New study explores mentoring in LGBTQ foster youth

Paul, J. C., & Cruys, C. (2024). “We should be treated like we are somebody”: Building supportive relationships with LGBTQ foster youth. Family Relations.

Summarized by Megyn Jasman 


This study explored the experiences and mentoring relationships of LGTBQ foster youth. In particular, it studied how youth’s disclosure of their sexual orientation and gender identity affected the relationship.


Qualitative methods were used to gather insights into the experiences and perspectives of LGBTQ foster youth. 21 youth (17-21 years of age) were interviewed. Participants were asked to share their views on the supportiveness of their relationships with mentors, along with factors influencing these dynamics.


  • The findings reveal that while many LGBTQ youth reported supportive relationships with mentors, significant proportions also experienced a lack of support or conflict in these connections.
  • Interestingly, the transitional living staff emerged as the most supportive, while foster and group home adult caregivers were often perceived as providing the least support.
  • Facilitators to supportive relationships included empathy, kindness, affirmation of identity, and shared characteristics or experiences.
  • Conversely, barriers included discrimination, mistreatment, and a lack of knowledge about LGBTQ issues among mentors.

Implications for Mentoring:

The study underscores the importance of training and strategies to enhance supportive relationships between LGBTQ foster youth and mentors. Recommendations include providing training that fosters empathy, respect, and knowledge about LGBTQ issues among mentors, as well as implementing inclusive practices and policies within child welfare organizations.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of resources that can provide such training (see resources from Christian Rummell).