All Children – All Families: Agency Data Collection
Nearly all foster care and adoption service providers collect and routinely analyze data for the purpose of reporting outcomes to funders, community stakeholders and for tracking progress toward the agency's strategic goals and priorities. Certain demographic information is required in data collection (e.g. race/ethnicity, marital status or gender). In the vast majority of data collection tools and systems, there is no requirement for, or capacity to indicate that a prospective foster/adoptive parent is a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individual, or a same-sex couple. As a result, there is very little accurate tracking and reporting regarding recruitment, licensing, placement and longer-term outcomes with the LGBTQ community, and many agencies rely solely on anecdotal "data."
There are relatively simple, and low or no-cost approaches to creating a data collection system that captures information about LGBTQ clients and families. For example, you can create an Excel spreadsheet to use as a supplement to your current data collection tools, which can capture information on sexual orientation and gender identity of applicants/clients.
Ideally, data collection begins at the first contact, whether it's a phone call in response to a recruitment ad or an email that comes through your website. By "counting" LGBTQ inquiries early on, you can identify which of your outreach activities or public relations approaches are effective with the LGBTQ audience, and you can track the retention of those families as they move through the process.
Consider data collection in any and all of these program areas and processes that apply for your agency:
- Recruitment/outreach activities (on-site and off-site)
- Intake call
- Orientation meetings
- Application forms
- Homestudy forms
- (Past/present) client consumer surveys
Read more in our Promising Practices Guide: Gather and Using Data [PDF]