October 12, 2021 | 14:30 pm – 16:00 pm (CET Time)
Topic: “How to effectively support LGBTQI + children and youth in child protection?”
Atelier proposé par:
Elodie FAISCA (travailleuse sociale, doctorante)
Marie-Cecile PERDIZET (travailleuse sociale, étudiante en Master / DEIS)
Anna RURKA (Maîtresse de conférences à l’Université Paris Nanterre)
On 31 December 2019, the number of children receiving at least one kind of support from the child protection system is estimated at 312,500 throughout France (excluding Mayotte). On the same date, the number of young adults concerned by such support is estimated at almost 24,700 in France (excluding Mayotte), which represents 10.2 ‰ of young people aged 18 to 21. Despite the implementation of a national system (OLINPE), the difficulties of producing knowledge concerning the population of minors and adults in care persist.
The unavailability of population-based data regarding (self-declared) LGBTQI+ persons and specifically minors is striking and does not allow for an assessment of the proportion of LGBTQI+ children/young people involved in child protection services. It also makes it difficult to know whether these individuals express specific needs that could lead to the diversification of the support offered in child protection in France. However, some data from international research or public reports suggest that the support of these children and young people, although invisible due to the lack of qualitative and quantitative data, raises some questions which the workshop proposed to discuss with the professionals and persons concerned.
A recent report by the French Human Rights Defender notes that “homosexual and bisexual girls and young people are more affected” by psychological, physical and sexual violence and the study highlights that sexism and LGBT-phobia “are major factors in the emergence of violence within the family, which can go as far as endangering young lesbian and bisexual people”. The report states that in comparison, rates of reported violence during childhood can double, triple or even increase tenfold for this population (p.12). In parallel, the recent 2020-2023 National Action Plan for Equal Rights against Hate and Discrimination LGBT+ includes action to enable better care for children and young people in the context of child welfare and judicial protection of young people. In 2017, the National Observatory for Child Protection mentioned for the first time the need to take into account the diversity of sexual orientations and related issues in child protection.
An international literature review (Annie E. Casey Foundation (2016) based on 116 publications found that self-identified LGBTQI+ children / youth are significantly over-represented in the child welfare system. They are also more likely to be placed in collective care and placement disruptions than the non-LGBTQI+ children and youth. A study conducted in Los Angeles shows an over-representation of LGBTQI+ children and youth in child welfare. Between one and a half and twice more LGBTQI+ youth is reportedly in foster care compared to the general population (Wilson, Cooper, Kastanis, & Nezhad, 2014)
Beyond the representation of the LGBTQI+ population in the child welfare system, several studies examine this issue through the lens of intersectionality and some data exists on the ethnic characteristics of LGBTQI+ youth in care. Sixty-six articles from the identified literature review highlighted the risks and vulnerabilities that result from child protection care for LGBTQI+ youth. Common risks identified include homelessness, risky sexual behaviour, substance use and abuse, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, and disproportionate representation in the juvenile justice system. Mitchell et al. (2015) reported that compared to their heterosexual peers, LGBTQI+ youth have higher incidences of anxiety, depression, anger and even post-traumatic stress disorder related to abuse. LGBTQI+ youth may also have fewer opportunities to access services and resources after placement due to placement instability (Mallon, 2001, cited in Mitchell et al., 2015). The French ELAP longitudinal study and specific research on exits from child protection care point to an increased risk of wandering or homelessness for young people leaving care, and the researchers involved highlight the effect of disruptions and changes in care settings (Frechon et al., 2018; Robin et al., 2018). One study found poor economic outcomes, including job instability and lower hourly wages for LGBTQI+ youth, compared to their non-LGBTQI+ peers (Dworsky, 2013).
The reference to the international research is not intended to be comparable. Nevertheless, the findings should alert social work stakeholders and more specifically those working in child protection, regarding the specific situation and needs of this population.
The proposed workshop aims, first of all, to discuss the situation of children and young people in child protection; on the one hand, the experiences and needs of these young people and, on the other hand, the proposed supports, ethical and deontological issues, practices and legal questions that institutions and professionals are confronted with.
To this end, we propose that the workshop be organised as follows:
– Jean Jaurès Foundation LGBTQI+ Observatory (tbc) and representative of ILGA Europe (tbc) will be invited to present the data and issues identified by them regarding the subject matter.
– Common elaboration (guided by specific questions) around the situation of a young LGBTQI+ person in child protection care.
– Volunteer social workers will discuss the possible actions to be implemented regarding the specific case and more generally the conditions which need to be deployed for the benefit of young LGBTQI+ persons in the child protection system.
– Conclusion on emerging practices in social work by association “Le refuge” and the presentation of its home for LGBTQI+ children under the child protection system.
 Can be found here: Annie E. Casey Foundation (2016) LGBTQI+ in Child Welfare : A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE. https://www.aecf.org/resources/LGBTQI+-in-child-welfare
 Can be found here : Wilson, B. D. M., Cooper, K., Kastanis, A., & Nezhad, S. (2014). Sexual and gender minority youth in foster care: Assessing disproportionality and disparities in los angeles. Los Angeles, CA: The William Institute. Retrieved from: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/LAFYS_report_final-aug-2014.pdf.