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Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Dufty join "Family Builders by Adoption"
in announcing new program for LGBT foster youth

New program to complement Mayor Newsom's foster youth reform initiative

Photo(s) by Stephen Dorian Miner

From the Mayor's Office of Communications

March 27, 2006

San Francisco, CA- Joined by foster care youth and supportive families, Mayor Newsom, Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of Family Builders By Adoptions, a non-profit adoption and foster care agency, announced a new program called No Place Like Home. The new program, developed by Family Builders By Adoption, will focus on providing a safe and stable foster care environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, while working collaboratively with the youth to help bring them home to a permanent family.

There are over 10,000 children and youth in foster care in the nine Bay Area counties; nearly half of them are in Alameda and San Francisco counties. It is estimated that LGBTQ youth make up between 10 and 15% of that population. LGBTQ youth are more likely than other foster youth to be placed in group homes or other congregate care facilities.

"All foster children are at risk and need safety and stability," said Mayor Newsom. "LGBTQ youth in particular, face an increased risk of violence and abuse while in foster care." Newsom continued, "I applaud organizations like Family Builders By Adoption, who have stepped up to the plate and taken a lead in providing a stable foster care environment for LGBTQ youth."

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, a strong advocate on behalf of LGBTQ foster youth stated, "Without a permanent family, all foster youth face a grim future, but life in the foster care system is especially dangerous for LGBTQ youth," Dufty continued, "We need first and foremost to insure their safety, and ultimately to find a family who will accept and love them unconditionally."

The new program also will complement Mayor Newsom's foster care reform initiatives. In November 2005, Mayor Newsom announced that San Francisco's Child's Welfare System would be implementing new measures that will provide increased focus on prevention, safety, permanency and well-being in the city's foster care system.

The new reforms are in line with the State of California's mandate, through Assembly Bill 636, to move toward a performance and outcome driven child welfare system focused on safety, permanency and well-being. San Francisco has responded by moving forward on a series of aggressive and innovative reforms that will improve the lives of thousands of families and children. The city's new foster care program is touted to become a model for the State and Country.

The City currently partners with Family Builders By Adoption to identify gay and lesbian potential adoptive parents. In addition, Mayor Newsom also indicated that the Human Services Agency will soon be issuing a Request for Proposals to select an agency to recruit and certify potential adoptive parents with a special focus on adopting older youth and on recruiting gay and lesbian adoptive parents.

The Human Services Agency's proposed budget includes two additional caseworkers who work exclusively on identifying youth in the system who are candidates for adoption. The two workers will be supported entirely with additional state adoption funding.

Jill Jacobs, Executive Director for Family Builders By Adoption added, "We're pleased that Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Dufty recognize the unique and urgent needs of LGBTQ youth in care, and we know that their support will motivate people to come forward to provide the accepting and affirming family environment our LGBTQ youth need."

Family Builders will provide training and support for families who want to provide foster care to LGBTQ youth.

For more information on LGBTQ youth in care, or to learn bout how to become a foster parent, contact Family Builders By Adoption, 528 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510.272.0204.




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