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Foster family provides safe, welcoming home for LGBTQ+ teens

Lauren Coon and Susan Jones hope by sharing their story it will encourage others to consider becoming foster parents to help meet the need.

BROWNSVILLE, Ohio — One Brownsville couple is working to provide a safe and welcoming space for teens who need a home. They hope by sharing their story, it will encourage others to consider becoming foster parents, as the need is great in Ohio.

In Lauren Coon and Susan Jones' home differences are celebrated. They're a rock for teens who need a home. Teens in the foster care system, who coincidentally are also members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The majority of them have been which I think is great and is great for them too,” said Coon. “Like 'two moms that's awesome.'”

“They immediately feel more comfortable I think with that,” said Jones.

Teens who may feel different from their peers. Exploring who you are at a young age can be tough.

But thanks to a little explorer named Pico, some of their foster teens have been able to feel at ease.

When he’s not getting into mischief, their hairless pet cat loves spending time with the new faces he shares a home with.

“He is just so open to new people and I think he does help break the ice a lot of times with every kid that's come in,” said Coon.

Warm, welcoming, and--

“Like, 'you have a hairless cat, that's weird,'” added Coon.” But it really helps.”

A little help is what Lauren and Susan needed themselves to become foster parents.

“My very first question was are we even able to foster?” explained Jones. “It's really sad that I would even have to ask that.”

They turned to The Buckeye Ranch.

"It's interesting that we even have to talk about it,” said Amy Nims, director of Foster Care at Buckeye Ranch. “Like it's just another couple who are taking care of our kids."

A resource that provides support to a network of hundreds of foster families across the state.

"To make sure every kid is accepted,” said Nims.

Acceptance and--

"They just want love,” said Coon.

The foundation for this foster family.

“If they've never been taught how to love somebody or how to act like that, that's really what the issue is,” said Coon. “And if you're willing to give that and you have a little space then I don't see why not."

Earlier this month, President Biden signed an executive order to support LGBTQ+ children and families. Included in that -- a new initiative to protect foster youth and eliminate other disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the child welfare system.

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