All Children – All Families Training Benchmark: Frequently Asked Questions

Before you review our ACAF Training Frequently Asked Questions, try checking out our About the Training Series one pager for more information!

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What does the training benchmark cover?

All Children – All Families (ACAF) Benchmark 5 focuses on staff training in LGBTQ cultural competency, requiring agencies to provide both foundation-level and advanced, role-specific training to all staff to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary to support and serve their LGBTQ clients.

Every ACAF participating agency receives a training needs assessment that evaluates several items including the agency’s current/prior LGBTQ competency training activities (if any) and the agency staff’s LGBTQ-related practice experience, knowledge, attitudes and skills as determined by the Baseline Staff Assessment. Prior to the training needs assessment, agencies must administer the BSA to a majority of its applicable staff members.

Who at my agency needs to be trained in order to meet this benchmark?

All agency employees, including clerical staff, top management and any other employees who have direct contact with clients, should receive foundational LGBTQ competency training. Advanced, role-specific training should be given to those providing direct services with foster/adoptive parents and youth in out-of-home care.

If an agency is pursuing the ACAF Seal of Recognition on behalf of a division, rather than the agency as a whole, this will be taken into account during the training needs assessment. Likewise, if your agency is participating on behalf of multiple locations, the training needs of each location will be considered and incorporated into the benchmark requirements.

What content needs to be covered?

Foundation-level LGBTQ training should cover fundamental information such as key terminology and language best practices, empathy-building exercises and opportunities to explore unconscious bias, an overview of available research on the experiences of LGBTQ youth and families in child welfare systems, and best practices for creating an LGBTQ-inclusive environment. For best results, this training should be tailored to human service/child welfare settings to ensure it speaks directly to the needs and questions of agency staff and leadership.

Advanced, role-specific content should align with the scope of your agency’s services. For example, if your agency provides recruitment services, you should receive training on best practices in recruiting and retaining LGBTQ resource parents/families.

How often should training be provided?

In order to meet ACAF Benchmark 5, all staff within the agency/division should receive necessary foundation-level and advanced, role-specific training. An agency-wide training effort will meet this need temporarily, however, due to staff turnover and the evolving nature of best practices in LGBTQ inclusion, ACAF will also assess ongoing training activities. At a minimum, agencies should ensure that all new hires receive LGBTQ competency training. Other ongoing training activities may include brown bag lunches where the focus is a specific LGBTQ topic, staff watching a film and having discussion afterwards as part of a diversity series, etc. In order to meet Benchmark 5, an agency must have a plan for ongoing training. At the time of Leader Renewal, an agency’s training activities and current needs will be assessed.

My agency has offered LGBTQ training in the past. What information does ACAF need when assessing my agency’s training history?

When assessing an agency’s training history, the ACAF National Training Manager will need the following:

  • Information on provider (e.g. trainer’s name, contact information, and biography)
  • Which agency staff participated in the training
  • When the training occurred
  • An overview of key concepts covered (i.e. recruitment, home studies, terminology, etc.)
  • If available, content provided during training

This information, along with the results of your agency’s Baseline Staff Assessment will be used to assess your agency’s training needs.

My agency has never offered LGBTQ training. What are our options for meeting this benchmark?

If an agency is not yet offering staff training on LGBTQ competency, it has two options – identify local training options or take advantage of All Children – All Families training. 

If your agency has access to LGBTQ cultural competency training, ACAF’s National Training Manager will evaluate it to determine if it meets best practice standards. (See section above, “What content needs to be covered?”) You can also view our Tips for Successful LGBTQ Staff Training Efforts for more information on trainings near you.

Note: We highly recommend that agency’s work with ACAF’s National Training Manager while putting together a training plan to ensure it will meet Benchmark 5 requirements.

All Children – All Families has an expert LGBTQ competency training program that can be customized for the needs of your agency. ACAF’s training program is offered on a fee-for-service basis and includes a cadre of expert trainers around the country provides on-site training.  Our National Training Manager will work with your agency to determine the best ACAF trainer to meet your agency’s needs, the training content required, and all other logistic details.

Preparing for Your Training Needs Assessment Call

What is the role of ACAF’s National Training Manager?

The National Training Manager conducts a training needs assessment which includes a review of 1) your staff’s LGBTQ-related practice experience, knowledge, attitudes and skills (as determined by the Baseline Staff Assessment) as well as 2) your agency’s current/prior training activities (provided in your Agency Self-Assessment).

If an agency intends to meet Benchmark 5 with its own training, or another provider, this training plan will be evaluated by the National Training Manager.

When an agency chooses to take advantage of ACAF training, the National Training Manager will create a training plan tailored to the agency’s needs.

What information should I have ready for my training needs assessment call?

The following items should be compiled in preparation for your training needs assessment call:

  • Information on your agency’s LGBTQ training history/current practices
  • Your thoughts, questions, and feedback from your agency’s Baseline Staff Assessment results
  • A sense of whether you’d like to take advantage of ACAF’s training or another training resource
  • Number of staff at the agency/division seeking the Seal of Recognition:
    • in total (full-time, part-time, contractors, etc.)
    • provide direct services to LGBTQ youth
    • work with LGBTQ resource parents (licensing, matching, placement)

Tips for Identifying & Assessing Your Local Training Options

What factors should I consider when assessing training options?

Training content: Inquire into what is included in the fundamental LGBTQ-competency content (e.g. language/terminology, research that debunks misconceptions about the LGBTQ community, etc.) Discuss how the content will apply to your agency’s services. For example, if one of your agency’s primary services is parent recruitment, the training should feature material that speaks to best practices with recruiting LGBTQ parents.

