Illinois agency urges foster parents to take in LGBT youth

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ child welfare agency is trying to recruit more foster parents to take in homeless LGBT youth.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services held a recruitment seminar Saturday to provide prospective foster parents with information on the process. The agency said it was specifically looking for foster and adoptive families within Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The event was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

According to the department, there are an estimated 25,000 homeless youth across Illinois. Up to 40 percent of them identify as LGBT.

Jane Kelly is the agency’s statewide LGBT coordinator. She says many of these young people “are told to leave their homes by their own families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”