The American Bar Association has launched “The Kids are Listening,” a national social media campaign that features a new anti-bullying video, a new website, and a call to action for lawyers, judges and community members aimed at delivering positive messages to LGBTQ youth.
The campaign is part of the ABA Center on Children and the Law’s Opening Doors Project, which was created in 2005 to increase the legal community’s awareness of LGBTQ youth in foster care and the unique issues they face and to provide the legal community with advocacy tools to successfully represent these youth.
“Youth in foster care grapple with serious and often devastating risk factors including substance abuse, health issues, harassment in foster care and school, and high suicide rates,“ said Mimi Laver, Director of the Opening Doors Project and Legal Education at the ABA Center on Children and the Law.
According to Laver, recent statistics on LGBTQ youth -– both in and out of the foster care system — portray a grim reality:
- LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse before age 12.
- LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide as non-LGBTQ youth.
- 80% of LGBTQ youth reported physical violence by their families after coming out.
- 80% of LGBTQ students reported verbal harassment at school — 70% feel unsafe; 28% dropped out.
“’The Kids are Listening’ campaign is about creating much-needed awareness in communities across America and teaching them how to address issues of bullying and discrimination to LGBTQ youth in a way that can be immediately implemented. We can all make a difference in the lives of these vulnerable children and teens –- judges, lawyers, child welfare professionals, teachers, guidance counselors, and community members alike,” said Laver.