Durham CAS launches LGBT2SQ+ Care Initiative
We are committed to supporting all children, youth and families, including those in our LGBT2SQ+ community. This includes supporting not only LGBT2SQ+ children and youth who may need a helping hand, but also as encouraging involvement from LGBT2SQ+ caregivers.
We promote safe and inclusive communities, including providing a stable, supportive and respectful home for every child in our care. We strive to ensure that all of our caregivers – volunteers, staff, foster, kin and adoptive families – are involved in our ongoing commitment to anti-oppressive practice.
LGBT2SQ+ individuals face a unique set of challenges including social stigma, discrimination, rejection by friends and family, oppression and violence, all of which are detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.
Approximately forty percent of homeless youth are LGBT2SQ+, and many access services such as drop-in centres, street outreach and housing programs. More than twenty percent of youth-in-care identify as LGBT2SQ+. These numbers are staggering when we consider that approximately ten percent of the general population identifies as LGBT2SQ+.
LGBT2SQ+ youth are at an increased risk of social isolation, depression, attempted suicide and other mental health concerns. They need and deserve greater access to appropriate services. Additionally, Indigenous, Black and racialized LGBT2SQ+ children and youth need access to holistic supports and services that affirm and support their particular identities.
We are proud to launch our LGBT2SQ+ Care Initiative.
This initiative will begin to address the issues of over-representation of LGBT2SQ+ children and youth in the child welfare system, disparities in decision-making and service delivery, and poorer health, well-being and outcomes. We look forward to members of the LGBT2SQ+ community joining us to make this a reality. LGBT2SQ+ children and youth served by Ontario’s child welfare system have the right to grow up free of discrimination.
The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, dictates that our services be child-centered, respect diversity, inclusion and a child’s identity, and be informed by awareness of systemic biases and racism, and the need to address these barriers. We work every day to ensure that we live up to —and exceed – this benchmark.
With our LGBT2SQ+ Care Initiative we are committed to ensuring that the caregivers that we provide for children and youth, be they foster, customary, kin or group care placements, are respectful and inclusive. Inclusive caregivers help to build a child or youth’s self-esteem, confidence, and self-advocacy leading to long-term positive outcomes.
For Two-Spirit and LGBTQ Indigenous, Black and racialized children and youth we strive to ensure culturally appropriate placements, as well as ensuring connections with community members, mentors and cultural spaces that affirm sexual and gender identities.
We are reaching out to our community to inspire dialogue and encourage those who identify as LGBT2SQ+ and allies to get involved. The lived experience and community connections of LGBT2SQ+ caregivers can be an incredible benefit to children and youth, helping them as they grow and learn to navigate the challenges in their lives.
We need your help: speak up, and learn more about becoming a foster parent… Help us keep all children and youth safe and healthy.
We’re proud to work with our community towards ensuring that LGBT2SQ+ youth-in-care across Ontario have equitable access to culturally appropriate services.
To foster for Durham CAS, you must live in Durham Region. If you live outside of Durham, please contact your local CAS.
Resources for caregivers on LGBT2SQ+ inclusiveness:
Five/Fourteen, LGBTQ-focused foster care agency (based in Windsor, Ontario)