Achieving permanency for LGBTQ youth

Child Welfare. 2006 Mar-Apr;85(2):299-316.


This article brings together two significant efforts in the child welfare field: achieving permanence for youth in out-of-home care and meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. During the past several years, a national movement has taken place to assure all children and youth have a permanent family connection before leaving the child welfare system; however, LGBTQ youth are not routinely included in the permanency discussions. At the same time, efforts in addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth have increased, but permanency is rarely mentioned as a need. This article offers models of permanence and practices to facilitate permanence with LGBTQ youth and their families. It also offers a youth-driven, individualized process, using youth development principles to achieve relational, physical, and legal permanence. Reunification efforts are discussed, including services, supports, and education required for youth to return to their family of origin. For those who cannot return home, other family resources are explored. The article also discusses cultural issues as they affect permanence for LGBTQ youth, and, finally, addresses the need for ongoing support services to sustain and support permanency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bisexuality*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Foster Home Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Foster Home Care / organization & administration*
  • Foster Home Care / psychology
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Rejection, Psychology
  • Time Factors