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How do child welfare agencies support the wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning foster youth in out of home placement
Violence, discrimination, neglect, and rejection from family members are contributing factors to why Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are introduced to the child welfare system. There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, and LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in this population. The purpose of the study is to explore how child welfare agencies support the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of LGBTQ foster youth in out of home placement. To explore this question, this is qualitative exploratory study applies a thematic analysis of individual in-depth interviews with Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Administrators. This process identified four major themes of wellbeing, accessibility of resources, inclusivity, and additional support. Results show the DCFS professionals interviewed in this study feel LGBTQ foster youth in out of home placement receive the same level of physical, emotional, and mental health support as youth who are LBGTQ. However, further analysis of this data also indicates tension between the desire of reflect equitable treatment and the need for services designed to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.