Mental Wellness & Youth

New Study: 19% of L.A. County Foster Youth Identify as LGBTQ, Double Percentage of LGBTQ Youth in L.A.

LGBTQ foster youth are twice as likely to report poor treatment and more likely to live in group homes and to have more foster care placements. Approximately 1 in 5, or 1,400 foster youth in L.A. County, home to the nation’s largest population of foster youth, identify as LGBTQ. The finding is twice the estimated percentage of youth not in foster care who are LGBTQ. The majority of LGBTQ foster youth are people of color, over 86% are Latino, Black, or API. More than 18% of all respondents also reported experiencing discrimination related to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, some of whom don’t identify as LGBTQ. The percentage of LGBTQ youth who were hospitalized for emotional reasons was nearly triple the percentage of similar hospitalizations for non-LGBTQ youth (13.5% v. 4.2%).

The study, “Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Foster Care: Assessing Disproportionality and Disparities in Los Angeles,” was funded as part of a landmark $13.3 million, five-year grant awarded to the Los Angeles LGBT Center as part of the federal Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) and co-authored by scholars at the Williams Institute and Holarchy Consulting. It is the first population-based survey aimed at measuring sexual orientation and gender identity of youth in any foster care system.

Youth Resources:

My Life My Style

Boi Revolution

Covenant House

LA Gay and Lesbian Center Youth Services

My Friend’s Place