Training length: While there is no minimum of training hours required, you can reference the guidelines below when assessing training options to meet benchmark 5:
 

Training content

Number of hours required

Staff required

Foundation

3

All staff

Best practices for serving LGBTQ families

6

Staff with direct contact with family clients

Best practices for serving LGBTQ youth

6

Staff with direct contact with youth clients

Trainer expertise in child welfare & LGBTQ competency: Trainers with a firm grasp in both LGBTQ competency and child welfare are best prepared to provide the caliber training that can make your agency a leader in supporting and serving LGBTQ clients.

Trainer experience: Determine whether the trainer has experience facilitating training at agencies like yours. Factors like the scope of your agency’s services and the size of your staff can impact how well a trainer is able to meet your agency’s training needs. In fact, through our Training of Facilitators program, ACAF Master Trainers can provide carefully chosen agency leaders with intensive instruction and coaching on delivering LGBTQ competency training material. 

Utilizing HRC’s ACAF Training to Meet Benchmark

What is the cost of ACAF Training?

All Children – All Families training is offered through a fee-for-service model with costs covering the trainer(s)’ fee, any travel costs for the trainer(s), as well as materials and administrative costs associated with preparation.

Total cost will depend on several factors, including:

  • Number of trainers: this depends on the number of people who need to be trained. For more than 30 attendees, ACAF requires two trainers.
  • Number of days of training: See breakdown of ACAF’s training above; this will depend on the number of staff members who need each type of content. Some agencies may utilize ACAF’s pre-training webinar to decrease the amount of in-room training required. This will be determined during your training needs assessment.
  • Travel requirements for trainers: Many factors are considered when choosing trainers for your agency, including the proximity of the trainer to your agency’s location. Other considerations include trainer expertise in the content your agency needs.

These costs average out to $1,500 per trainer/per day of training. ACAF's National Training Manager coordinates closely with each agency to minimize costs to the extent possible. Sometimes it is possible for an agency to work with other local agencies that are also seeking ACAF training to facilitate a “community-based training,” where a group of agencies receives ACAF training and share the cost.

Who are the All Children – All Families trainers?

All Children – All Families has a team of expert trainers around the country. All of our trainers have extensive experience in the child welfare/human services field as well as LGBTQ competency. Each trainer brings a unique sets of qualifications to training sessions. ACAF’s Training Manager will choose the trainer(s) best equipped to speak to your agency’s services and needs.

What content is covered in ACAF’s training?

The ACAF training curriculum has three distinct components: foundation-level LGBTQ training, best practices for serving LGBTQ families, and best practices for serving LGBTQ youth. For a complete overview of training visit here.

The foundation-level training 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.

The other two components of the ACAF training curriculum offer more advanced, role-specific content for individuals working directly with families (foster/adoptive, birth, kinship) and youth in out-of-home care.

  • The LGBTQ families curriculum outlines the essential agency policies and practices that are welcoming to LGBTQ-headed families. This includes content on: LGBTQ parent recruitment practices, conducting LGBTQ competent home assessments, and strategies for eliminating bias against LGBTQ parents in the child matching and placement process.
  • The LGBTQ youth content provides child welfare professionals with a deeper understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ youth today with an emphasis on: understanding the current experiences of LGBTQ youth in care; advocating for the educational and health care needs of LGBTQ youth; discussing and assessing SOGIE with youth; and finding affirming placements for LGBTQ youth in care.
How is it determined who needs to receive what training content?

Certain components of the ACAF training curriculum are applicable to different members of your staff. ACAF’s National Training Manager will discuss your agency’s staff make-up to tailor a training plan to your needs. In general, ACAF’s foundation-level training should be provided to all staff within the agency/division seeking the Seal of Recognition. Agency staff who work directly with LGBTQ parents/families should participate in ACAF training on best practices with LGBTQ families. The training will cover: LGBTQ parent recruitment practices, conducting LGBTQ competent home assessments, and strategies for eliminating bias against LGBTQ parents in the child matching and placement process.

If your agency provides services to youth in out-of-home care, staff members who directly serve young people should receive ACAF’s training on best practices with LGBTQ youth. The training content will include: understanding the current experiences of LGBTQ youth in care; advocating for the educational and health care needs of LGBTQ youth; discussing and assessing SOGIE with youth; and finding affirming placements for LGBTQ youth in care.

Whenever possible, members of an agency’s leadership team should also attend training sessions.

Can ACAF assist my agency in identifying training funds?

ACAF has a grant template that can be found here to assist agencies with applying to local grant opportunities to fund their LGBTQ cultural competency training. ACAF is also happy to discuss fundraising strategies with an agency’s development department.

Is ACAF training eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement?

Yes, the Administration for Children, Youth and Families within the Dept. of Health and Human Services has approved the All Children – All Families Training for Title IV-E funds.

Is there an evaluation component to ACAF training?

As part of All Children – All Families training, a training post-test is administered online. The ACAF team will send a link to the post-test and instructions to the designated point person at your agency prior to the training. Staff will have two business days to complete this post-test and we estimate it takes around 20-25 minutes. Similar to the Baseline Staff Assessment (BSA), we encourage 100% staff participation, but require an 85% participation rate to gain a comprehensive assessment. ACAF compares post-test results with the BSA taken prior to the training to assess what your staff learned and their experience in ACAF training. Please note, the post-test must be completed in order to meet benchmark 5.

Does ACAF training offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

Yes, All Children – All Families training is eligible for up to 18.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The total hours available depends on the number of training hours received. In general, each full day of training is eligible for 6 hours. Instructions on how to obtain CEUs will be provided during your agency’s training preparation with the ACAF team.