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National Kinship Review
Volume 2, Issue 6 

June 2019
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Meeting LGBTQIA+ Youth in Care Where They Are
How the child welfare system can empower them, protect them and help them thrive.
Photo: visitphilly.com
LGBTQIA+ people and allies all over the world are marking this 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. 
 
In June of 1969, a police riot at the Stonewall Wall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, instigated five nights of unrest and is credited for rousing the LGBTQIA+ rights movement as we know it today. The initial riot at Stonewall was a response to the commonplace, continuous and often violent police raids on gay establishments, most resulting in arrests for being openly gay. The violence, however, impelled more activism by the gay community. Stonewall laid the foundation for what we celebrate as PRIDE today.

Cities like Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, with strong, vocal and uncloseted LGBTQIA+ cultures have been essential in the equality fight for the LGBTQIA+ community. Philadelphia, where A Second Chance, Inc., is a provider of kinship care services, is a city with tremendous resources for this marginalized population, as well as an even further marginalized population: LGBTQIA+ youth in the child welfare system.
Photo: phillygaypride.org
Data clearly demonstrates that LGBTQIA+ youth involved with the child welfare system are at especially high risk of negative outcomes. In kinship care, where the family dynamic drives empowerment, valuing families means valuing their perspective on LGBTQIA+ family and providing them with resources to address what could be a new dynamic for the kinship caregiver, birth parent and child/youth. Most families celebrate events, work through challenges and circumvent obstacles privately. System involvement, however, removes this privacy. As a result, LGBTQIA+-related situations are brought out in the open for the first time without acknowledging the family’s system involvement.   

Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have been hubs of LGBTQIA+ strength and activism for decades. Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, in fact, was the site of one of the first gay rights protests in our nation’s history prior to Stonewall, which got us thinking: What lessons can the city’s progress and current practices teach the child welfare system about LGBTQIA+ youth and how to ensure these extremely vulnerable kids are safe and can thrive, both inside and outside their placement homes, in environments that may be fraught with bigotry or even just indifference?
Photo: phillytrib.com
Leigh Braden—CEO and lead consultant at LTB Consulting LLC, as well as a prominent and very active LGBTQIA+ advocate in Philadelphia, a consultant for ASCI and a foster parent—sat down with agency leaders to attempt to answer these intimidating but crucial questions. From social workers, kinship caregivers and foster parents to child welfare administrators, Leigh’s insights and years in the field are a valuable asset to anyone serving young people who identify as LGBTQIA+. Visit our site to access Leigh’s exclusive Q&A.

Click here for international, national and local resources for LGBTQIA+ youth.
Growth Through Gardening: Empowering Communities by Providing Opportunity and Resources
In partnership with its Pittsburgh community, ASCI staff and volunteers plant veggies and fruits to address food insecurity.
Our motto is: Teach me to garden, and I will eat healthy forever.

In 2017, it was reported that 40 million people lived in food-insecure households; 9.7 million adults lived in households with very low food security; 6.5 million children lived in households where both children and adults were food-insecure; and 540,000 children (0.7 percent of the nation's children) lived in households in which one or more child experienced very low food security. 

Food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level. According to 
Hunger + Health in partnership with Feeding America, most households in urban communities fall victim to this complex issue. It does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple, overlapping issues like affordable housing, social isolation, health problems, medical costs and low wages. Many do not have what they need to meet basic needs, and these challenges increase a family’s risk of food insecurity. 
Micro-Gardening Is Empowering!

Micro-gardening is the practice of cultivating vegetables, herbs, roots and tubers in small spaces. These small spaces may be balconies, patios, rooftops or small yards, and make use of containers—anything from plastic-lined wooden crates and old car tires to plastic buckets, trash cans and wooden pallets. Micro-gardening is a community-focused solution that embraces collaboration between various sectors that share the concern of food disparity. At the same time, it prepares the youth population to tackle challenges the future may bring. 

To address food insecurity in our own Pittsburgh community, in partnership with 
Latino Health Access, ASCI has cultivated a community garden open to residents in surrounding neighborhoods as a resource for families who are food-insecure. The community garden is a peaceful, therapeutic and protected environment utilized to grow food while strengthening the bonds of community, harvesting not only fruits and vegetables, but also longtime relationships. 

To learn more about ASCI's community gardening efforts, as well as how to create your own micro-garden, please visit our website (will add link).
NEWS YOU CAN USE

AZ: Child Crisis Arizona in desperate need of foster families
CT: Middlesex United Way Guest Column: Ending homelessness for young people
LA: Landmark Church creating safe space for foster children
MN: Talking Points: Gay Couples Face Adoption And Fostering Hurdles
NY: Child Welfare Reform Advocates Achieve Historic Policy Victories in New York
OR: Oregon's Child Welfare Problems Persist, Audit Shows
SD: New Scholarship Aims to Send Former Fosters to College

US: Child Welfare Advocates Say Recreation Is Necessary for Migrant Children
US: Opinion: Fighting for Every Family
US: Remembering MaryLee Allen of the Children's Defense Fund
US: No, you can’t use predictive analytics to reduce racial bias in child welfare

Australia: Supporting the Roadmap for Reform: evidence-informed practice
 

 
 
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