All Children - All Families: Tips for Successful LGBTQ Staff Training Efforts

Training your staff on LGBTQ cultural competency can be a daunting task. How do you ensure that your agency employees are fully competent in serving and supporting LGBTQ children, youth and families?

Download Tips for Successful LGBTQ Staff Training Efforts, a detailed resource equipped with several strategies to help you along in the process.

Below, we've included a quick overview of what our strategies entail:

Assess your training needs 

  • Complete an assessment of your staff’s current LGBTQ competency to measure staff members’ LGBTQ-related knowledge, skills, attitudes, experience, and perceptions of agency climate.
  • Engage many voices in planning your staff training and broader diversity and inclusion initiatives to consider the needs of all staff members and garner varied perspectives in the planning process.

Tailor training offerings based on the needs of different staff members

  • Train all staff members on foundation-level material to encourage collaborative, respectful, discussion and buy-in.
  • Provide advanced, role-specific training for program and direct service staff to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary to support and serve their LGBTQ clients.

Identify quality training providers

  • When assessing your training options, consider training content, trainer expertise, and trainer experience. You can also review our Successful LGBTQ Training Tips PDF for a detailed list of national, local, and online training providers.
  • National training providers include:
    •  All Children – All Families National Training Program. ACAF has developed an expert LGBTQ competency training program that includes up to 18 hours of training content that can be customized for the needs of individual agencies serving children, youth and families. Learn more at http://hrc.im/acaf-training.
    • R.I.S.E. Training Model. Based at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, this training program teaches child welfare professionals foundational information about sexual orientation and gender identity, focused on the needs of LGBTQ youth in foster care.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Online Learning Offerings – Many behavioral health and child welfare training providers offer basic LGBTQ training and webinars.
      • All Children – All Families regularly offers a 90-min “Introduction to LGBTQ Competency” webinar
      • The Center for the Study of Social Policy offers recorded webinars here.
      • The Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative Center for States compiles recorded webinars here.
  • Find local providers among these common sources:
    • Local LGBTQ Community Centers. Many communities have a local LGBT Center nearby. These organizations may have staff who provide trainings to local agencies, or know of the expert trainers in your area. For a list of these centers check Center Link – The Community of LGBT Centers at www.lgbtcenters.org.
    • Local LGBTQ Youth Centers. Lambda Legal maintains a list of state and national resources for LGBTQ young people both in and out of care. 
    • State LGBTQ Organizations – There are often state-wide advocacy organizations for LGBT concerns that may also be able to point you in the direction of local trainers and experts.
      • Visit Equality Federation to find your state group.
      • Equaldex is another listing of LGBT groups, which may provide training or connect you to an expert in your area.
    • Local colleges/universities.
    • Word of mouth.

Conduct LGBTQ training on an ongoing basis

  • Agencies should ensure that all new hires receive LGBTQ competency training through agency-specific training or even an external provider.
  • Look for “low hanging fruit” when integrating LGBTQ content into current staff learning opportunities like team meetings or film screenings. 
  • Consider a variety of sources when planning ongoing learning, including online learning, partner organizations, in-service trainings, and more.
    • Online-learning offerings from local and national providers. 
    • Partner organizations’ training activities.
    • LGBTQ-related workshops at local or state conferences.
    • In-service trainings on LGBTQ topics. 
    • Distribution of LGBTQ resources.

Consider building internal capacity with a Training of Trainers

  • Agencies often weigh the costs and benefits of relying on outside experts for ongoing staff training versus those of investing in the development of internal experts capable of delivering LGBTQ cultural competency. The upfront investment of time and funds may be significant when committing to internal trainer development but the benefit of having internal trainers are numerous and long-lasting.
    • Things to consider include: Number of staff, current staff training capabilities, and access to potential trainers with existing LGBTQ competency.

Additional Resources

All Children – All Families maintains an comprehensive Resource List for serving and supporting LGBTQ children, youth and families at www.hrc.org/acaf-resources. This list includes studies and reports relevant to the field, guides to best practice, and training resources.

For more information on All Children – All Families, or on how to secure quality LGBTQ training for your agency, email acaf@hrc.org.

Dowload the complete "Tips for Successful LGBTQ Staff Training Efforts" PDF for a comprehensive look at successfult training tips.