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Disproportionate number of Iowa LGBT teens are in foster care

It is known that some children are in the foster care system because their families are struggling with the child’s sexual identity.

Iowa Kids Net says across the nation, 20 percent of kids in foster care identify as LGBT.

The group says there are a disproportionate number of LGBT teens in foster care. Less than 10 percent of the American population identifies as LGBT. But 20 percent of teens who are in foster care say they’re LGBT.

Iowa Kids Net says it’s something that’s happening in homes throughout Iowa.

“Typically if it’s a situation where the parent is saying, “I don’t agree with this”, then you’re going to have behaviors out of the child because of that conflict. Then at that point something erupts to require DHS involvement,” said Iowa Kids Net’s Christa Hefel.

That’s when the LGBT child ends up in the foster care system.
Randy is a teen from eastern Iowa who says he came out as gay to his father. He says his father didn’t accept him, so Randy lashed out and coped by abusing illegal drugs. That’s how he ended up in foster care.
“I was placed into a foster home with an amazing married lesbian couple,” said Randy.

Iowa Kids Net uses a video about Randy’s story, during its foster parent training sessions.

“We need to make sure we have foster families ready, who are ok with that and can help kids deal with that,” said Hefel.

Iowa Kids Net says the problem doesn’t end once the child turns 18. 40 percent of gay or lesbian teens who age out of the foster care system, end up being homeless adults.