All Children - All Families: LGBTQ Resources for Child Welfare

For Professionals Serving LGBTQ Families

Professional Statements & Support for LGBTQ Parenting

Groups Issue Joint Statement on LGBT Parenting, 2015
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), Voice for Adoption (VFA), the Donaldson Adoption Institute, and the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) issue a joint statement opposing discriminatory practices that rule out LGBT prospective parents from being able to provide permanent, loving homes to waiting children.
Professional Organizations on LGBTQ Parenting, Human Rights Campaign
Professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers, issue individual statements in agreement that a parent's sexual orientation and/or gender identity does not impact the parent’s ability to raise a child.
Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting, American Civil Liberties Union (2nd Edition), 2006
With relevant legislation, clinical studies, and research, the ACLU argues that restricting lesbian and gay parenting is not in line with positive child welfare policy and, ultimately, harms children.

Perspectives of LGBTQ Families

Perspectives of Youth Adopted from Foster Care by Lesbian and Gay Parents, AdoptUSKids, 2012
This longitudinal study focuses on the personal perspectives of 40+ children and youth adopted by lesbian and gay parents. The youth discuss their feelings about being placed with lesbian or gay parents, their experiences with social workers, interactions with friends, and more.
Barriers & Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Lesbian and Gay Families, AdoptUSKids, 2010
This executive summary of research findings from AdoptUSKids and University of Texas at Austin focuses on the experiences of lesbian and gay parents during the adoption process, including their interactions with adoption agencies, the home study application, and the impact of negative stereotypes.

Best Practices

All Children - All Families offers best practice guidance and model policies in the following areas:

Working with LGBT Families in Adoption, Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2011
This 14-page resource from CWIG provides much of the basic information child welfare and adoption professionals need to work effectively with LGBT families in adoption, including relevant terminology, recruitment tips, challenges to overcome, and more.
Expanding Resources for Children III: Research-Based Best Practices in Adoption by Gays and Lesbians, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2011
This report on the Adoption Institutes’ four-year study presents empirical data about the experiences of families headed by “non-heterosexual” adults and recommends best-practices to improve pre-adoption and post-adoption services for LGBT families.
Engaging LGBT Families - Talking with Experts, AdoptUSKids, 2010
In this 3-part series, three experts share the best tools and practices for child welfare agencies to recruit and retain prospective LGBT foster and adoptive parents.

Expanding Resources for Waiting Children II: Eliminating Legal & Practice Barriers to Gay & Lesbian Adoption from Foster Care, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2008
This report recommends key changes to agency policy and state legislation to eliminate barriers that prevent lesbian and gay adoptive parents from providing permanent homes to foster children.

For LGBTQ Parents

Frequently Asked Questions from LGBT Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents, Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2011
This article answers some of the most frequent questions asked by prospective LGBT foster and adoptive parents. Questions range from finding an LGBT-friendly agency to navigating the homestudy process.
Family Equality Council
This organization offers a variety of resources and programs to connect and empower LGBTQ-identified parents ranging from information to find inclusive school and faith communities, LGBTQ family-friendly book lists, etc.
This organization is dedicated to serving people with parents that are LGBTQ-identified; connecting them with networks and resources including tips for coming out to your kids, information for LGBTQ people with LGBTQ parents, and much more.

For Professionals Serving LGBTQ Youth

Research on Experiences of LGBTQ Youth in Care

LGBTQ in Child Welfare: A Systematic Review of the Literature, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2016
This report offers a comprehensive literature review on LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system that analyzes unique risks and vulnerabilities, explores policy protections, and offers best practice recommendations.
Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Foster Care, The Williams Institute, 2014
This report out of Los Angeles County provides demographics and highlights the mistreatment and discrimination faced by LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Out of the Margins: A Report Highlighting the Experiences of LGBTQ Youth in Care, CWLA Press, 2006
CWLA and Lambda Legal partner to create Out of the Margins, a report that highlights the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care and offers strategies to improve the child welfare system for LGBTQ youth in care.
Youth in the Margins: A Report on the Unmet Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescents in Foster Care, Including a Survey of Fourteen States and Proposals for Reform, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, 2001
Broken into three parts, Youth in the Margins discusses “unaddressed problems of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care,” strategies for reform in the child welfare system, and policy recommendations based on fourteen states’ foster care policies.

