From ACF, the Children’s Bureau, and the T/TA Network
Resources & Publications
Twenty Things Supervisors Can Do to Support Workers to Competently Practice with LGBTQ Children, Youth, and Families
This publication from the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections briefly highlights twenty ways that child welfare supervisors can support workers in practicing competently with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) children, youth, and families. It provides concrete tips that supervisors can utilize in their day-to-day work, in order to provide effective supervision that helps workers to enhance their skills in practicing with LGBTQ children, youth, and families and to promote an LGBTQ-affirming agency environment. (June 2014)
- Supporting Your LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents
Developed by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, this factsheet aims to help foster parents learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the child welfare system. It addresses common misconceptions about sexual orientation and gender identity, teaches foster parents about the unique risks that LGBTQ youth face and the important role they can play in reducing those risks, and provides tips for creating a welcoming home for youth. This resource outlines specific actions that foster parents can take to support their youths’ health and well-being in the community and provides links to additional resources. (May 2013)
- In-Home Services for Families of LGBTQ Youth
This issue brief on in-home services for families of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth was authored by Diane E. Elze, Ph.D. and published by the National Resource Center for In-Home Services. It addresses the role of sexual orientation and gender identity in youth homelessness, runaway behavior, and child welfare involvement; the impact of family rejection and family acceptance on LGBTQ youths; and, the promise of, and need for, in-home services for LGBTQ youths and their families. This resource provides information on research-based, family-focused interventions, as well as a listing of promising practice models throughout the country. This resource also includes an “In Practice” section, which can support professionals in self-education and self-awareness and offers tips for working with youth and families. (2012)
- Information Memorandum on LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care
The purpose of this Children’s Bureau Information Memorandum on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Foster Care is to encourage child welfare agencies, foster and adoptive parents, and others who work with young people in foster care to ensure that all children are protected and supported while they are in foster care. It includes information on workforce development; biological, relative legal guardian, and foster and adoptive parent training, support, and recruitment; and, safety of young people in foster care who are LGBTQ. It also highlights resources from NRCPFC and AdoptUsKids. (April 2011)
- NRCPFC T&TA for States and Tribes Pertaining to Working with LGBTQ Children, Youth, and Families
This document describes examples of training and technical assistance opportunities that the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections is able to provide to States and Tribes in order to promote competent and affirming services, policies, and practices for working with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) children, youth, and families. (January 2010)
- Child Welfare & Work with LGBTQ Children, Youth, and Families
This bibliography lists books, book chapters, and peer reviewed professional articles on social work/child welfare practice with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) children, youth, and families. All of the resources were authored by Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, Executive Director of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, and Professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work. (1992-2010)
NRCPFC Information Packets
- Bullying and the Child Welfare System
This NRCPFC Information Packet provides information and statistics on bullying, including cyber bullying and bullying pertaining to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) youth. It explores characteristics of individuals who bully and are being bullied, and explains why bullying is an important and relevant topic in child welfare. It describes things parents, caregivers, child welfare staff, and other professionals working with youth can do to prevent bullying and/or to intervene effectively when bullying is taking place. Additional resources are also provided. This publication was originally authored by Susan Dougherty in 2007, and then updated by Erica Wolff in 2011, and Lyn Ariyakulkan in 2013. (Rev. February 2013)
- LGBTQ Youth Permanency
This NRCPFC Information Packet includes: an overview of LGBTQ youth permanency issues; facts and statistics; best practice tips; information on approaches being utilized by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services; a listing of websites and resources; information on relevant legislation and policy; and, a bibliography. This publication was authored by Jesse Yarbrough and edited by Lyn Ariyakulkan. (June 2012)
- LGBTQ Youth and Spirituality
