This pioneering book brings together for the first time the most up-to-date information and thought on gay and lesbian youth in America. Gay adolescents need much more attention than they have been getting from social service providers, and social workers have an ethical obligation to try to meet the service needs of this population. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth is rich with insight into how gay and lesbian adolescents develop and learn to cope with the problems attendant on growing up different. Shedding new light on this previously underdefined and underserved population, the book addresses social policy issues as well as practical, hands-on counseling issues, and presents a state-of-the-art look at the literature to date. As gay and lesbian youth come out at younger and younger ages, it will be necessary for agencies to do more long-range planning as to how best to meet these adolescents’different needs. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth alerts agencies that not only are these youth among their target population, but they require special services. Throughout this book, readers can see the importance of long-range planning to meet the service delivery needs of gay adolescents and also the merits of recruiting more gay and lesbian staff to help in policy development and program design.Specific topics related to gay and lesbian adolescents that the book addresses are:
- legal issues--analyzes the feasibility of minor youth to become empowered through the court and legal systems
- suicide--challenges previously held beliefs about the suicidality of this group and calls for funding for major research in this area
- social policy--traces the history of policies typically guiding actions on behalf of gay and lesbian youth and offers guidelines for significant changes in the policy arena
- development--traces the developmental stages of gay and lesbian youth to navigate adulthood successfully
- service organizations--lays out models for developing programs throughout the country
- HIV--assesses levels of risk of HIV infection for this population and describes ways to avoid itReadership should be widespread and varied and include parents trying to understand their gay child; counselors who work with families, children, or adolescents; youth workers and child care staff; foster parents; individuals working in group homes, residential treatment centers, and psychiatric hospitals; and instructors and students in counseling, social work, psychology, child development, and law.