The importance of increasing caregiver and Children’s Aid Society capacity to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited or questioning (LGBTQ) youth in and leaving care was identified in the Youth Leaving Care Working Group (YLCWG)“Blueprint for Fundamental Change to Ontario’s Child Welfare System”. It has been suggested that LGBTQ youth may represent a high proportion of child welfare clients due to factors such as family or community rejection and high rates of homelessness. LGBTQ youth entering, in and leaving care may face distinct challenges associated with their identity or orientation. Strides are being made to further support LGBTQ youth in Ontario.
LGBT2SQ Capacity Building Training Initiative
In response to the YLCWG Blueprint, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Servicess is developing a provincial resource guide and training materials, with involvement from Children’s Aid Societies and key stakeholders, to increase the capacity of Children’s Aid Staff and foster parents who work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, questioning or queer (LGBT2SQ) youth in care. Youth who have been involved with the child welfare system will be engaged extensively throughout the process.
Be Our Ally campaign
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth has recently announced the Be Our Ally campaign to encourage service providers in Ontario’s care system be allies to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning, 2-spirited (LGBTTIQQ2SA) youth and create safe environments that promote acceptance and respect. The campaign video was screened at the WorldPride Human Rights Conference on June 27 with future plans to launch a toolkit of resources for adults, children and youth.
OACAS is proud to be an ally to youth and supports the encouragement of safe spaces for all young people in Ontario’s care system.