Child abuse pediatrician Dr. Kirsten Simonton joined ISGMH on December 7th to present the seventh lecture in our Current Issues in LGBTQ Health series.
In her talk “LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care: Coming Out of the Margins,” Dr. Simonton shed light on the health disparities LGBTQ youth face in the foster care system. She discussed the difficulty of collecting data from this vulnerable population and shared stories from her experiences aiming to alleviate these disparities. According to Dr. Simonton, LGBTQ adolescents are more than twice as likely to be moved from their foster care placement at the request of the family. In order to achieve safe, stable living situations, Dr. Simonton stressed the importance of families providing an affirming and accepting environment for LGBTQ youth in foster care. Dr. Simonton concluded her talk by providing an overview of current LGBTQ-related policies in the foster care system and sharing best practices for child welfare agencies working to create more LGBTQ-friendly environments.
Audience members continued the conversation by emphasizing the racialized nature of the foster care system, discussing the role of the compounding effects of trauma on LGBTQ youth in foster care, and identifying gaps in existing research to inform future work.
View a recording of Dr. Simonton’s lecture here.
Our next Current Issues in LGBTQ Health lecture will feature Dr. Jennifer Brier presenting “How to Have History in an Epidemic: Can History Make You Healthy?” on February 15th. Read more about our Current Issues in LGBTQ Health lecture series and future presenters here.