This NRCPFC Information Packet opens with an introduction to the topic of LGBTQ youth and spirituality, followed by a bibliography, and the following website resource listings: LGBTQ Youth and Allies Resources; LGBTQ and Spirituality Resources; LGBTQ Resources by Faith. This publication was authored by Noam Tidhar. (April 2009)
Trauma-Informed Practice with LGBTQ Young People in Foster Care
Dr. Gerald Mallon presented this PowerPoint on Trauma-Informed Practice with LGBTQ Young People in Foster Care at the Indiana State Conference on Trauma in Child Welfare, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The PowerPoint discusses levels of trauma, physical and emotional reactions to trauma, LGBTQ adolescents' internal and external reactions to trauma, and trauma-informed care for LGBTQ youth in foster care, and provides recommendations for competent practice with LGBTQ youth. (May 2014)
Clinical Issues in Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender and Questioning Youth
Developed by Dr. Gerald P. Mallon, Executive Director of the National Center for Child Welfare Excellence (NCCWE) and the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC), this PowerPoint presentation provides an overview of significant developmental issues for LGBTQ youth, explores various clinical issues for LGBTQ youth, and shares intervention strategies and implications for practice. This presentation was delivered at Grand Rounds for Psychiatric Interns at the Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana. (May 2014)
- Caring for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care
This PowerPoint presentation by Tracy Serdjenian, LMSW, Director of Information Services, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, provides foundational knowledge about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth, as well as strategies for working with LGBTQ youth in foster care and their birth families and foster families. The section on foundational knowledge addresses the importance of competence in working with LGBTQ youth, affirming language, experiences of LGBTQ youth, and coming out. The second section provides information on LGBTQ youth in foster care, approaches to working with birth families of LGBTQ youth, tips for child welfare professionals, and tips for foster parents. It was presented at the Wisconsin Annual Statewide Foster Care Coordinators Conference. (September 2013)
Scenarios/Questions from Session on Caring for LGBTQ Youth
During the conference presentation, several questions and scenarios were raised by session participants. This document summarizes several issues raised and provides relevant information, suggestions, and resources. (October 2013)
- Sticks and Stones Can Break Your Bones: The Bio-Psycho-Social Consequences of LGBT Bullying
This PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, Director of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, provides information on bullying, focusing on bullying and LGBTQ youth and discussing the impact of bullying and harassment on the education and mental health of LGBTQ youth. It provides information on what we can do to help, as well as additional resources. This PowerPoint was presented on March 14, 2011 at the Dominican College Social Work Program Community Day Event. (Last Updated: June 2011)
- Facilitating Discussion of Transgender Issues: A Primer
This PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, Director of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, provides information on strategies that are useful in creating an environment conducive to discussion of transgender issues with adolescents. It addresses the following topics: Active demonstration of transgender awareness and sensitivity; routinely screening for gender concerns; dilemmas in diagnosis of gender concerns in adolescence; and, conducting a detailed trans-inclusive psychosocial evaluation. (2011)
- Working with GLBTQ Children, Youth, and Families
This NRCPFC presentation by Dr. Gerald Mallon addresses the following topics pertaining to working with GLBTQ children youth, and families: basic knowledge, language/symbols, coming out/found out, adaptations for GLBTQ persons, and, assessment & interventions.
Webinars, Webcasts, and Videos
Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression in Child Welfare
The NRCPFC recorded this two-part webcast series at Family Builders in Alameda County in California. Family Builders is an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) affirming organization that works to provide permanent families for children and youth in the foster care system through a number of different programs and services, with a focus on permanency for older youth.
- Part 1: Youth, Parent, and Worker Perspectives
In this webcast, Dr. Mallon speaks with three people – a gay youth, a parent of a transgender child, and a staff person – who share their experiences and perspectives as they relate to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, child welfare, and child/youth well-being:
- Cici, a 20 year old young person, shares experiences: in foster care, with an adoptive family that didn’t work out, with biological family members, coming out, dealing with people’s reactions to Cici's gender expression, and hopes and dreams for the future.
- Lahoma, the mother of Tracy*, a nine year old, male to female transgender child, discusses the process of learning about Tracy’s gender identity and supporting her in her development, including facilitating her transfer to a new school after she experienced repeated bullying which was dismissed by school administrators.
*Name has been changed for the webcast to protect her privacy.
