Our CASA volunteers are committed to advocating for the best interest of all the children we work with regardless of ethnicity, background, and sexual orientation.
As often as we possibly can we try to match an advocate with a similar background or life experience with each child. This can be challenging at times as the demographics of our volunteer pool do not always match the population we serve. Statistics show that 30% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQIA+(1). These youth in care often experience multiple disruptions to placements and even homelessness due to hostility towards their sexual identity or gender identity. Here at CASA we work hard to assist youth in empowerment based advocacy to provide them support and resources.
In May of this year we offered training to our CASA Volunteers to increase their knowledge in advocating for older youth at risk of aging out of the Foster Care System. Children who are in foster care when they turn 18 yrs old and have not been reunified with their parents, adopted, or become legal guardians of a relative or other caregiver are considered to “age out” which means that they are released from foster care into the world at the age of 18, often with no support or even a place to live. LGBTQIA+ are especially at risk because of the lack of available homes for this vulnerable population. The training offered to our volunteers provided education on how to advocate and mentor specifically for children in foster care over 15yrs old that are at risk for aging out. Many of the youth in this age range identify as LGBTQIA+. This month we are fortunate to have the Salus Center joining us to offer training for our volunteers on how we can best advocate for LGBTQIA+ youth that we work with.
Here are some startling facts about LGBTQIA+ youth in Foster Care:
Join us in celebrating the LGTBQIA+ youth, caregivers, and service providers this month! Happy Pride!
For more information on how to help LGBTQIA+ youth in Foster care or to learn more about LGBTQIA+ youth experiences in foster care please visit the resource links below.
NCLrights.org LGBTQ Youth in the Foster Care System
Supporting LGBTQIA+ Youth: A guide for Foster Parents:
For more information or to apply to become a casa volunteer visit our website at:
In January 2022, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) signed a settlement agreement that ends a lawsuit filed by a private child welfare agency challenging its non-discrimination policy. This settlement is the result of a 2021 unanimous Supreme Court decision that restricts MDHHS's ability to enforce its non-discrimination policy under certain circumstances. The Supreme Court decision was fatal to the success of Michigan's case. The decision can be found here:
19-123 Fulton v. Philadelphia (06/17/2021) (supremecourt.gov).
CASA acknowledges the heaviness of this decision and the impact that it may have on individuals and families who are implicated by it.
The mission of CASA for Kids, Inc. is to provide volunteer advocates to work independently for the best interests of each child of service coming under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Barry, Eaton, and Ingham County Courts due to abuse and neglect. We aim to do this for EVERY CHILD and acknowledge that historically diversity, equity, and inclusion have not always been our strengths. We can do better! We are committed to improving our diversity, equity, and inclusion education within our agency.
CASA for Kids, Inc. Barry, Eaton, and Ingham advocates for LGBTQIA+ children in the child welfare system, and we will continue to do so. We value and greatly appreciate the LGBTQIA+ foster parents and adoptive families within child welfare and our communities that are providing homes for children who would otherwise have nowhere to go. It is always CASA for Kids' goal to provide advocacy from within the child's community, and identified community. For LGTBQIA+ youth this is no different, and we are deeply grateful for our LGTBQIA+ volunteers and staff.
THANK YOU to all of our LGBTQIA+ children, caseworkers, foster families, adoptive parents, and CASA Volunteers. We greatly appreciate you; you are valued and safe here at CASA for Kids Barry, Eaton, and Ingham.
~ CASA for Kids, Inc. Staff in Barry, Eaton, and Ingham County