All Children - All Families: Participating on Behalf of A CASA Affiliate

CASA affiliates that have achieved these 10 benchmarks will be designated “Leaders in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ Youth” and awarded the Seal of Recognition.

The ACAF Process

Below are the steps to participating in All Children - All Families (ACAF). For a compilation of FAQs about ACAF participation, click here.

  • Request an Online Self-Assessment Form
    The agency will be provided with a unique username and password for ACAF’s Online Agency Self-Assessment Form.

  • Answer the Self-Assessment Questions and Submit to HRC
    Upon submitting the assessment, the agency will be added to the list of current ACAF participants.

  • Receive Free Technical Assistance from ACAF Staff Members
    After submitting the assessment, the agency will receive individualized technical assistance from ACAF staff members. This includes an in-depth review of the assessment, specifying the benchmarks that have been met and those that still need improvement.

  • Make Improvements in Policies and Practice
    Using ACAF’s resources and working with ACAF staff members, the agency will receive assistance to implement the necessary improvements to achieve each of the ten benchmarks.

  • Become A Recognized Leader
    When the agency achieves the ten benchmarks, it will earn the status of “Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ Youth” and be awarded the ACAF Seal of Recognition.

  • Renew Agency’s Leader Status Every Two Years
    Every two years, Leaders are asked to confirm that the ten benchmarks are being maintained and then complete a short Leader Renewal Survey.

ACAF Benchmarks for CASA Affiliates

The information below outlines how each of the ACAF benchmarks are applied to participating CASA affiliates. For more information on each benchmark, visit Benchmarks of LGBTQ Cultural Competency.

1. Client Non-Discrimination

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • The term “client” refers to the youth served by CASA volunteers. This specific benchmark should be interpreted to apply to non-discrimination protections for the youth served.
  • CASA affiliates must also demonstrate policies and practices that protect paid staff and volunteers from discrimination. This may be done through the same documentation submitted for this benchmark or documentation submitted for other benchmarks.

Requirements:

The client non-discrimination policy must include the terms:

  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Gender Expression

The policy should be recorded within the affiliate’s operation manual or other relevant documentation and be shared with clients and staff members on websites, brochures and lobby areas, etc. 

Examples from CASA Affiliates:

  • Staff & Volunteer Interview Scripts: During the staff and volunteer application process, interviewers state the expectation to be open to working with individuals of any sexual orientation, gender identification or gender expression.
  • Youth Rights Brochure: Each CASA, social worker and attorney informs youth of their rights in the foster care system, including the right to protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. This information is provided in written format via youth-friendly brochure.
  • “Guidelines & Rules for CASAs”: This information is provided in writing to all CASAs and outlines the CASA affiliates' LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy.

2. Employment Non-Discrimination

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • The term “employment” refers to the paid staff at the CASA affiliate. This specific benchmark should be interpreted to apply to non-discrimination protections for paid staff at the CASA affiliate.
  • CASA affiliates must also demonstrate policies and practices that protect youth in care and volunteers from discrimination. This may be done through the same documentation submitted for this benchmark or documentation submitted for other benchmarks.

Requirements:

The employment non-discrimination policy must explicitly prohibit discrimination based on:

  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity

The policy should be recorded in the agency’s operation manual or other relevant documentation.

It is recommended that the policy be publicly available to new applicants and employees on websites, job postings and in the lobby area.

Examples from CASA Affiliates:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Policy: The policy explicitly states the affiliate does not discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

3. Organizational Partnerships & Non-Discrimination

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • “Partnerships” refer to any entities CASA affiliates work with to provide services to their youth.

Requirements: 

  • Describe efforts to restrict partnerships with entities that engage in discriminatory policies or perpetuate biased policies that harm the LGBTQ community.
  • Document efforts to ensure that affiliate partners meet its own LGBTQ non-discrimination standards.

Examples from CASA affiliates:

  • Non-Discrimination and/or Anti-Harassment Policy: The policy states discrimination/harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is prohibited, and this applies to persons who provide services pursuant to contracts.

CASA Related-Exceptions*

  • Some CASA affiliates do not have any partnerships. Please state this in the additional information section and click yes for Q1 and Q2 to move on.
  • If CASA affiliates do not have control over their contracts, they may send written notice to all partners about their:
  • Participation in ACAF
  • Commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive care
  • Expectations of their partners to meet their benchmarks.

4. Agency Forms

Requirements: 

  • Provide forms and internal documents that have LGBTQ-inclusive language related to family and relationship status.
  • “LGBTQ-inclusive language” may include but is not limited to
    • Providing options of “parent 1” and “parent 2” rather than “mother” and “father”
    • Providing option of “partnership” in addition to “married.”
    • Providing option of “partner” or “significant other” in addition to “spouse.”
  • Note: We recognize that many forms are not controlled by CASA affiliates. This benchmark applies to the forms that CASA affiliates do control.

Examples from CASA Affiliates:

  • Intake Forms: A form completed by CASAs applicants that explicitly asks whether a prospective volunteer is comfortable working with clients of any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

5.  Staff Training

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • The terms “staff” & “employees” refer to paid staff of CASA affiliates. This benchmark should be interpreted to apply to trainings for staff. CASA training is assessed through benchmark 9 (see below).