- Amber, the LGBTQ Family Advocate for the Youth Acceptance Collaborative at Family Builders, discusses her work with families and child welfare workers to help them support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) children/youth, as well as her work with LGBTQ children/youth in the child welfare system. (February 4, 2014)
- Part 2: Organizational Issues
This webcast focuses on a Title IV-E waiver-funded project called the Youth Acceptance Collaborative, which is a partnership between Alameda County Social Services, Family Builders, and BAYC (Bay Area Youth Center). They focus on organizational issues and how this collaboration benefits the assessment and placement of LGBTQ youth in care. The Youth Acceptance Collaborative is focused on the assessment and placement of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth in care. In this webcast, Dr. Mallon speaks with Jill Jacobs, the Executive Director of Family Builders, about the process of starting the Youth Acceptance Collaborative, as well as the roles of the LGBTQ Youth Advocate and LGBTQ Family Advocate in working with LGBTQ and gender non-conforming children/youth, their birth families, and group homes. Dr. Mallon and Jill Jacobs emphasize the importance of focusing on permanency for LGBTQ and gender nonconforming youth, including the need to work with birth families to support reunification and to identify and develop affirming families for those LGBTQ children/youth who cannot be reunified. Next, Dr. Mallon speaks with Mia Buckner-Preston, Program Manager, Placement and Transition Services, Alameda County Social Services Agency, about the Assessment Center and the LGBTQ Youth and Family Advocates, and the benefits of this approach in terms of promoting permanency and meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth. Mia Buckner-Preston describes how Title IV-E funding was utilized to support innovative partnerships and projects to better serve specific target populations, including LGBTQ youth. (February 11, 2014)
- NRCPFC Webcast: True Colors – Building Connections between Youth in Care and Mentors
In this webcast, NRCPFC staff, Tracy Serdjenian and Benjamin Muhammad, talked with Robin McHaelen, True Colors Executive Director, and Christopher Armstrong and Hiram Ortiz, a mentor/mentee pair from the True Colors Mentoring Program. They discussed programmatic mentorship as an opportunity for a youth in care to develop a positive, caring relationship with an adult who can offer support, guidance, encouragement, and connectedness. They also talked about the development and approach of the True Colors mentoring program, including how the program works with and prepares mentors. True Colors manages Connecticut’s only LGBT mentoring program. (February 2012)
- NRCPFC Webcast: Working with LGBTQ Youth
This webcast focused on working with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth in the child welfare system. The presenters identified and explored practice issues, shared resources, and discussed practice skills necessary for workers to competently engage and support LGTBQ youth in the child welfare system utilizing an affirming, strengths-based approach. This free webcast was offered by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, in partnership with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Opening Doors for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care Project. Presenters: Gary Mallon, DSW, Director, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, and Julia Lathrop Professor of Child Welfare & Mimi Laver, Director, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Opening Doors for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care Project. (June 2011)
- Working with Transgender Youth in Foster Care and Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
This NRCPFC webcast focused on working with transgender youth in foster care and runaway and homeless youth programs. Dr. Mallon, Director of the NRCPFC, and his guest, Inkera Jordan, discussed some of the potential needs of this population. Dr. Mallon and Ms. Jordan focused on practice skills and enhancing competency in working with transgender and gender non-conforming youth utilizing a strengths-based approach. (May 18, 2011)
- NRCPFC Toolkit for Practitioners/Researchers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY)
This National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) toolkit for practitioners/researchers working with LGBTQ RHY draws findings from first-hand accounts from interviews, literature reviews, and empirical research. The toolkit is infused with cultural considerations, recognizing the diversity of the LGBTQ RHY population. It outlines specific evidence-based and evidence-informed programs, practice models, and assessment/evaluation tools that are currently being used by agency staff working with LGBTQ RHY. It highlights available cultural sensitivity and standards of care training curricula for staff and youth from LGBTQ RHY-serving agencies and includes sample agency non-discrimination policies. This resource includes the following sections: Glossary; Introduction; LGBTQ RHY Population; Promising Practices with LGBTQ RHY – Telephone Interviews; Policy/Legislation for LGBTQ RHY; Service Gaps/Limitations; and, Directions for Future Research and Inquiry. This publication was authored by Kristin M. Ferguson-Colvin, Ph.D. and Elaine M. Maccio, Ph.D. (September 2012)
From Collaborating Organizations
Evidence-Based Practice, Research, and Reports
Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees
