Affirming Services

LGBT2SQ-affirming and inclusive services, placements, and organizations create conditions where children and youth may feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of rejection, ridicule, disrespect, or invisibility. Inclusive environments in the child welfare system can help LGBT2SQ children and youth feel safe and respected, and reduce the potential that they may experience the risks and challenges outlined in the previous section. LGBT2SQ-affirming and inclusive services can help children and youth develop a positive sense of self, build their resilience, and make trusted connections that will be important throughout their life.

Every individual has an important role to play in creating inclusive and affirming services in the child welfare system, and supporting LGBT2SQ children and youth to be safe, and reach their full potential:

Affirming and inclusive services promote resiliency in children and youth, which research indicates improves future outcomes.60 Resiliency refers to a child or youth's ability to bounce back from tough situations and thrive.61 Promoting resiliency can decrease the likelihood of a child or youth feeling isolated and help build skills to recover from difficulties they encounter. Introducing even a few positive elements into a child or youth's life (e.g., family supports, supportive social environments) can help them bounce back, flourish, and reach their full potential.62

To be resilient, LGBT2SQ children and youth need adults in their lives who respect their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The single most common factor for children and youth who are resilient is having at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult.63

It is important to understand that resiliency in Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ children and youth will look different than in non-Indigenous children and youth. Building resiliency within Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ children and youth is dependent on access to culture and ceremony, as well as the opportunity for them to build a sense of belonging with their community. To increase resiliency in Two- Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ children and youth, it is crucial to ensure they have access to holistic supports that affirm their overlapping and intersecting identities. The importance of holistic, community-based supports to building resiliency also applies to other populations of LGBTQ children and youth (e.g., Black and racialized children and youth).

This part of the guide provides tips and resources that may be considered by families, caregivers, and child protection and residential services workers to develop, promote, and create LGBT2SQ affirming and inclusive practices. Part III covers the following topics:

Five/Fourteen

Five/Fourteen, an LGBTQ-focused foster care agency, is based in Windsor with locations in other cities across Ontario and is dedicated to providing services and support to LGBTQ and gender diverse youth in foster care. It draws its name from both the anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada, as well as the date of Ontario’s Children and Youth in Care Day, both of which fall on May 14.

For more information please visit: http://www.fostering.ca/