Is the foster care system friendly to prospective LGBT foster parents? What do foster parents need to consider when fostering an LGBTQ youth?

These questions and others will be answered during a special event on Sunday, June 4th from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore).

The event is organized by the LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care in partnership with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, the Baltimore County Department of Social Services, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. For more information, call 410-837-2050 x1049, or email

We asked Dawn Pipesh, a resource parent recruiter with the Baltimore County Department of Social Services, about some of the misconceptions and challenges connected to LGBT foster parenting.

What are some common misconceptions that LGBT individuals may have about the foster care system, or the chance to foster a child?

The community at large feels that foster parents have to be married, have to have a stay-at-home parent, and have to own a home – none of which are true.

What unique challenges do LGBT foster parents, or foster parents caring for an LGBT youth, face?

Like all foster parents, LGBT foster parents have the challenge of winning over the foster child and working with his or her family. They may have to help the foster child deal with their own feelings, and help them deal with the treatment they receive from others.

Why are you passionate about this topic?

I have been working in child welfare for 28 years because I love and care about children and families. I feel that every child deserves the right to be loved, accepted, and supported by their family. If they cannot live with their own family, they deserve to be happy with another. We have so many people who want to share their life with a child and deserve a chance to parent once they meet state requirements.

Why was the Baltimore Museum of Art the right setting for this event?

The BMA is an ideal place because it symbolizes beauty, creativity, individuality, and self-expression. It also symbolizes the history of the world and the changes of societal norms.

What do you hope that prospective or current LGBT foster parents, or foster parents caring for an LGBT youth, learn from this event?

I hope they learn that our agency and our community are accepting of diversity among our foster parents, just as we are accepting of the diversity of our foster children and their families. We currently have a number of LGBT foster parents and they are very supportive of each other. There are many teens who are in foster care because their family did not accept them and kicked them out of the house. These teens need to be cared for and supported by people who understand and will accept them for who they are, and we have a huge need for additional foster parents.

The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care is to provide LGBTQ individuals and their families with welcoming access to expert health information and resources that will enhance wellness and quality of life. For more information, visit