24 Child L. Prac. 1 (2005-2006)

handle is hein.journals/chilawpt24 and id is 1 raw text is: AN
Chnild Law Practice

Vol. 24 No. 1

March 2005

Helping Lawyers Help Kids

SeuigPr aec  fo  Adoescnt                          Aril 93 iaseis
Teen Sexuality and Relationships
by Rachel Feidheim

F rancie (teen in an abusive
relationship):
Francie, 16, has been living with her
older sister, Sydney, since she left
her parents' home a few months ago
because she was not allowed to see
her boyfriend. Her parents do not
approve of her boyfriend because
he is 22, has hit her on occasion,
and often stalks her during their
numerous breakups. Sydney was
often busy at work and did not have
the time or energy to monitor her
sister's activities so Francie was able
to spend time with her boyfriend.
One evening, Sydney walked in on
a fight between Francie and her
boyfriend where Francie was beaten
up and Sydney was threatened.
Unless Francie agrees to stay away
from her boyfriend, Sydney wants
her out of her apartment. Francie
has already told Sydney that she is
not interested in counseling, nor
does she want to separate from her
boyfriend.
* Like Francie, a teenager may be
in a physically, emotionally, or
sexually abusive relationship and
that may have caused friction with
her biological family. This relation-
ship might also jeopardize future
placements with a family unwilling
or unable to take on the risks associ-
ated with a dangerous partner. A
teen involved in a relationship with
someone older may have trouble
returning home or to a placement if

the relationship originated there. A
placement away from this partner
may be difficult to find.
W illow (teen in a lesbian
relationship):
Willow is a 15-year-old girl who
recently came out to her family
and friends. Her parents could not
deal with her sexual identity and
abused her physically and emotion-
ally. After entering care, she was
placed with a religious foster family
who had narrow views on sexual
identity. The family's 17-year-old
son made advances towards her as
he was intrigued by her sexual
identity. Willow did not get along
with the family and rebelled against
them and their religious beliefs. She
also displayed signs of depression
and began self-medicating with
alcohol and drugs. Eventually, she
was placed in a locked residential
treatment center for girls because
she was not able to get along with
the foster family. She is having
trouble because she is experiment-
ing with other girls in the foster
home. Her counselor is concerned
that the home is not the right place
to explore her sexuality, and she
should be focusing on other issues
at this time.
+ A teen who has identified herself
as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or
transgendered such as Willow, may
not be able to safely return home to

her family due to abuse based on
sexual identity. The same teen may
have trouble being placed outside
of the home because of prejudices
or stereotypes.
Den (teen with H1V/AIDs)
l    Ben, 14, has been living with
the same foster family for over a
year. His family threw him out of
his home because of his drug use
and promiscuous behavior. He has
recently tested positive for HIV
infection. His foster family had
been considering adopting Ben, but
upon learning the test results,
developed serious reservations.
While the family members, espe-
cially the couple's two young boys,
had grown attached to Ben, they
were concerned about his medical
(Continued on page 6)
What's Inside:
2  CASE LAW UPDATE
11 NEW IN PRINT
12  SPECIAL FOCUS:
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic Violence and
Child Maltreatment in
Native Communities
15 Q&A
What is an APPLA?

E-mail: childlawpractice@staff.abanet.org * Internet: http://www.childlawpractice.org

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