All Children - All Families: Agency Staff Training

Filed under: Adoption, Parenting

Proper training is a key element in the creation of a competent staff. Training programs should offer all incoming and current staff the information and skills they need to provide culturally competent services to LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents and/or LGBTQ youth.

All Children – All Families has identified core competencies related to LGBTQ clients to be fully incorporated in staff training systems. The competencies include basic LGBTQ training and role-specific LGBTQ training topics.

Basic LGBTQ Training

All personnel should be trained on the core elements of LGBTQ cultural competency, a “101” type training that provides an overview of the language and terminology associated with the LGBTQ community; explores the concepts of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; distinguishes myth from fact regarding the real experiences of LGBTQ individuals and families, and illuminates personal bias that may be interfering with professional responsibilities. This baseline training will emphasize the agency’s commitment to placing a high value on the LGBTQ community as a resource for children and youth in foster care and all children in need of a permanent family.

Role-Specific LGBTQ Training

Based on their role in the agency, staff members will need to have 3 additional hours of in-depth, role-specific training related to creating unbiased, affirming environments for LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents, best practices for recruiting and retaining LGBTQ parents, impact of relevant laws, and the matching, homestudy or placement process.

Continuing Education/Training

Maintaining your agency’s core LGBTQ competence is important. When an agency, public or private, faces a higher than 20% annual turnover, it is expected that the basic LGBTQ Training and the role-specific LGBTQ training will be provided to new hires and to those staff who experienced reallocation or reassignment.

Consider formal and informal options for training; in addition to annual cultural competence training when there are enough new hires (partnering with other agencies can make this cost-effective), incorporate LGBTQ “lessons-learned” into weekly staff meetings, case reviews, or individual supervision to keep a dialogue going and to identify and address emerging issues and needs. Invite your LGBTQ foster/adoptive parents to speak to your staff, or invite a local expert on LGBTQ family law to speak. Create and distribute one-page information sheets with information about LGBTQ laws and policies, research or news items, or updates about agency procedures and experiences to provide an informal approach that is cost effective, while keeping staff informed and up-to-date.

  • Core Competencies
    Competency-based training increases an organization’s ability to understand LGBTQ clients and includes issues of cultural identity, family formation and development, family law and more.
  • All Children – All Families Training Curriculum
    All Children – All Families has developed an expert LGBTQ competency training program that can be customized for the needs of individual agencies.

Read more in the Promising Practices guide.

See also: