Regional listening forums: an examination of the methodologies used by the child welfare league of America and lambda legal to highlight the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care.
ABSTRACT In 2002, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund began Fostering Transitions: CWLA/Lambda Joint Initiative to Support LGBTQ Youth and Adults Involved with the Child Welfare System. To document the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, as well as identify strategies for systems improvement, initiative staff associated with the joint initiative conducted a series of Regional Listening Forums in 13 cities in the United States. More than 500 participants attended the forums, representing 22 states from every region in the country. Participants included former and current youth in care as well as the adults who work most closely with them. This article focuses on the methodologies on which the forums were developed and conducted. I realized that being gay is not my problem. It's their problem. I see it as a social disease. I try not to get involved in negative communities. But I do try to teach them. I'd rather teach them than ignore them. Otherwise, the ignorance will continue and nothing will ever be done about it.