Best Practices

Assessing/Discussing SOGIE
Respectfully Asking Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Questions, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, 2016
The purpose of this resource is to assist staff members with how best to present the opportunity for youth to disclose their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This information may also prove relevant to decisions regarding educational services, the PINS and delinquency diversion processes, disposition, reunification and placement.
Guidelines for Managing Information Related to the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression of Children in Child Welfare Settings, NCL Rights, 2013
This resource offers professional guidelines to collect, record, and disclose information on youth’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The publication also includes age-appropriate strategies and considerations of privacy.

Child Welfare/Foster Care & Adoption
Out of the Shadows: Supporting LGBTQ Youth in Child Welfare through Cross-System Collaboration, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2016
This resource presents research on LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system from an intersectional perspective and evaluates cross-system policy strategies to improve outcomes including successful state examples.
LGBTQ Incident & Inquiry Reporting, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, 2016
This resource offers guidelines to agencies on how to report discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE); including examples of incidents/inquiries that can be seen as non-compliant with nondiscrimination requirements and a sample incident/inquiry reporting form. See here for most current resources.
Identifying LGBTQ Affirming Homes, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, 2016
This resource looks carefully at affirming homes for LGBTQ youth; including core competencies that meet the definition of an affirming home, questions to assess LGBTQ-affirming homes,and information on how to report inappropriate placements. See here for most current resources.
A Guide for Understanding, Supporting, and Affirming LGBTQI2-S Children, Youth, and Families, Technical Assistance Partnership (NASW, SAMHSA, NASP), 2014
Geared towards service providers, educators, and allies, this resource guide offers myth busters on LGBTQI2-S youth, information on the coming out process, and more.
beFIERCE A Toolkit for Providers Working with LGBTQ Foster Youth, Sunny Hills Service, 2015
This publication provides insight into the worldview, experiences, and intersecting identities of LGBTQ youth in care including recommendations for improving practice and trauma-informed care.
CWLA Recommended Practices to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of LGBTQ Youth, Lambda Legal, 2012
This guide from the Child Welfare League of America consolidates and summarizes recommended practices from previous publications. In addition to practice recommendations, content includes a historical perspective on the development of standards of care for LGBTQ youth and youth living with or at risk of contracting HIV.
Getting Down to Basics: Tools to Support LGBTQ Youth in Care, CWLA Press, 2012
This toolkit provides brief factsheets with specific data, tips, and best practices based on service setting. Sections include: caseworkers, attorneys, guardians, faith-based providers, and more.
CWLA Best Practice Guidelines: Serving LGBT Out-of-Home Youth, CWLA Press, 2006
This in-depth, 75-page guide offers child welfare and juvenile justice professionals recommendations to improve child welfare services through inclusive organizational culture, revised policies and practices, updated training materials for staff, and more.

Congregate Care/Group Homes
Redefining Residential: Ensuring Competent Residential Interventions for Youth with Diverse Gender and Sexual Identities and Expressions, American Association of Children's Residential Centers, 2014
By analyzing programs that have created successful “sexual and gender minority-positive” spaces, this article focuses on how agencies and providers can offer quality residential interventions for LGBTQI2-S youth.
A Place of Respect: A Guide for Group Care Facilities Serving Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Youth, National Center for Lesbian Rights, 2011
This guide addresses nine common obstacles that transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) youth face in group home facilities. Recommendations include working with school administrators to ensure a safe school environment and avoiding gender-inappropriate placements.
Transforming Mainstream Residential Treatment Programs into Safe Environments for LGBTQ Youth Residential Group Care Quarterly, Vol. 7, Issue 3
This resource (beginning on page 5) is a collection of articles from Residential Group Care Quarterly, a publication of the Child Welfare League of America, that aims to enhance residential treatment programs for LGBTQ youth, youth of color, and youth in the juvenile justice system.

Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Youth
Supporting & Caring for Transgender Children, HRC Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, 2016
This resource explains the difference between children who are gender-expansive and those who are transgender, outlines why experts, based on emerging scientific evidence, are embracing a "gender-affirming" approach and describes what it means to affirm a child's gender identity through "transition".
Safer Sex for Trans Bodies, HRC Foundation & Whitman-Walker Health, 2016
This is a safer sex guide for transgender and gender expansive people, and for their partners and lovers. This guide explores ways to talk to one’s partner(s) (romantic, casual, and transactional) about sex and suggestions for exploring one’s own sexuality.

