When you are fostering a child, there should be no difference between how you treat any of them. All of them should be met with kindness, understanding, and patience. However, there will often be times where you are in a situation that you perhaps have not had an experience with before, such as fostering a child or teenager within the LGBTQ community.
It is important to note that you have no reason to treat them any differently than you would anyone else, but you might find that you want to understand a little more about the community and how you might be able to make them comfortable. This piece will discuss foster care within the LGBTQ community and what you might need to know.
First and foremost, it is important that any child that has been placed into foster care feels like they are welcome there and that they are safe. What welcome and safe mean to each foster child can vary wildly, and it might be that a child within the LGBTQ community have felt the opposite of those directly related to their identity. Sitting down and allowing them to tell you about who they are and letting them know you are supportive could help them feel a little more relaxed. Feel free to ask them about their pronouns, and make sure it is clear that they can come to you with any issues or concerns, and you will always try to help.
Allowing someone to really express who they are and be confident is a vital point to anyone’s growth, and your home should be a place where any foster child can do that. Whether they have spoken openly to you about who they are or not, providing a wide variety of books, films, entertainment, and other representative media can help them feel seen and heard. Try to pick up on what they gravitate towards, or ask them what their favorites are, and be as inclusive as possible. If you are ready to become a foster parent, then have a look at thefca.co.uk for more information.
Nothing says “I am on your side” more than becoming an advocate. Make sure to take action where it counts. This can be anything from buying them the style of clothes or accessories they request, learning more about the community, and, more importantly, sticking up for them. This can be anything from filing petitions and raising money to have an active role in sorting out any bullying or harassment in school. Make sure they know you will not stand for it and that they are safe to be exactly who they are at home.
Members of the LGBTQ community in foster care do not need to be treated any differently to any other child. They just need someone who wants to understand, support, and care for them for who they are. Someone who is happy to listen and will be in their corner of the ring no matter what.