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OPRE Releases Brief on Economic Well-Being of LGB Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care

Adoption, Foster care

Photos of teens sitting in a park.OPRE released a research brief this week titled, “The Economic Well-Being of LGB Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care.” The brief describes the characteristics and economic well-being of young people aging out of foster care who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). It also compares their self-sufficiency to that of their heterosexual peers also aging out of care. Some key findings include:

  • LGB respondents had experienced more foster care placements, on average, than their heterosexual peers
  • LGB youth may be at significant risk of not achieving self-sufficiency as they transition to adulthood
  • At age 21, 60 percent of study participants who responded as LGB were currently employed, with an average wage of less than $8 per hour, and nearly one quarter had zero earnings in the past year
  • 61 percent of LBG respondents had experienced financial hardships, such as not having enough money to pay rent or utility bills; having their gas or electricity, or phone turned off; or faced eviction
  • LGB respondents were more likely to have received Supplemental Security Income and food stamps, and more likely to meet the criteria for being food insecure than their heterosexual peers

Overall, LGB youth were not, for the most part, substantially worse off economically than their heterosexual peers. The analysis found far more similarities than differences in the measures of economic well-being examined.

Naomi Goldstein is Director of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the Department of Health and Human Services. She is responsible for advising the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families on increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of ACF programs.

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