Published by Mathematica Policy Research, this report summarizes findings from four case studies of the Administration for Children and Family’s Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program grantees serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The purpose of the study was to learn about programs’ strategies for identifying and serving LGBTQ RHY, the challenges programs face in understanding and addressing the needs of this population, and potential areas for future research. Findings are presented on the following four topics: (1) agencies’ collection and use of data on clients’ sexual orientation and gender identity; (2) providers’ assessment and perceptions of ne,eds and capacities among LGBTQ RHY; (3) providers’ approaches to serving LGBTQ RHY; and (4) providers’ perceptions of research gaps and data needs related to services for LGBTQ RHY. Issues for policy makers and practitioners to consider related to serving LGBTQ RHY are also provided. (February 2014)
- The Economic Well-Being of LGB Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care
This brief describes the characteristics and economic well-being of young people aging out of foster care who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). It also compares their economic self-sufficiency to that of their heterosexual peers also aging out of care. The analysis uses data from the Midwest Study of Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth, a longitudinal study that followed a sample of young people from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin as they transitioned out of foster care and into adulthood. This brief was written as part of the Youth Demonstration Development project being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. (2013)
- Revolving Doors: LGBTQ Youth at the Interface of the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems
Given their capacity to mask, mute, and bureaucratize the human voice, institutional settings remain particularly potent spaces for the interpersonal and systemic enactment of homophobia and transphobia. Tremendous obstacles exist in providing effective, high-quality services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) adolescents in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This article reviews and critically analyzes the small body of literature pertaining to LGBTQ youth in the foster care system within the United States. It identifies systemic biases shared between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The article concludes with suggestions for policy reform and argues for the need to embrace an intersectional lens in child welfare and juvenile justice research, policy, and practice. This article was authored by Sarah Mountz and published in the LGBTQ Policy Journal at the Harvard Kennedy School – 2011 Edition. (2011)
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression in Social Work Education: Results from a National Survey
This report from Lambda Legal and the Council on Social Work Education features the results of a study to determine the level of preparation for social work students to serve LGBT individuals and LGBT youth in out-of-home care. This survey of more than 600 social work programs revealed that program directors need more resources to increase their knowledge on sexual orientation and gender expression and to further infuse content on LGBT individuals and youth throughout curricular areas. The report includes recommendations that social work schools can adopt to better prepare the next generation of child welfare advocates and other service providers to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care and LGBT communities more generally. (2009)
- An Epidemic of Homelessness
This study from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless reviews the available academic research and professional literature to answer some basic questions, including why so many LGBT youth are becoming and remaining homeless. (2007)
- Out of the Margins
The Child Welfare League of America published this report on Regional listening forums highlighting the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care. The information was gathered during 13 listening forums in 2003 and 2004 attended by more than 500 people in 22 states, including social workers, service providers, administrators, caregivers, and LGBTQ youth who are or were in care. (2006)
Out of the Margins builds on Lambda Legal's publication, Youth in the Margins, a tool aimed at providing child welfare administrators with recommendations on policies, training, and services to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in care. (2001)
- Lesbian and Gay Adolescents: Identity Development
This article from the Prevention Researcher discusses the difficulties faced by lesbian and gay adolescents, who must often learn to manage a stigmatized identity without active support and modeling from parents and family. The conclusion, that “access to adult and peer support, accurate information and resources can help enhance coping skills, self-esteem and positive help-seeking behaviors” is an important reminder to those who work with these young people. (2001)
Resources & Publications
Caring for LGBTQ Children & Youth: A Guide for Child Welfare Providers
The All Children - All Families project's “Caring for LGBTQ Children & Youth” guide for child welfare providers provides information about the care and support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning children and youth in out-of-home care.
Unfortunately, we know LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system and often face discrimination and mistreatment in out-of-home care. This guide includes information on terminology and several basic, but key, tips on how to best support and care for LGBTQ children and youth. Also included are resources and helpful websites for more information to competently serve all children and youth in care, including those who may identify as or be perceived as LGBTQ.
