Dr. Nicholas Forge and Dr. Robin Hartinger-Saunders

Homeless LGBTQ Youth with Child Welfare System Involvement: Using Lived Experiences to Inform Practice

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“Our results reinforce previous research that indicates it is common for youth who are LGBTQ to report being kicked out of their homes as their primary reason for experiencing homelessness. So. . . when [social workers] are engaging with families who reject their child based on sexual orientation or gender identity, [they] really have to have the training and skills to engage families in potentially uncomfortable discussions with families around affirming the identity and meeting the needs of their children.”

Dr. Nicholas Forge &
Dr. Robin Hartinger-Saunders

In this episode, our guests Dr. Nicholas Forge and Dr. Robin Hartinger-Saunders discuss their research, which focuses on identifying factors that can lead to homelessness among LGBTQ youth with prior child welfare system involvement. Drs. Forge and Hartinger-Saunders describe the characteristics and experiences of LGBTQ youth who are homeless and explain how this knowledge can help social workers avoid retraumatization of this vulnerable population.

Nicholas Forge, PhD, is clinical assistant professor at the School of Social Work at Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University. He is co-investigator and clinical field director on the Atlanta Youth Count and Needs Assessment and was co-principal investigator on a participatory action research project involving LGBTQ homeless youth. His area of social work practice includes homeless services for LGBTQ youth and young adults. Dr. Forge provides research and evaluation consultation for a homeless service provider and the Professional Excellence Program. He currently provides social work services, staff/intern supervision, and program development at a drop-in center and housing program. He sits on the Atlanta Continuum of Care Youth Committee. Dr. Forge is currently co-investigator on a federally-funded grant investigating trafficking among youth experiencing homelessness.

Robin Hartinger-Saunders, PhD, is associate professor at the School of Social Work at Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University. She is the principal investigator and program director of the Title IV-E Child Welfare Education and Training Program at Georgia State University’s School of Social Work. She is also one of several co-investigators working on the Atlanta Youth Count and Needs Assessment. Dr. Hartinger-Saunders has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of child welfare and extensive experience collaborating with community organizations to advance child welfare practice and improve outcomes for children, youth, and families. She conducted the 2012 National Adoptive Families Study. Dr. Hartinger-Saunders and her colleague, Dr. Nicholas Forge, are currently examining trauma experienced by LGBTQ homeless youth with previous child welfare system-involvement.

Interviewer: Seventy Hall

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