Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers in Child Welfare, a first-of-its-kind report highlighting more than 70 child welfare agencies across the country that partnered with the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) project to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community, including LGBTQ youth, children in foster care, and prospective foster and adoptive parents. These organizations serve more than 350,000 clients annually in 23 states, and employ nearly 11,000.
“Thousands of committed professionals – from frontline workers to executives – know that LGBTQ youth are perfect just the way they are and that removing barriers for potentially qualified LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents is in the best interest of children,” said Alison Delpercio, Director of the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families Project. “While some of these agencies are taking their first steps toward inclusion and others have been leaders in innovating new approaches, more agencies should look to the policies and practices these organizations are implementing to protect against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and meaningfully engage their communities.”
The agencies featured in this report conducted an internal self-assessment, provided professional development to staff and implemented ACAF’s “Benchmarks of LGBTQ Inclusion,” which track policy and practice changes within agencies. Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers features three “Tiers of Recognition,” which celebrate the strides agencies have made toward becoming fully LGBTQ welcoming and affirming:
ºBuilding a Foundation for Inclusion: 14 organization
ºSolid Foundation for Inclusion: 25 organizations
ºInnovative Inclusion: 32 organizations
The report also features profiles of child welfare organizations that are setting the bar for LGBTQ inclusion, as well as profiles of the LGBTQ youth and clients they serve. Those featured include: Adams County (Colo.) Department of Human Services – Children & Families Division; Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky/CHNK Behavioral Health (Ky.); Children’s Home Society of Florida; Fostering Futures of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Lutheran Child & Family Services of Illinois; and Prince George’s County (Md.) Department of Social Services.
This work could not be more important. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care and face increased risk of both negative experiences and outcomes:
ºUp to 30% of youth in foster care are LGBTQ;
ºLGBTQ youth are twice as likely to report being treated poorly as their non-LGBTQ peers while in care;
ºLGBTQ youth have a greater average number of placements than their non-LGBTQ peers;
ºLGBTQ youth are more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to be placed in congregate care, including group homes.
Since 2007, hundreds of child welfare agencies across the U.S. have used ACAF’s resources to enhance their efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for LGBTQ youth and families. This new effort marks a major step toward improving the services provided to LGBTQ youth and prospective parents.