New Resource: Caring for LGBTQ Children & Youth
State Child Welfare Policies Concerning LGBTQ Youth
A resource of the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s (CSSP) new get R.E.A.L. initiative, this table outlines various State child welfare policies that concern LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth in areas of public accommodations, general social services, specific child welfare services and programs, foster care (including child care centers, housing, and training), juvenile detention/services, school and educational facilities, and social worker guidelines. (Current as of August 2013)
- Guidelines for Managing Information Related to the Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity and Expression of Children in Child Welfare Systems
This publication proposes standards governing the management of information related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression of children and youth in the child welfare system. It includes an introduction to the topic and the process by which the guidelines were developed, followed by the following sections: Guiding Principles; Laying the Groundwork for Implementation; and, Information Guidelines. Wilber, S. Putting Pride into Practice Project, Family Builders by Adoption, Oakland, CA. (2013)
- Love and Belonging for a Lifetime: Youth Permanency in Child
This special issue of Protecting Children, a professional publication of American Humane Association, highlights many of the nuanced practice and policy issues that support effective permanency planning and decision making with adolescents in foster care. It includes the article, “Permanency for LGBTQ Youth,” by Gerald P. Mallon, D.S.W.(Protecting Children, Volume 26, Number 1, 2011)
- Addressing the Needs of LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care
The fall 2009 issue of The Connection by CASA for Children discusses the importance of addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth in foster care. The challenges and risks faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in care can be summarized in three broad categories: intolerance, lack of safety, and barriers to permanency. This resource considers what CASA programs and other youth-serving agencies are doing to support this population and what resources CASA volunteers can turn to when working with gay youth. (2009)
- Helping Families Support Their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Children
This practice brief was developed for families, caretakers, advocates, and providers to: Provide basic information to help families support their LGBT children; share critical research from the Family Acceptance Project™ at San Francisco State University that shows that families have a major impact on their LGBT children’s health, mental health, and well-being; give families and LGBT youth hope that ethnically, religiously, and socially diverse families, parents, and caregivers can become more supportive of their LGBT children. (2009)
- National Recommended Best Practices for Serving LGBT Homeless Youth
This policy brief by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Lambda Legal, the National Network for Youth, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights provides a brief overview of homelessness among LGBT youth. It makes recommendations about improving practice, improving organizational culture, and improving residential services. (2009)
- Supporting LGBTQ Youth: A Judicial Bench Card
This bench card provides guidance to judges to assist them in supporting LGBTQ youth. It addresses the following topics: Positive Attitudes; Fair Treatment; Services and Support; and, Placement and Permanency. (2009)
- Opening Doors for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care: A Guide for Lawyers and Judges
This guide aims to increase the legal community’s awareness of LGBTQ youth in foster care and the issues they face. It provides tools for lawyers and judges to aid their advocacy and decision making on behalf of LGBTQ youth. Special attention is given to helping lawyers and judges understand the unique needs and risk factors of LGBTQ youth, forming positive attitudes and beliefs about LGBTQ youth, developing strong attorney-client relationships, and using effective advocacy strategies. (2008)
- Providing Services and Supports for Youth who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex or Two-Spirit
This Practice Brief from the National Center for Cultural Competence is for policymakers, administrators, and providers seeking to learn more about (1) youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, or two-spirit (LGBTQI2-S) and (2) how to develop culturally and linguistically competent programs and services to meet their needs and preferences. (2008)
- Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth: Facing Challenges, Building Resilience
The November/December 2004 issue of the NYU Child Study Center Letter attempts to provide clarification about the developmental and social issues that confront GLB youth. It discusses myths and misconceptions, the specific developmental challenges for GLB youth in establishing their own identity, as well as risk factors affecting their health, social, and emotional adjustment. It also discusses the ways in which parents, teachers, and other adults may be supportive. Specific resources are listed. (2004)
- If You Are Concerned about Your Child's Gender Behaviors
This booklet from Children's National Medical Center is directed to parents who have questions about gender behaviors their children may be displaying as they develop. It describes gender variance and gives suggestions for supporting children and learning more. (2003)
- LGBTQ Youth Stories
Youth Communication helps marginalized youth develop to their full potential through reading and writing, and publishes true stories developed by teens in their rigorous writing program. Access LGBTQ-related stories written by young people by visiting the Represent Magazine and YouthSuccessNYC websites.
