According to the most recent data, more than 22,000 children and youth are in foster care in Florida, with nearly 6000 awaiting adoption. Research tells us that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented among these young people in out-of-home care. Thanks to an exciting collaboration with Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), HRC’s All Children - All Families (ACAF) project’s impact in the Sunshine State is about to increase exponentially, helping many more child welfare workers welcome and support LGBTQ youth and families.
ACAF provides resources to foster care and adoption agencies across the U.S. to help them better serve the LGBTQ community. A large part of this engagement is providing LGBTQ competency training, which gives social workers the knowledge and skills they need to understand and serve LGBTQ youth and families. In order to really make a difference, LGBTQ training needs to be offered on an ongoing basis and LGBTQ content should be embedded throughout an agency’s training program.
ACAF now offers a “Training of Facilitators” program to build an agency’s internal capacity to provide LGBTQ training routinely. Last December, ACAF piloted this program for CHS. Over the course of a full week, CHS trainers were prepared to deliver ACAF’s expert training. This August, after additional planning and preparation, the facilitators began delivering the training to colleagues throughout the state.
Once completed, the training rollout will include more than 2000 CHS staff members. The agency serves more than 50,000 children and family members every year throughout Florida. CHS’s website makes the organization’s commitment to strengthening families clear: “We believe in a world where children realize their full potential. We believe in turning odds into opportunities. And we're leading the way.”
As the first agency in the country to conduct a Training of Facilitators with ACAF, CHS puts these words into action and HRC is proud and appreciative of this partnership.
Learn more about All Children–All Families’ work to promote LGBTQ cultural competency in adoption and foster care at hrc.org/acaf.
Want to stay up-to-date on All Children - All Families resources and activities? Subscribe to “Field Forward,” the program’s monthly e-newsletter at hrc.im/field-forward.
Pictured from left to right: Karey Scheyd, ACAF Training Manager; Alison Delpercio, HRC’s Deputy Director of Children, Youth & Families Program; Garry Bevel, ACAF Expert Trainer; CHS Staff Members: John Miller, Arminda Jones, Rebecca Gonzalez, Elizabeth Phelps, Alexandra Fields, Rene Ledford and Sam Oliver.