The Transgender Teen: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Teens, Stephanie Brill & Lisa Kenney, 2016
The Transgender Teen is a guidebook that explores the unique challenges that families face raising a teenager who may be transgender, non-binary or other gender-expansive.
The Transgender Child by Stephanie Brill, Available on Amazon, 2008
Using research and thousands of stories/interviews of the families of transgender youth, this guidebook answers a series of questions surrounding transgender children  from birth through college.

Ensuring Equitable Care
Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Children in California Foster Care
This brief uses a question and answer format to provide child welfare professionals information to guide services to transgender and gender nonconforming children in foster care including terms and concepts, legal and professional standards for service/treatment, and information on gender identity development.
Safe & Respected: Policy, Best Practices, & Guidance for Serving Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Children and Youth Involved in the Child Welfare, Detention, and Juvenile Justice Systems, New York City Administration for Children's Services, 2014
This guide provides child welfare professionals best practices and policies for working with transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth in various care facilities.
A Place of Respect: A Guide for Group Care Facilities Serving Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Youth, National Center for Lesbian Rights, 2011
This guide addresses nine common obstacles that transgender and gender non-conforming youth face in group home facilities and offers several recommendations to provide these youth with quality care.

Final HHS Regulations on Health Care Discrimination: Frequently Asked Questions
This resource answers frequently asked questions about Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that includes gender identity in discrimination in health coverage and care.
Guidance for Trans Related Healthcare, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, 2013
This resource summarizes the method by which foster care agencies can request that Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) review, approve, and reimburse trans-related healthcare that is categorically excluded from New York State’s Medicaid coverage. See here for most current resources.

A Collaborative Resource on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness, At the Intersections, True Colors Fund & LGBTQ Taskforce, 2016
This resource explores youth experiencing homelessness who live at the intersections of various marginalized identities, which may include their race, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, and more.
Serving Our Youth 2015: The Needs and Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth Experiencing Homelessness, The Palette Fund, True Colors Fund, & The Williams Institute, 2015
This report uses the findings from a survey of youth homelessness service providers to explore the current state of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex, Urban Institute, 2015
This report interviews and provides care recommendations for New York City LGBTQ youth, young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who engage in survival sex.
Street Child: A Memoir by Justin Read Early, Available on Amazon, 2013
This book focuses on a young boy’s difficult experience as he escapes his violent home, gets remanded into state custody, and then lives on the streets of Seattle and San Francisco with LGBTQ homeless youth.
Toolkit for Practitioners/Researchers Working with LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, 2012
This toolkit offers various evidence-based programs, practice models, and assessment tools for practitioners and researchers to use with LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth.
Preventing the Tragedy of LGBT Youth Homelessness, Social Work License Map, 2012
This infographic provides statistics on LGBT youth homelessness, including factors that lead to homelessness and mental health problems within the population.
National Recommended Practices for Serving LGBT Homeless Youth, National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2009
This publication categorizes recommendations for homeless youth service providers in three sections: steps that caretakers should take to better the experiences of LGBT youth, ways to improve agency culture in serving LGBT youth, and steps that youth workers and administrators can take to improve residential settings.
Working with Homeless LGBTQ Youth, Lambda Legal, 2002
By providing information on homeless shelters, risks that homeless LGBTQ youth face, the special needs of homeless transgender youth and more, this article offers child welfare professionals best tips to work with LGBTQ homeless youth.

