Red Deer group home for LGBTQ youth preparing to open

Welcoming gender diverse from across Alberta

Alberta’s first group home for LGBTQ children and youth anticipates its first client will move in late January.

Haven, located in Red Deer and operated by Heritage Family Services, will have bedrooms for three clients once upgrades are complete. The group home is open to children and youth, age 12 to 17, from across Alberta as well as outside the province. A 16- and a 15-year-old, both from the Edmonton area, are already scheduled to join Haven.

Shay Vanderschaeghe, program co-ordinator, said conditional licences are in place for Haven to welcome clients as early as Jan. 2, but it does take time to do the required paperwork.

“Haven is a house for LGBTQ youth who are in care. These are youth, for whatever reason, who are no longer living with their family or with any kinship guardians and are needing a place to live,” Vanderschaeghe said.

She said co-ordinating school transfers are required and Red Deer Public Schools has done some great work around sexual orientation and gender identity in its schools.

“We know that the youth that we’ll be supporting will also be supported in the school district, which is wonderful. We’re excited to be able to create this great space.”

In November, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate released its report – Speaking Out: A Special Report on LGBTQ2S+ Young People in the Child Welfare and Youth Justice Systems – recognizing the need for supportive living options for LGBTQ2S+ children and youth in foster care and group homes.

Vanderschaeghe said group homes are absolutely needed in Edmonton, Calgary and the six other major communities in Alberta. But for now, Child and Family Services and the Office of the Child Youth Advocate are not aware of any other specialized group homes besides Haven.

“It’s really hard to manage bullying in an environment where you have youth, so specializing is kind of the way to go sometimes.

“There have been programs specializing with Indigenous youth. There are programs specializing with youth with disabilities. This specialized population deserves to have some specialized programming as well.”

She said ultimately, foster care is better at providing a home-like environment, and she welcomes questions from those interested in learning about LGBTQ foster parenting.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

In his 40 years in basketball, nothing Chuck Swirksy has seen compared… Continue reading

Canadian officials say more coronavirus cases expected but risk ‘remains low’

The first Canadian patient diagnosed with coronavirus began showing signs of illness… Continue reading

Quebec police divers find final sunk snowmobile amid search for missing tourists

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — Divers with Quebec’s provincial police say they have located… Continue reading

Personal spending a party matter, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer declined Saturday to shed any light… Continue reading

Human remains found in burned Alberta hotel after ice thaws enough to permit search

WETASKIWIN, Alta. — Police in Alberta say that after a week of… Continue reading

Country music fans enjoy free concert at Red Deer mall, ahead of ACMA awards

Fans like to get up close and personal and that’s exactly what… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 1 A Jump Rope Competition will be held at the Abbey… Continue reading

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter killed in crash

A source familiar with the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant says… Continue reading

Ex-NBA star Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five… Continue reading

Canucks, Oilers, Flames primed for mad dash in congested Pacific Division

Matthew Tkachuk doesn’t need to be reminded of the Pacific Division’s razor-thin… Continue reading

Canada’s Drury wins silver and Thompson takes bronze at ski-cross World Cup

IDRE FJALL, Sweden — Toronto’s Kevin Drury won silver in the men’s… Continue reading

Officials track passengers on flight with coronavirus patient

Public health officials were working Sunday to track down some of the… Continue reading

Get coronavirus information from credible sources: public health officials

TORONTO — Even before Canada’s first coronavirus case was announced in Toronto… Continue reading

Deputy prime minister asks Opposition not to delay new NAFTA

OTTAWA — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is asking the Opposition parties… Continue reading

Most Read