As we near the end of Child Abuse Prevention month, it is important to call out how LGBTQIA+ youth are overrepresented in the child welfare system. Many of these children have been ostracized by their families, have been bullied, and experienced discrimination. These young people, wanting nothing more than to be accepted for who they are and experience life to its fullest, report higher levels of depression and mental health issues, and are more likely to experience homelessness and have higher rates of suicide than their non-LGBTQIA+ peers.
LGBTQIA+ children and youth services and supports should be tailored to their individual needs, including related to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. This includes placing them in safe, permanent placements that support the whole of each child and youth’s well-being.
All children deserve to live in a safe, loving home in a community that supports their development and growth. Policies that target any group of children strain public resources, further divide individuals and communities, and perpetuate trauma in the lives of children and their families. In this month, as we raise awareness of child abuse, let’s ensure we have the best interest for the safety and well-being of all our children.