Webinars, Webcasts, and Videos
- Videos on Working with LGBT Youth: Larkin Street Stories
Larkin Street Youth Services is an organization in San Francisco that provides homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 24 with the help and comprehensive services they need to rebuild their lives. Larkin Street participated in creating training videos for working with LGBT youth for the Homeless Resource Center, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). The SAMSHA YouTube Channel now features the following Larkin Street Stories (April 2011):
- Learning from the Field: Serving LGBTQI2-S Youth Experiencing Homelessness
All programs serving youth who are homeless should assume that some of their participants may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, or two-spirit (LGBTQI2-S). It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQI2-S. SAMHSA's Homelessness Resource Center (HRC) visited multiple programs serving youth who are LGBTQI2-S and homeless to learn about practical strategies to implement best practices when working with this population. In this webcast, presenters Wayne Centrone, Laura Hughes, and Bonnie Wade shared findings from this tour and offered tips for providing culturally competent care for this highly vulnerable group. (2011)
- Family Acceptance Project: Family Videos
The Family Acceptance Project is working to produce a series of 8 short documentary videos that show the journey from struggle to support of ethnically and religiously diverse families with LGBT children. Sample videos now are available online.
- Getting Down to Basics: Tools to Support LGBTQ Youth in Care
Developed in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), this tool kit from Lambda Legal offers practical information on helping ensure that LGBTQ youth in care receive the support and services they deserve. It is concise and serves as an ideal starting point for administrators and practitioners unfamiliar with issues impacting LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care. Specific target audiences include: caseworkers; attorneys, guardians ad litem, and advocates; congregate care providers; juvenile justice professionals; faith-based providers; LGBTQ youth; and, families supporting an LGBTQ youth. Sub-topics include: working with transgender youth; working with homeless LGBTQ youth; LGBTQ youth risk data; recommendations for training and education; combating misguided efforts to ban lesbian and gay adults as foster and adoptive parents; and, basic facts about being LGBTQ. Select information sheets are available in Spanish. (2006)
Trainings & Curricula
- Moving the Margins: Curriculum for Child Welfare Services with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth in Out-of-Home Care
Developed in partnership with the National Association of Social Workers, this manual from Lambda Legal provides trainers with a guide for implementing trainings for service providers working with LGBTQ youth in the foster care, juvenile justice, and homeless systems of care. It includes modules on areas such as: vocabulary; values clarification; the risks, challenges and strengths specific to LGBTQ youth and their caregivers; managing confidential information; enhancing skills to intervene with biological, adoptive, and foster parents; addressing differential treatment in child welfare agencies; and, addressing the needs of transgender youth. (2009)
- Creating Inclusive Services for LGBT Youth in Out of Home Care
The Out of Home Youth Advocacy Council (a project administered jointly by Family Builders by Adoption, Legal Services for Children, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights) developed this training to support the creation of inclusive services for LGBT Youth in Out of Home Care. This “train the trainer” curriculum is designed to assist child welfare trainers in conducting trainings for their own agencies on AB 458 (the California Foster Care Non-Discrimination Act) compliance and how to create inclusive policies and services for LGBT Youth. The training curriculum preface describes complementary training resources including: a Know Your Rights Guide, a “Hate Free Zone” poster, CWLA Best Practice Guidelines, Breaking the Silence: LGBTQ Foster Youth Tell their Stories (a DVD containing short digital stories by former foster youth who identify as LGBT), a PowerPoint presentation about creating inclusive systems of care for LGBT youth, and others. Training tips and key messages are outlined in order to support the effective use of these resources.
From the States
Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer Youth
NRCPFC provided technical assistance to the State of Minnesota in developing this practice guide which will support child welfare professionals in their work with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer) youth in the child welfare system. It includes the following sections: Introduction; Statistics; Preserving Relationships and Placement Prevention; Engagement and Building Relationships with LGBTQ Youth; Ensuring Safety in Placement; Ensuring Safe Placement in Residential Care; and, Special Considerations for Transgender Youth. It also provides a glossary and lists additional resources. (2012)
- New York
LGBTQ: Sexual Orientation Questions of Youth
This resource was developed by Youth in Progress, New York State Foster Care Youth Leadership Advisory Team. It provides definitions of some terms related to LGBTQ identity, lists facts from Child Welfare League of America, describes rights of youth in care, and offers sources of additional information. (December 2011)
Essential Skills for Working with LGBTQ Youth in Out of Home Care
This training video, developed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, promotes understanding, offers concrete guidance to improve well-being and permanency for LGBTQ youth in out of home care, and reviews standards, expectations, and policies that promote a safe, respectful environment for LGBTQ youth in out of home placement. Dr. Gary Mallon, Executive Director, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, provides expert technical assistance on perspectives of youth and adults on LGBTQ issues, and provides practical guidance and skills for staff working with this population. (September 2010)
New York City:
ACS Website: LGBTQ Children, Youth & Families
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) developed this website in support of LGBTQ children, youth, and families. This online portal features a wealth of LGBTQ resources, support, and guidance for young people, families, and professionals involved in child welfare and juvenile justice. The launch of this new website occurred in conjunction with the recent release of the ACS foster parent recruitment campaign “Be The Reason,” and in celebration of the 2013 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Pride Month.
