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Episode 239 - Dr. Nicholas Forge and Dr. Robin Hartinger-Saunders: Homeless LGBTQ Youth with Child Welfare System Involvement: Using Lived Experiences to Inform Practice

Monday, May 07, 2018, 7:49:09 AM

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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.

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Average Rating: 4.8 stars (5 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  trauma-informed care, Monday, February 10, 2020

By Sukhman :

The podcast did a great job at educating the listener on many of the issues that LGBTQ youth face in the foster care system. The high levels and percentages of abuse experienced by this population is already shocking, but knowing that a lot of this abuse continues into and at times worsens within the child welfare system is startling. Re-traumatization is another key issue that the podcast brings to light. From the study discussed within the podcast we see that abuse becomes intensified with individuals who belong to other marginalized populations. LGBTQ youth are less likely to be reunified with their families or adopted into new families. There is a distinct lack of acceptance and isolation from peers, case workers, foster parents, etc.
The macro level issues that we must deal with and work on are carefully laid out within the podcast. With a population that has faced so much trauma and continues to face trauma it is important that all providers should be trained in trauma informed care. This must be done so as to cease any re-traumatization that the person comes across in the system.

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Average Rating: 5stars  highly informative , Sunday, February 10, 2019

By Rasheeda L. :

I found the podcast with Dr. Forge and Dr. Hartinger-Saunders to be very insightful and pertinent to social workers for working with youths who identify as LGBTQ. I found it interesting that most LGBTQ youth have had contact with the child welfare system and for the most part have had negative experiences. It’s alarming that so many of these youth have experienced abuse, alienation, rejection and bullying by their caregivers based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Many of these youths end up leaving their home due to these issues. What’s even more alarming is that homeless LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience sexual violence and victimization than homeless youth who identify as heterosexual.

The researchers raised a valid point that being aware of past trauma allows social workers to be proactive in linking the youths to the appropriate services because they may require a variety of services such as mental health and substance abuse. I have recently had the opportunity to work with homeless youths in my field placement and think that it is important to have an awareness to the trauma experienced by homeless youth especially LGBTQ homeless youth. It has been my experience that LGBTQ homeless youth have gone through significant trauma because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and require a degree of empathy and understanding. . I agree with the fact that it is imperative for social workers to approach work with youths from a trauma informed perspective and to recognize the past trauma the youths have likely experienced. Doing so can greatly reduce the likelihood of re-traumatizing the youth who have already experienced a great deal.



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Average Rating: 4stars  cultural humility when interacting with the lgbtq youth population., Thursday, January 31, 2019

By Anonymous :

LGBTQ youth are over represented in the homeless population. This has stemmed from simply identifying as being a part of this population and multiple factors such as conflicts with their families and feeling as if they do not belong which can result in harassment and abuse. I greatly appreciated and was drawn to the statement made by Dr. Nicholas Forge as considering the youth as "experts in their own life". This was important, and a form of cultural humility, as they were allowing the youth to tell their own stories and how they preferred to be interacted with. This gave them agency in this process.

The importance of the understanding of trauma-informed practice is paramount in the field of social work. Due to their over-representation, it is very likely that social workers, on various levels and in different agencies, will encounter these youth. It is important to be empathetic to their situation, and not re-traumatize them in terms of bias and discrimination. As many of these youth have experienced in one way or another a type of social worker, they may come with defense strategies and it is important to respond appropriately and not enhance their feelings of neglect and isolation.

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Average Rating: 5stars  excellent presentation!, Thursday, January 31, 2019

By Alicia :

The research findings presented by Drs. Forge and Hartinger-Saunders in this podcast are both informative and alarming. LGBTQ youth were found to be over represented as compared to the general public in the research sample of over 600 homeless youth from the Atlanta area. Those who identified as LGBTQ were often rejected from their families and homes as a direct result of that identification. In every area questioned, LGBTQ youth experienced child abuse, violence in the home and neighborhoods, and sexual violence while homeless at significantly greater rates than their cis, heterosexual, homeless counterparts. They also experienced a greater amount of bullying and harassment from their peers and caregivers. LGBTQ youth are less likely to experience permanent placement in the foster care system or reunification with their biological families. A disheartening finding is that many of these youth view the streets as being safer than providers and programs offered to them.

From these findings, it is obvious that there are systemic issues which need to be changed. Several suggestions were presented for social workers as a result of the research findings. Social workers need to be aware of this population and work to understand their complex issues with cultural humility. Homeless LGBTQ youth have experienced cumulative trauma and are in need of targeted, trauma informed, best practice interventions. Drs. Forge and Hartinger-Saunders addressed the need for social workers to proactively engage the biological families of these youth in difficult discussions addressing the rejection because reunification is possible. It was also suggested that social workers engage schools and law enforcement to work together to address the needs of this population.

The information presented in this podcast is an excellent starting point for social workers at all levels of practice to be informed in order to take appropriate action in this critical human rights issue.

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Average Rating: 5stars  informative session on lgbtq youth and homelessness , Wednesday, January 30, 2019

By Michael L :

This was a very informative discussion on the issues that make the LGBTQ population especially susceptible to both involvement in the child welfare system, and experiencing homelessness. Lack of social supports, lack of acceptance, vulnerability, victimization, harassment, and abuse all increase the likelihood that LGBTQ youth have some level of familiarity with the child welfare system and with homelessness. Additionally, due to the prevalence of these factors, it is more likely that LGBTQ youth have experienced trauma. The discussion emphasized the importance of noting potential trauma when working with this population and ensuring that providers are trauma informed and aware of the individual’s history when working with them, so that re-traumatization of the young person can be avoided.

The discussion also made mention of the systemic macro-level issues that need to be addressed as causes of greater instances of homelessness and familiarity with the child welfare system experienced by LGBTQ youth. It is important as social workers to bring together families, communities, law enforcement, religious, social service, and educational systems in order to raise awareness of the issue and work together to foster solutions.

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