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Pride Month: LGBTQ+ family spotlights need for more fosters

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 21:30:02-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As we celebrate Pride Month, one local same-sex couple is raising awareness for the need of more foster parents — especially to care for LGBTQ+ youth.

Matthew and Riley Skelton became foster parents just after getting married. Now, the couple has adopted a 12-year-old, and in the process of adopting a 13-year-old. Both kids are on the LGBTQ spectrum.

"They had been moved around so much. Our second kiddo, we were their thirteenth placement since they'd been in the system. We were their fifth placement within one year. It was tough, there were a lot of behavioral challenges that led to why removal was asked, " said Riley.

However, the couple says they did not see any of the behavioral issues they were warned about beforehand. By being open and honest with their kids, it helped them to heal from their trauma.

"I am glad that they came into our home because we are a same-sex couple. We are able to identify with that, and help them grow into themselves," said Riley.

"Kids get crushes on kids all of the time. So for them to come home and say I like this person or I like this person and gender not be an issue. That is exciting for me to give to my kids because when I was kid, it wasn't OK," said Matthew.

"The Skeltons have been phenomenal foster parents because they are honest, genuine, and they're also willing to stick it out no matter what. They've had two kids in their home come in, and they've told them and professionals that they are here to stay. We can work through any behavior, and we will. We will figure it out, we will get the supports that we need, we will help them in therapy, we'll do whatever we need to do for them to be able to stay," said Bailey.

She says more than 30 percent of foster kids identify as LGBTQ+ which makes finding gender affirming homes incredibly important.

"It is very important for child placement agencies to recruit a variety of foster care parents, including LGBTQ+. We have a variety of children coming into our homes from a variety of backgrounds. Having families who will be a safe space for that child to land is important," said Bailey. "LGBTQ+ foster parents can support kids struggling with their identity by being open, understanding, and helping them figure out who they are. Just being accepting of that. LGBTQ+ foster parents have the ability to see where they're coming from because they've walked that journey so they can help those kids."

"There are moments that are absolutely exhausting, but there are moments that make it so worth it. There are those challenging moments but they get less and less as the kid continues to grow and work past their trauma.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, visit the Kids Crossing website.