The LGBT Foster Care Project
The LGBT Foster Care Project is a collaborative project between the Center (New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center) and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). The overall purpose of the LGBT Foster Care Project is for the Center to partner with New York City foster care agencies and ACS to increase the number of homes for all youth, with a special emphasis on LGBTQ youth.
- American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law
Opening Doors Project
The American Bar Center on Children and the Law Opening Doors Project aims to increase the legal community’s awareness of LGBTQ youth in foster care and the unique issues they face, and provide the legal community with advocacy tools to successfully represent these youth.
It’s Your Life
The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law It’s Your Life website section helps LGBTQ youth in foster care navigate the child welfare system. Youth can explore this site to understand their rights and receive the care and attention they are entitled to.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: LGBT Health
This section of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website focuses on the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people. It provides information on experiences with violence, and the effects of violence on education and health, and provides specific suggestions for schools and parents, useful background information, and links to valuable resources.
CSSP’s get R.E.A.L. Initiative
The Center for the Study of Social Policy’s (CSSP) get R.E.A.L. Initiative is designed to help transform child welfare policy and practice to more effectively serve LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth and to ensure that healthy sexual development and gender expression are part of the framework that child welfare agencies uses to promote the healthy development of all children and youth. get R.E.A.L. has four main areas of focus: (1) Demonstrating the effectiveness of the “Guidelines for Managing Information Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression and Identity of Children in Child Welfare Systems”; (2) Creating a broader policy and practice model to address healthy sexual and gender identity for LGBTQ youth in child welfare and related service systems; (3) Establishing a national network concerned about the well-being of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system as a source of information-sharing and advocacy; and, (4) Providing technical assistance to child welfare jurisdictions interested in using the information guidelines as a foundation for implementing system improvements. This webpage highlights this initiative and provides additional relevant resources.
- CWLA: Sexual Orientation/Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth Issues
This section of the CWLA website includes the following: About this Area of Focus; CWLA’s Position on Parenting of Children by Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adults; CWLA Standards of Excellence; CWLA/Lambda Joint LGBTQ Initiative; Data and Research; Facts and Information; Publications; and, National LGBTQ Organizations.
- The Family Acceptance Project ™
The Family Acceptance Project ™ is the only community research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to decrease major health and related risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, such as suicide, substance abuse, HIV and homelessness – in the context of their families. They use a research-based, culturally grounded approach to help ethnically, socially and religiously diverse families decrease rejection and increase support for their LGBT children.
- Lambda Legal: Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project
Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of Home Care Project raises awareness and advances reform on behalf of LGBTQ youth in child welfare, juvenile justice, and homeless systems of care. It aims to increase the will and capacity of youth-serving organizations to prepare and support LGBTQ youth as they transition from adolescence to independence. The Project works with LGBTQ youth as well as social workers, case managers, administrators, and other child welfare advocates to ensure safe and affirming child welfare services for LGBTQ youth.
PFLAG is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 350 affiliates in the United States. This grassroots network is made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.
- Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health LGBTQI2-S Learning Community and National SAMHSA Workgroup
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQI2-S) Learning Community (LC) provides a forum for Systems of Care and their partners to collaborate, exchange knowledge, network and share best practices to advance the development of culturally and linguistically competent mental health systems for children and youth who are LGBTQI2-S and their families. This learning community will share information on children and adolescents with same-sex and/or LGBTQI2-S parents/caregivers. The LGBTQI2-S Learning Community will collaborate with the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch’s National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S; national organizations; and other individuals with expertise in enhancing community knowledge and providing appropriate services and supports. The Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch (CAFB), Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has initiated the National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families to support and enhance services for children and youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, or two-spirit (LGBTQI2-S).