Series to recruit foster parents for LGBT youth

Series to recruit foster parents for LGBT youth

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A series of events this fall aims to educate prospective parents about the needs of LGBT youth in foster care.

The free three-session workshop will start 6-8 p.m. Sept. 18 at William Way LGBT Community Center. The effort originated from conversations between the Office of LGBT Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s not a secret that LGBTQ youth in the foster-care system have a lot of needs and one of the needs DHS has identified and has made one of their priorities is to recruit LGBTQ adults to be foster parents for these youth,” said Stephanie Haynes, a member of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs and executive director of Philly Family Pride.

The sessions are open to anyone exploring the possibility of expanding their family, Haynes said. Some youth may need temporary foster arrangements, and others, whose parents have had their rights terminated, could be eligible for adoption.

The September event will feature remarks by current foster and adoptive parents, as well as youth in the system. Guests can learn about the need for foster parents and the process, Haynes said, as well as ask questions of the panelists.

A number of organizations will be on hand to offer resources, including DHS, Valley Youth House, Turning Points for Children and Concilio.

"This first one is going to be more of an introduction to becoming a foster parent, and then for the others, we’ll decide the topics based on questions that come up,” Haynes said. “One idea would be a discussion about trans-racial adoption as a standalone topic and also the possibility of people adopting adults who have aged out of the system because there is a need for that, and a lot of people don’t realize that’s a possibility.”

The next events will be held Oct. 18 and Nov. 15, also in the Philadelphia Room at the center.

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