Requirements:

  • Provide documentation of comprehensive employee training related to working effectively and competently with the LGBTQ community.
  • Provide documentation of role-specific training in working effectively and competently with the LGBTQ community.
  • Provide documentation of staff in-service trainings focused on supporting the LGBTQ community at least once a year. These trainings address specific skills in order to enhance cultural competency when working with LGBTQ clients.
  • Note: You can click here for a compilation of frequently asked questions about meeting the staff training benchmark.

Example from Other CASA Affiliates: 

  • Training Curriculum Outline: Training curriculum used to train staff includes explicit LGBTQ content meeting core objectives outlined by ACAF.

6.  Staff Advocates

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • A “staff advocate” is a staff member or volunteer known to be particularly competent in LGBTQ issues, who also serves as the authority for CASAs, staff and volunteers encountering challenges related to LGBTQ clients.

Requirements:

  • Describe the role of affiliate’s staff advocate for LGBTQ clients. This advocate (sometimes called ombudsperson or champion) is identified to all staff, volunteers and clients and is charged with resource collection and dissemination, advocacy, support and intervention specifically for LGBTQ clients.
  • It is recommended that this role be formalized as the authority on LGBTQ clients in the affiliate’s organizational structure by informing volunteers and staff of their expertise, duties and capabilities as a specialized advocate for LGBTQ clients.

Examples from Other Affiliates:

  • Assigned Staff Member: Information on affiliate’s specific staff member (e.g., program manager), who is easily accessible to all staff and volunteers, assigned to Staff Advocate role.

7.  Client-Based Feedback and Community Expertise

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • A “client-based feedback” system (e.g. committee, group, survey, etc.) regularly provides client's thoughts and advice to the affiliate’s administration, the term “client” referring to youth served.
  • A “community expert” is a staff member, board member, community partner or collaborator that specializes in issues surrounding serving LGBTQ youth.

Requirements:

  • Demonstrate how affiliate’s client-based feedback system includes and engages LGBTQ members or allies in a meaningful way.
  • Describe affiliate’s access to a community expert in competent practice and delivery of service to LGBTQ youth.

Examples from Other CASA affiliates:

  • Youth Panels: A group of current and former foster youth who write and perform pieces related to their experiences in care for community members and service providers.
  • Annual Achievement Reviews: Conducted by the affiliate, these reviews engage CASAs in providing feedback to the affiliate.
  • State CASA: Engaging affiliate’s State CASA office to provide LGBTQ-related resources and trainings.

8.  Agency Environment and External Communications

Definitions for CASA affiliates:

  • The term “clients” refers to youth served by CASA.

Requirements:

  • Provide documentation of visual cues throughout common areas that communicate support and inclusion of LGBTQ clients and allies, such as
    • Having LGBTQ families and/or youth on websites and printed materials.
    • Having pictures, symbols, art, magazines, brochures or handouts that convey LGBTQ support or inclusion.
  • Demonstrate commitment to working with LGBTQ clients and their families explicitly and consistently in their external communications (website, printed materials, etc.,), such as
    • Posting an inclusive non-discrimination policy on the affiliate’s website.
    • Having all printed/web content reflect inclusive language.
  • Document efforts to reach out to LGBTQ individuals in CASA recruitment activities.

Examples from other Affiliates:

  • Posters: Safe Space and Ally posters showcasing rainbow symbols and other LGBTQ-inclusive images in public areas and offices.
  • Recruitment/Ad Placement in LGBTQ Press: An article recruiting prospective CASAs on a website tailored to the LGBTQ community.

9.  Training and Support for Families (CASAs)

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • CASA affiliates should interpret the term “family” to mean CASAs. This benchmark applies to the training of CASAs.

Requirements:

  • Document LGBTQ-specific examples and exercises in the CASA training. Specifically, trainings provide information on creating a safe and affirming environment for LGBTQ youth.
  • Describe efforts to ensure trainers are prepared to deliver this content, create a welcoming environment for all CASAs and address any LGBTQ-related questions and concerns.
  • Document LGBTQ-inclusive ongoing support and education to existing CASAs.

Examples from Other Affiliates:

  • Training Curriculum: Documentation of the CASA training curriculum that explicitly covers the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ youth in care.
    • Riverside County’s curriculum provides the training “Advocating for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care” to CASAs, to fulfill the comprehensive training requirements for working with LGBTQ youth in California.
    • “Advocate Pride” is another curriculum used to train staff, CASAs, and others.

10. Client Services and Referrals

Definitions for CASA Affiliates:

  • Interpret Question 3 as the process of identifying safe and affirming CASA volunteers instead of “resource families” and provide a short description of the process, if the affiliate has one already.
  • Interpret Question 4 as whether there is a safety plan for LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming youth who come out to a CASA volunteer that is not affirming.
  • Both Question 5 and 6 are not applicable to CASA affiliates so check “No” for both.

Requirements:

  • Demonstrate ongoing efforts to address LGBTQ inclusion and cultural competence across all services.
  • Provide list of LGBTQ-competent referrals for external client services.
  • Describe process to identify safe and affirming volunteers for LGBTQ youth.
  • Note: Benchmark 10d is not applicable to CASA affiliates.

Examples from Other Affiliates:

  • Referral List: Engage local LGBTQ community center to create list of LGBTQ competent referrals.