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LGBTQ Youth Placed in Unstable Housing or Foster Care: The Disparities Only Get Worse :

February 13, 2019

There are many studies that note the increased risks lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have when it comes to substance use, mental health issues, and poorer school functioning.

There are many studies that note the increased risks lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have when it comes to substance use, mental health issues, and poorer school functioning. One understudied area is whether LGBTQ have stable housing. To explore this, Baams et al. (10.1542/peds.2017-4211) share with us the results of analyzing more than 895,000 students in California who completed the cross-sectional California Health Kids Survey between 2013 to 2015, administered in more than 2600 middle and high schools across the state.  Sadly, LGBTQ have a higher risk of living in unstable housing or foster care compared to those who are not LGBTQ (30.4% and 25.3% versus 11.2%).  Youth in unstable housing also reported worse school functioning, more substance abuse, and increased mental health problems compared to those in stable housing.  Problems such as more school fights, victimization, and mental health problems also were noted to be significantly worse in LGBTQ youth in foster care compared to those in stable housing or even heterosexual youth in foster care.  The study contains a lot more data highlighting some worrisome disparities for LGBTQ youth in unstable housing or foster care—underscoring the importance of assessing home environments.  Link to this study and learn what you can do to help reduce the disparities that exist for LGBTQ youth, especially when placed in an unstable housing or foster care environment.

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