Supporting LGBTQ+ Foster Teens: Development of a Relationship-Focused, Self-Guided Curriculum for Foster Families

Sex Res Social Policy. 2020 Jun;17(2):239-251. doi: 10.1007/s13178-019-00387-z. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Abstract

LGBTQ+ youth are over-represented in the foster care system. Child welfare systems across the country have been struggling with how to make their systems work better for the LGBTQ+ youth they serve. One strategy is developing foster caregiver trainings that bolster caregivers' knowledge and support of LGBTQ+ youth in their care. This study has three aims: (1) to provide an overview of a module designed to support relationship building between LGBTQ+ youth in foster care and their caregivers, (2) to describe the theater testing procedure used to assess usability of the developed module with foster caregivers and adults, and (3) to share the results of the theater test. Overall, participants provided positive usability feedback about the module activities, as well as a wide variety of recommendations for strengthening the content for widespread use. Participants felt the module should be directed specifically toward caregiver skill development rather than toward both caregiver and youth support. This module represents one example of how materials focused on building foster caregivers' knowledge and support have the potential to help LGBTQ+ teens who are overrepresented in the foster care system.

Keywords: LGBTQ youth; SOGIE; foster care; foster parent training; intervention development; parenting intervention; usability testing.