LGBTQI+ | Support Group
The LGBTQ support group for the Southern Illinois Region originated in late 2017. The group provides services to foster care youth between the ages of 13-21. Groups are currently provided by William’s and Associate and are held with support from Hoyleton Youth and Family Services Fairview Heights location once per month. The support group for LGBTQ youth was developed and introduced to help children and families with open cases within the DCFS program. Although this group began as a closed group, it has successfully evolved to include community support, mentors, and members of the family to recognize personal protection.
Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, the group met monthly in person. The group has continued to meet via Zoom meetings during shelter-in-place. Because of this group, the teens have built a shared bond, been encouraged, and the interaction between the teens allows them to share experiences and to receive mutual support.
The facilitator educates and encourages emotional support, personal protection, preservation, and achievement of permanency. The facilitator leads the youth in open dialogue, offers guidance on health and well-being, and offers a supportive space for the youth to learn and encourage each other.
A different topic of discussion is determined each month to promote dialogue between the youth about various paths available in their lives. From Being Out and Coming Out to Sexual Protection, Pride Training, Relationships, and Whether They’re Ready?
The group seeks to expand support to the youth that identifies as LGBTQ by providing a safe space for social interactions, education, increased peer contact with those in similar circumstances, and offering mentoring services from those within the LGBTQ community.
For questions or more information, contact Haili Loftin at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the LGBTQ Support Group, or to link a caregiver with the community.