All Children - All Families: Benchmarks of LGBTQ Cultural Competency
Agencies that demonstrate they have achieved these 10 benchmarks will be designated “Leaders in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ Youth & Families” and awarded the Seal of Recognition.
- Download a PDF of the ACAF Benchmarks
- ACAF Benchmarks for CASA Affiliates
- Read Testimonials from ACAF Leaders
- Interested in participating in ACAF? Get Started Today!
1. Client Non-Discrimination
a. Client non-discrimination policy explicitly prohibits discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”
b. Client non-discrimination policy explicitly prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity.”
c. Client non-discrimination policy explicitly prohibits discrimination based on “gender expression.”
d. Client non-discrimination policy is communicated to staff and clients.
2. Employment Non-Discrimination
a. Employment non-discrimination policy explicitly prohibits discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”
b. Employment non-discrimination policy explicitly prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity.”
3. Organizational Partnerships & Non-Discrimination
a. Agency employs best efforts to limit or avoid partnerships with organizations and service providers that engage in discriminatory practices or perpetuate biased policies which harm the LGBTQ community.
b. Agency employs best efforts to require organizational partners, collaborators or contractors to meet its own LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination standards.
4. Agency Forms
All agency-controlled forms and internal documents use LGBTQ-inclusive language related to family and relationship status (e.g., "partner" instead of "spouse,""parent 1" and "parent 2" rather than "mother" and "father”).
5. Staff Training
a. All agency employees (including clerical staff, top management and any other employees who have direct contact with clients) receive comprehensive training required to work effectively and competently with LGBTQ clients.
b. Agency social workers, managers and administrators receive role-specific training in working effectively and competently with LGBTQ clients.
c. Agency provides staff in-service trainings focused on supporting LGBTQ clients at least once a year. These trainings address specific skills in order to enhance cultural competency working with LGBTQ clients.
More: Staff Training
6. Staff Advocates
Agency has on staff one or more advocates for LGBTQ clients. This advocate (sometimes called ombudsperson or champion) is identified to all staff and clients and is charged with resource collection and dissemination, advocacy, support and intervention specifically for LGBTQ clients.
7. Client Advisory Boards & Community Expertise
a. Agency client advisory boards (youth and adult) or similar entities (committees, groups that regularly provide client-based feedback, guidance and advice to agency leaders and managers) include members who identify as LGBTQ or as allies to the LGBTQ community and/or demonstrate how they will engage the voice of LGBTQ clients and allies in a meaningful way.
b. Agency has access to an expert in competent practice and delivery of service to the LGBTQ community.
8. Agency Environment & External Communications
a. Visual cues throughout common areas communicate support and inclusion of LGBTQ resource families and/or LGBTQ and ally youth (e.g. posters, magazines, brochures).
b. Agency’s external communications (website, printed materials, etc.) explicitly and consistently reflect its commitment to working with and welcoming LGBTQ clients and their families.
c. Agency actively recruits for LGBTQ resource families.
9. Training & Support for Resource Families
a. Agency includes LGBTQ-specific examples and exercises in all family training (e.g., MAPP and PRIDE, or other similar training). Trainings are inclusive of LGBTQ-headed families and provide information on creating a safe and affirming environment for LGBTQ youth.
b. Trainers are prepared to deliver this content and create a safe space for all families.
c. Agency provides LGBTQ-inclusive ongoing support and education to existing resource families and other caregivers (including birth families and foster/birth siblings whenever applicable).
More: Family Training
10. Client Services & Referrals
a. Agency has in place ongoing efforts to address LGBTQ-inclusion and cultural competence across all services.
b. Agency identifies and utilizes a list of LGBTQ-competent referrals for outside client services.
c. Agency has a process in place to identify safe and affirming resource families for LGBTQ youth.
d. Agency has had placements/finalized adoptions with several LGBTQ foster or adoptive parents; and/or provided foster/adoption services to LGBTQ families within the past year.
More: Placement & Finalization