TOKYO — Nearly half of foster care facilities for children across Japan say they have accepted children believed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a survey by an organization that supports same-sex foster parents and LGBT young people.
Rainbow Foster Care found 99, or 45 percent, of 220 foster care facilities that responded to its postal survey between November and December last year said they had accepted LGBT children or those believed to belong to such groups.
Among the 99 facilities, 23, or 10.5 percent, said they were currently caring for LGBT children, 63, or 28.6 percent, said they had done so previously, and 13, or 5.9 percent, said they are and have done so in the past. The poll covered 601 facilities across Japan.
Of the 99, 66 facilities said they had addressed LGBT issues in staff meetings or consultations with children being cared for.
At 29 facilities, LGBT children’s specific needs such as special consideration regarding bathing or dressing as well as hairstyle and clothing preferences had been accommodated, according to the survey.
Thirty facilities said they had not addressed LGBT issues, citing reasons such as the children had not brought up the issue. Three facilities did not provide answers to the question.
In the survey, a total of 119 facilities responded to questions on difficulties and concerns faced in addressing LGBT issues.
Many voiced worries about accepting LGBT children, saying accommodating their need for privacy was difficult as they could not provide individual rooms or bathing areas.
Also, some found it difficult to explain the situation of LGBT children to others and requested education and training for facility officials as their awareness of sexual diversity was not high.
Megumi Fuji, head of Rainbow Foster Care, said, “We will further investigate the situation and use (information) to reduce anxiety” at foster care facilities.