Catholic Healthcare Group Launches Support Program for Families of LGBT Youth

Saint Peter’s Healthcare System- a Catholic institution – announced it is conducting a study in cooperation with the Rutgers University School of Social Work to explore ways to help families adjust to the news that their son or daughter is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

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Known as “New Brunswick Family Solutions,” the goals of the program are: to establish a family therapy program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Brunswick-area youth in a faith-based setting; to identify promising family therapy interventions for LGBT youth that increase family acceptance and support, and to disseminate the findings in scholarly venues as well as among social service agencies, community health centers and local houses of worship (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) in order to identify community needs and plan for improved community services.

“Though ‘traditional’ Catholic teachings have been viewed by some as antithetical to LGBT behavior,” Bootkoski said, “a major tenet of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care, as set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is that society is called upon to care for the most vulnerable of its members.”

Research has shown that strong parental relationships can enhance LGBT youth resilience, insulate them from mental and substance abuse problems, and reduce HIV risk, according to Michael LaSala, Ph.D., LCSW, and a professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. LaSala is heading the research study.

“To continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” said Tabiri Chukunta, executive director of community outreach for Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, “we extend care to all people, regardless of their beliefs. Those words are at the core of our healing mission.

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