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L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center wins $13-million grant to help gay foster youth [Updated]

October 1, 2010 | 11:29 am

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will receive a $13-million federal grant over five years to provide services for gay youths in the foster system, officials announced Friday.

Gay foster children are often not accepted by others in foster homes, and many face homelessness once they age out of the system. Many are vulnerable to drug addiction, crime and suicide.

"This landmark grant will fund the development of a much-needed model program to protect the health and well-being of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) foster youth — a program that will save lives, save taxpayer dollars, and could be replicated in cities around the country," said center chief executive Lorri L. Jean in a statement.

[For the record at 1:18 p.m.: A previous version spelled Jean's first name as Lorrie. It is Lorri.]

A 2001 study found that almost 80% of gay foster youths were forced to leave their placements due to hostility related to their sexual orientation. The only group home for gay youths in Los Angeles closed in 2008.

With the grant, the largest ever to a gay organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the center will aim to find ways to help gay foster youths stay in school and in homes where they are welcome into adulthood.

-- Sam Quinones