WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - With June being Pride Month, CASA of Red River, a local nonprofit that is often the voice for abused or neglected children in court says at the moment there's a disproportionately high number of LGBTQ children and youth in the child welfare system.
Research shows these children experience physical violence at the hands of their own family members after coming out.
It's an issue that's impacted many children that the Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church and CASA of Red River officials work to help.
"Parents rejecting their children is nothing new for the LGBTQ community," MCC Pastor Mel Martinez, said. "That is something that many of us as adults have had to survive and work through."
Pastor Martinez said children are coming out at younger ages. It's been the trend for 50 years but the rate is not the same for family acceptance, she said.
"As children are coming out or coming to awareness younger, it's not a surprise to me that more parents are rejecting their children at younger ages," Pastor Martinez said.
Alyssa Johnston, the CASA supervisor, said while lack of acceptance is the main reason why they are often in the child welfare system, locally that's not the case.
"There are other underlying issues going on and that [topic] happens to be another separate issue," Johnston said. "While they are in the system I feel like they do get a lot of support and therapy and help to understand who they are and reassure that we support them."
During Pride Month, CASA of Red River and MCC are reminding these children they are not alone.
"No matter who you are, what you've gone through, there is a church in this town who will welcome you with open arms," Pastor Martinez said.
"I think its important for the community to know these kids are no different than any other kid and they need love and support just like any other kiddo," Johnston said.
To help CASA of Red River continue helping children in our community, click here.