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December/January 2015Vol. 15, No. 11Los Angeles Survey of LGBTQ Youth in Care

Accurate data about the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in foster care can help practitioners and policymakers better serve this population. A recent report based on the Los Angeles Foster Youth Survey (LAFYS) sheds light on the number, demographics, and outcomes of LGBTQ youth in Los Angeles County, CA. The Williams Institute and Holarchy Consulting conducted the LAFYS as part of the L.A. LGBT Center's RISE (Recognize Intervene Support Empower) Project, which was awarded funding by the Children's Bureau through the Permanency Innovations Initiative.

The survey included 786 randomly selected youth ages 12–21 who were in foster care in Los Angeles County. Results indicate that approximately 19 percent (1,400) of the 7,400 youth in foster care in Los Angeles County identify as LGBTQ, which is between 1.5 to 2 times higher than youth not residing in foster care. Compared to non-LGBTQ youth in foster care, LGBTQ youth in foster care experience a higher number of placements and were more likely to live in a group home, be hospitalized for emotional reasons, and be homeless at some point in their life.
The report outlines implications for policymakers, caregivers, and researchers, including addressing oppressions within the child welfare system and how to improve data collection.

The report, Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Foster Care: Assessing Disproportionality and Disparities in Los Angeles, is available at

The February 2014 issue of Children's Bureau Express spotlighted LGBTQ youth and included articles about an initiative addressing the challenges affecting LGBTQ youth in child welfare settings, a guide to help child welfare professionals better care for LGBTQ youth in foster care, and more. The Spotlight section is available at