments. The new book Working with LGBTQIA+ youth in the child welfare system by researchers of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences sheds light on which additional difficulties this group faces and what professionals can do to improve care, assistance and safety.

Discrimination, harassment and bullying

Most of the problems LGBTQIA+ youth face when they are admitted into the child protection system stem from the system's failure to acknowledge the young person's sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. ‘Many studies, including the Dutch study reported in our new book, have described situations of discrimination, harassment and bullying, sometimes by their peers and even by care professionals, faced by this group,’ explains author Mónica López López. ‘And we know that the exposure to this kind of violence can produce a profound impact on the mental and physical health of LGBTQIA+ youth.’ she concludes.

Besides discrimination and harassment, LGBTQIA+ youth also face a lack of placement stability and permanency. Compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, LGBTQIA+ youth are more often placed in youth care, stay longer, and are at a higher risk of leaving care without adequate preparation for independent living.

Tools for professionals

To help professionals become aware of these issues and to help them navigate them, Mónica López López, Rodrigo González Álvarez, Mijntje ten Brummelaar, Kevin R.O. van Mierlo and Leo Wieldraaijer-Vincent wrote Working with LGBTQIA+ youth in the child welfare system. Based on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ youth, professionals and foster families and scientific insights, the book offers a valuable tool to improve the practice with LGBTQIA+ youth at a personal, organizational, and policy level.

‘All those involved in child protection have a moral obligation to provide care that respects, boosts, and honours the rights of LGBTQIA+ young people,’ concludes López López.

Working with LGBTQIA+ youth in the child welfare system: Perspectives from youth and professionals was written by Mónica López López, Rodrigo González Álvarez, Mijntje ten Brummelaar, Kevin R.O. van Mierlo and Leo Wieldraaijer-Vincent. The book is published by the University of Groningen Press and is, through open access, available for free as PDF and EPUB.

Last modified:16 November 2021 2.15 p.m.
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