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ABA the Kids Are Listening Release on Letterhead _AMY

ABA the Kids Are Listening Release on Letterhead _AMY

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Published by Narciso Aguda

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Narciso Aguda on Apr 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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American Bar Association Center on Children andthe Law Launches
“The Kids Are Listening”- A
National Awareness Campaign -to Ensure the Legal Rights and Protection of LGBTQYouthin Foster CareEscalating Concern of Bullying and DiscriminationLeads toFirst-of-its-Kind Online Program
“Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioningchildren and teens are bombarded by images and messagesthat tell them who they are is not OK.For thousands of those in foster care, the situation can be evenworse.” 
New York, April 14 2011
— The American Bar Association (ABA) Centeron Children and the Law today announced the launch of 
“The Kids areListening
,” a nationwide awareness campaign to help ensure that thethousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning(LGBTQ) children and teens who are in foster care receive the legal rightsand protection they deserve and need.This campaign on behalf of LGBTQ youth in foster care
is the first of itskind in the nation and offers free online resources and provides supportto legal and social services professionals - from judges to children’sattorneys and social services personnel - who are involved in the fostercare community.Via an online video,
“The Kids are Listening”
campaign encouragespeople of all ages and walks of life to stand up to hate speech and
Follow the campaign on Facebook
(facebook.com/KidsAreListening) andTwitter (twitter.com/kidsrlistening).
A growing coalition of support is coming from major organizations across thenation including the American Humane Association; the Anti-Defamation League;Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up Campaign; Lambda Legal; the ChildWelfare League of America
the National Association of Counsel for Children; theNational Black Justice Coalition; The National Council of Juvenile and Family CourtJudges;
the National LGBT Bar Association; Safe Schools Coalition; and the
It GetsBetter Project 
created by
syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage.
“The Kids are Listening”
campaign is part of the ABA Center on Childrenand the Law’s Opening Doors Project, which was created in 2005 toincrease the legal community’s awareness of LGBTQ youth in foster careand the unique issues they face and to provide the legal community withadvocacy tools to successfully represent these youth.“Youth in foster care grapple with serious and often devastating risk factorsincluding substance abuse, health issues, harassment in foster care andschool, and high suicide rates,“ said Mimi Laver, Director of the OpeningDoors Project
and Legal Education at the ABA Center on Children and theLaw.
“’The Kids are Listening’ 
campaign is about creating much-neededawareness in communities across America and teaching them how toaddress issues of bullying and discrimination to LGBTQ youth in a way thatcan be immediately implemented. We can all make a difference in thelives of these vulnerable children and teens – judges, lawyers, child welfareprofessionals, teachers, guidance counselors, and community membersalike.”According to Laver, recent statistics on LGBTQ youth – both in and out of the foster care system – portray a grim reality for these children and teens:2
LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse beforethe age of 12
LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide as non-LGBTQyouth
80% of LGBTQ youth reported physical violence by their families aftercoming out
Homeless youth suicide rates are more than twice as high (62%) thannon-LGBTQ homeless youth (29%)
80% of LGBTQ students reported verbal harassment at school (70%feel unsafe; 28% dropped out)
70% of LGBTQ youth in group homes reported violence based ontheir LGBTQ status
100% of LGBTQ youth in group homes reported verbal harassment
79% of LGBTQ youth were removed or ran away from placementbecause of hostility to their LGBTQ status
More than 4%-10% of LGBTQ youth in state care identify as LGBTQ
Between 11% and 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. One half of homeless kids have spent time in foster careResearch conducted by the ABA Center on Children and the Law has foundthat LGBTQ youth are less safe in foster care than other children and teens;have less of a chance of being reunified with their families or gettingadopted; and their health, emotional health and educational needs are notbeing met."It’s essential for child welfare professionals to understand what's going onin the LGBTQ community because we've been hidden in the dark for solong,” said Milan, a 19-year-old woman from Louisiana who was involved with the juvenile justice system. “There's a younger generation that'scoming behind me and they need to be well-prepared for the battles theyare about to face. But they can't do it alone. The Opening Doors Projectmade a big difference in my life because I finally got to see people cometogether to make a change in my LGBTQ community."3

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