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Lighthouse Youth ServicesPost submitted by Sheri H. Hager, Lighthouse Youth Services

On Friday May 29, the Human Rights Campaign honored Lighthouse for its work with LGBT youth and families. HRC National Diversity & Inclusion Co-Chair and Board of Governor Kristin Shrimplin and Stephen Peterson (HRC Congressional Circle) presented the agency with its All Children-All Families Seal of Recognition.

Lighthouse President and CEO Bob Mecum and the agency’s Director of Planning and Policy Meredith Hicks proudly accepted the seal. Lighthouse is honored to be recognized as a Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBT Youth and Families, especially at a time when so many children -- a disproportionately high number of whom are LGBT -- are in need of loving foster and adoptive homes. Lighthouse Clinical Director Jodi Harding spearheaded the work internally, ensuring Lighthouse completed all 10 benchmarks of LGBT competence outlined by All Children – All Families.

Lighthouse began working toward this achievement more than two years ago. Lighthouse staff received training, completed the application and self-assessment, and made improvements in policies and practices to earn the national recognition. The training helped Lighthouse enhance its competency with LGBT families and children and create an inclusive environment for foster care, adoption and children’s services.

Lighthouse Youth Services is working to implement the Safe and Supported Community Plan. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) selected Cincinnati to create a pilot program aimed at preventing homelessness in the LGBT community and better serving those already without a home. HUD chose only two communities to participate in this initiative, Cincinnati and Houston. The All Children-All Families training is one of many strategies that Lighthouse is implementing to prevent and end homelessness for LGBT youth.

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