Juvenile Justice
Unjust: How the Broken Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems Fail LGBTQ Youth, Movement Advancement Project and Center for American Progress, 2016
This report offers a snapshot of how the U.S. criminal justice system fails lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. As a result, too many LGBTQ youth, both as youth and adults, find themselves in a cycle of poverty, homelessness and incarceration.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in the Juvenile Justice System, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2015
This practice guide focuses on providing policies and procedures that promote the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system.
Toward Equity Training Curriculum, Equity Project, 2015
This training curriculum offers juvenile justice professionals “interactive training lessons that increase competency around sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE).”
Restoring Justice: A Blueprint for Ensuring Fairness, Safety, and Supportive Treatment of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice, Center for American Progress, 2014
This issue brief reviews nondiscrimination policies to compile best practice guidelines that can improve services and support for LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system.
Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts, Legal Services for Children, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National Juvenile Defender Center, 2009
This comprehensive report discusses the experiences of LGBT youth in various juvenile courts, identifying significant obstacles that LGBT youth face and recommending policy reforms to protect rights of LGBT youth.
Opening Doors for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care: A Guide for Lawyers and Judges, American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law, 2008
This guide uses statistics, surveys, and listening forums to uplift the stories of LGBTQ youth in foster care by delving into the helpful tools that lawyers and judges can utilize.

Schools in Transition, Human Rights Campaign, 2015
This guide offers fundamental information about gender, guidelines for meeting the needs of transgenders or gender-expansive students, talking points for common questions and concerns, and other practical resources.
Welcoming Schools, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
Welcoming Schools is a comprehensive approach to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools. On the program’s web page, you can find resources and professional development to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping, and support transgender and gender-expansive students.
Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
GLSEN works to improve our nation’s K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth and their website includes lesson plans, programs to help teachers and students take action, research on LGBTQ issues in education, and much more. 
GSA Network
This LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization’s website includes resources to help youth and their advisors start their own Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), leadership and activist training for youth, and research about the experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools.

For LGBTQ Youth

National Resources for LGBTQ Youth, Lambda Legal, 2013
This guide offers a comprehensive list of national organizations committed to helping LGBTQ youth.
Know Your Rights: LGBTQ Youth and Youth Living with HIV in Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems, Lambda Legal, 2010
This resource lists the basic rights of LGBTQ youth and youth living with HIV in foster care and juvenile justice systems.
Opening Doors It's Your Life: Guide, American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law, 2010
Written for LGBTQ youth in foster care, this handbook discusses the rights, expectations, and tools for support afforded to LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Suicide Prevention Resources for LGBTQ Youth, The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis and suicide intervention resources for LGBTQ youth.

For Foster & Adoptive Parents of LGBTQ Youth

Caring for LGBTQ Children and Youth, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2013
This guide includes information on terminology and several basic tips on how to best support and care for LGBTQ children and youth. Also included are resources and helpful websites for more information on serving and caring for LGBTQ youth is also included in the guide.
Supporting Your LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents, Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013
This factsheet details specific actions foster parents can take to understand and relate to LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system. How to create a welcoming home for youth and promoting youth's’ health and well-being in the community is also outlined.
Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University
This project offers extensive research on the impact of family acceptance for LGBTQ youth and how it can minimize the risk for suicide, homelessness, and HIV infection. On their website you can also find information on their family intervention model and family-oriented services to help families support their LGBTQ children.

Resource Compilations

Center for States, Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative
This website provides a compilation of publications, videos, and webinars for states and territories to help build their capacity to more effectively serve and support LGBTQ youth and foster/adoptive families.
NYC Administration for Children’s Services, LGBTQ Support
The Administration for Children’s Services in NYC offers a compilation of resources for youth, families, and practitioners to help LGBTQ youth and families thrive.
Recommended LGBTQ Children, Youth, and Families Cultural Competence Tools, Curricula, and Resources, 2015
This compilation offers resources to promote the well-being of LGBTQ youth including a strategic planning tool that delves into ten standards of care.
Resources from NRCPFC, Hunter College School of Social Work Compilation, 2014
This compilation offers resources from the Administration for Children and Families, the Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network. to professionals working in the child welfare system.
LGBTQ Youth in Care: Information & Resources, National Resource Center for Youth Development, 2014
This one-pager offers statistics about LGBTQ youth in the foster care system and provides a list of organizations that help professionals who work with LGBTQ youth in care.

Federal & State Policy

California Senate Bill 731, 2015
This landmark legislation establishes critical protections for transgender youth in California’s foster care system; requiring that all youth in out-of-home care, including those who identify as transgender, be placed according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender listed on their official documents.
State Policies Concerning LGBTQ Youth, CSSP, 2014
This resource highlights state legislation from 2014 as it relates to LGBTQ youth, including public accommodations, educational facilities, foster care and more.
Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender And Questioning/Queer Youth, Minnesota Department of Human Services, 2012
This practice guide from MN DHS offers specific tips for engaging LGBTQ youth, preserving their relationships and placement prevention, and ensuring safety in placements.
Information Memorandum from Administration on Children, Youth and Families on LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care, 2011
This information memorandum strongly encourages child welfare workers and facilities to ensure that LGBTQ youth are supported and protected while in care.

