Sharing Our Lived Experiences: 22 Tips for Caring for Two-Spirit and Native LGBTQ Youth in the Child Welfare System.
National Child Welfare Resource Center for Tribes. National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections.
Published: August 2014
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Hunter College School of Social Work 1280 Third Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10035
This report begins by explaining Two-Spirit is a Native American term that is usually used to indicate a person whose body simultaneously houses a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit, and that historically and culturally such people were respected and considered holy by their tribes. The challenges faced by Two-Spirit Native people today are then described and tips are provided for caring for Two-Spirit and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Native youth in the child welfare system. The tips include: promote acceptance and model respect toward differences, seek out the support sand resources needed in order to work with or care for youth, talk early and often about sexuality and development, mirror terms that the youth uses to describe themselves, support and encourage youth in exploring who they are, be aware that well-intended efforts to support cultural connection may have a hurtful impact if they add to a sense of separation or feelings of difference, keep information the youth shares about their sexual orientation or gender identity private, learn about the impact of historical and intergenerational trauma on Native Americans, be prepared to talk about bullying, avoid viewing the youth as a victim, support accessing affirming and culturally competent health, mental health, and substance abuse services and treatment, work to create visible roles for Two-Spirit and LGBTQ people in the community, support youth in creating and maintaining long-term permanent relationships with their community, work to create a sense of responsibility and long-term commitment in the community for supporting youth, and explore all available permanency options that are available. 5 references.
foster adolescents; foster parents; Native Americans; HOMOSEXUALITY; LESBIANS; GAYS; SOCIAL WORKERS ROLE