CASA of CGS Features: Crossroads Programs in NJ Promotes Stability in LGBT Youth

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This article was written by Crossroads Programs in honor of June 3rd, LGBT Families Day, a time for bloggers of all sexual orientations and gender identities to post in support of LGBT families.

Like most teens, LGBT young people do not easily disclose their personal traumas or feelings. But it’s essential to provide these youth with the kind of safe and trauma free atmosphere in which they can feel comfortable to speak, grow and develop, asking questions and finding their way in an increasingly complex world.

The outside world offers plenty of rejection for the LGBT teen. Some national surveys report that 42% of these youth say that the community is not accepting of LGBT issues; they were twice as likely as their peers to have been physically assaulted, kicked,  shoved at school. Furthermore, LGBT youths are also statistically more likely to say that they do not plan on completing high school or going on to college.

Yet it is frequently within the household, that ostensible sanctuary for a child, in which the LGBT youth struggles the most. Over twenty-five percent say that their biggest problems are not feeling accepted by their family, trouble in school/bullying, and a fear of being out/open.

Because of denial, rejection, or even abuse, LGBT youths are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their guardians over sexual orientation and/or gender identity. As a result, figures have shown that high portions of the youth who become homeless each year are LGBT. Effectively, this causes an increase of reported illegal substance usage, suicide rates, as well as depression and other disorders. Especially troubling is the tendency for self destruction:  gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.  Nationally, LGBT account for 30% of all teen suicides each year and more than 50% of transgender youth attempt suicide

There is so much opportunity here to improve the lifestyle of those who need help! Crossroads Programs obtains a licensed network of treatment homes serving male and female youth, ages 12-21 which offers a six bed program that specializes in serving lesbian and gay youth.

This program – Project Discovery – was created in 2005 as a means to promote stability, self-sufficiency skills, and enhance permanent family/community connections within the LGBT youths. Crossroads ensures that the privacy of the individual’s sexual orientation is protected while allowing the youth to experience a normalized treatment setting in not only a home but the community as well. Through providing a positive reinforcing atmosphere and the opportunity to better each youth, Project Discovery is a chance to decrease the amount of homeless LGBT individuals and the possibility of depression, self-harm, and other hazardous behavior.

They need our help…and our Project Discovery program for LGBT youth provides that help by establishing an extensive network of foster treatment parents familiar with – and empathetic to – LGBT issues.

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