National Programs

All Children - All Families, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
The All Children - All Families project promotes LGBTQ cultural competency among child welfare agencies through innovative resources that include online agency self-assessment tool, comprehensive staff training, free technical assistance and more.
"Get R.E.A.L." (Recognize. Engage. Affirm. Love), The Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2016
The get R.E.A.L. program works to improve the “healthy sexual and identity development for all children and youth in the child welfare system.”
Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, Lambda Legal, 2016
The 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.”

Staff & Foster Parent Training Resources

All Children - All Families Training Curriculum, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
All Children – All Families has developed an expert LGBTQ competency training program that can be customized for the needs of individual agencies.
LGBTQ-Inclusive Parent Preparation Training, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
All Children - All Families compiled best practice information on how to make parent preparation trainings LGBTQ-inclusive. It includes specific recommendations for agencies. 
REACHING HIGHER: A Curriculum for Foster/Adoptive Parents and Kinship Caregivers Caring for LGBTQ Youth, National Center for Child Welfare Excellence, 2015
This curriculum offers information about the needs of LGBTQ youth to help prepare foster, kinship, and adoptive parents to care for LGBTQ youth.
RISE, Los Angeles LGBT Center
The center provides foster parent training to help them be supportive parents to any LGBTQ children or youth who may be placed with them.
National LGBT Curricula and Training Materials, Center for the Study of Social Policy
The website provides a variety of training resources for child welfare professionals and parents that cover topics ranging from caring for LGBTQ youth to the experiences of LGBTQ homeless youth.

Archived Webinars on LGBTQ Youth in Care

beFIERCE: Actively Engaging and Supporting LGBTQ Foster Youth, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2015
This webinar focuses on beFIERCE, a publication that highlights the experiences of LGBTQ foster youth.
#BornPerfect, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2015
An attorney from the National Center for Lesbian Rights provides research on conversion therapy and its harmful effects on LGBTQ people.
Get R.E.A.L Allegheny, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2015
This webinar details the implementation, successes, and challenges of the get R.E.A.L program by Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Department of Human Services.
Making Residential Treatment Safer for LGBTQ Youth, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2015
This webinar focuses on the residential care facility, Indian Oaks Academy in Illinois, and its creation of a safer environment for LGBTQ youth.
10 Standards of Care: Improving Services for LGBT Young People, Adventr, 2014
This interactive resource addresses ten best practices to improve the quality of care for LGBT youth.
Gay and Lesbian Youth in the Foster Care System: Understanding the Role of Family Acceptance, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2014
This webinar discusses the importance of foster family rejection and acceptance in the lives of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system.
Making Rural Youth Serving Systems More LGBTQ Inclusive, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2014
Napa County professionals discuss their efforts to make their rural county child welfare system more LGBTQ-inclusive.
True Colors Inc.: System Experiences Serving Gender Non-conforming Youth, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2014
This webinar discusses the partnership between nonprofit, True Colors’ and the Connecticut State Department of Children and Families partnership in creating and implementing culturally-competent strategies to better serve transgender and gender non-conforming youth.
Yes, There Are Way More Than 3!: Estimating LGBTQ Youth in the Foster Care System, Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2014
This webinar discusses the “current state of sexual orientation and gender identity demographic research among adolescents” and discusses disparities of LGBTQ youth in care.
Standards of Care for Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Youth, Technical Assistance Partnership, 2012
These webinar slides share recommendations and strategies for high-quality care of LGBTQ youth, and then explores federal and local perspectives on the strategies.
Building Systems of Care to Support Effective Therapeutic and Programmatic Interventions and Resources for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Youth and Their Families, Technical Assistance Partnership, 2012
By focusing on “Improving Emotional and behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Youth” these webinar slides discuss resources that improve the lives of LGBTQ youth.
Foster Care’s Invisible Youth, In The Life Media, 2012
This short video follows seven young people who have faced rejection from their foster families and experienced challenges within the child welfare system.