All Children - All Families: Core Competencies

In order to be effective, LGBTQ competency training should be offered on an ongoing basis and LGBTQ-related topics should be embedded across all training content areas. The below lists include the core competencies for comprehensive LGBTQ staff training in child welfare settings as recommended by All Children - All Families. For more information see hrc.im/acaf-trainings.

Foundational LGBTQ Competencies

  • Explore shared values as professionals in child welfare and the connections between LGBTQ competency and these values

  • Understand licensing body/professional association expectations and mandates re: LGBTQ competency

  • Consider the relevance of SOGIE in service delivery and SOGIE within the context of individual well-being and that of families, community, and society

  • Improve understanding of appropriate terminology related to the LGBTQ community

  • Distinguish between sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and explore the limitations of a binary construction of gender

  • Learn to respond to clients who identify using unfamiliar terminology

  • Explore diversity of transgender community

  • Acknowledge own beliefs, values and assumptions in relation to LGBTQ people and build awareness of how personal bias may impact work with clients

  • Explore common experiences of LGBTQ people, including coming out as a lifelong process, the risks and gains of coming out and the impact of family response on well-being

  • Gain accurate information about LGBTQ youth (e.g., identities, experiences and strengths) and distinguish common misconceptions and stereotypes from facts

  • Gain accurate information about LGBTQ parents (e.g., prevalence of LGBTQ parenting, outcomes for children of LGBTQ parents, experiences in child welfare) and distinguish common misconceptions and stereotypes from facts

  • Learn laws related to LGBTQ adoption and foster placements in relevant jurisdictions

  • Develop a greater understanding of the strengths of LGBTQ parents and the value of LGBTQ families in serving children and youth in the foster care system

  • Learn behaviors and language to avoid in order to create a welcoming environment for LGBTQ youth and families, including hetero-centric or cissexist language

  • Identify concrete next steps for advocating for and improving practice with LGBTQ youth and families

Competencies for Serving LGBTQ Parents

  • Explore the impact of unconscious bias when engaging LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents

  • Understand where applicants typically fall off in the process and the importance of creating positive “first/early contacts” with prospective families

  • Consider the role of data collection around SOGIE with parent applicants, including questions of how, when and why to collect this information

  • Learn strategies for LGBTQ-inclusive parent recruitment practices

  • Understand the value of actively engaging their local community as partners in finding and supporting an expanded pool of qualified, loving foster and adoptive homes for children who need them

  • Use case studies to explore scenarios that could arise during early interactions with LGBTQ foster/adoptive parent applicants in preparation for navigating similar situations in real life

  • Develop comfort and competency in assessing LGBTQ prospective parents utilizing criteria that are warranted, appropriate, and grounded in a solid understanding of the realities and experiences affecting LGBTQ families

  • Use case studies to explore scenarios that could arise during the homestudy process with LGBTQ foster/adoptive parent applicants and to feel better prepared to navigate similar situations in real life

  • Increase capacity to present LGBTQ parents to children in a strengths-based and age-appropriate manner and to help children manage any questions and challenges that arise from being a part of an LGBTQ family

  • Develop strategies for eliminating bias against LGBTQ parents in the child matching process, and identify ways to support LGBTQ families while they search and are selected for the right children to join their family

Competencies for Serving LGBTQ Youth

  • Become familiar with existing resources that address the needs of LGBTQ youth in care

  • Examine diversity of LGBTQ foster youth and explore ways to engage them with respect to the multiple identities and challenges they face

  • Learn the legal rights of LGBTQ foster youth

  • Become acquainted with research on LGBTQ youth risk and protective factors

  • Consider the role of data collection around SOGIE with youth, including questions of how, when and why to collect this information

  • Practice using appropriate language and accepting behaviors with LGBTQ youth through role plays and responding to video presentations

  • Gain a greater understanding of the impact SOGIE can have on foster youth safety, including the experiences of bullying, harassment and violence for LGBTQ youth in care

  • Gain a greater understanding of the impact SOGIE can have on foster youth permanency, including: helping families identify (accepting/rejecting) behaviors that impact a child’s experience, and identifying and developing safe, affirming, family-based placements for LGBTQ youth

  • Gain a greater understanding of the impact SOGIE can have on foster youth well-being, including: how to incorporate the concept of “normalcy” in our care for LGBTQ youth, how to uphold LGBTQ foster youth rights to improve their experiences from “surviving” to “thriving.”