Frequently Asked Questions:  Participating in ACAF

Many frequently asked questions about participating in HRC’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) project are answered below. Another great way to get your questions answered is ACAF’s Process & Assessment Introduction webinar; this 60-minute webinar provides answers to FAQs, tips for successfully completing the ACAF process, and an overview of the benchmarks of LGBTQ cultural competency. Click here to learn more and register.

Select one of the links below to jump to the stage in the ACAF process you have questions about:

Becoming an ACAF Participant

What are the benefits of participating in All Children – All Families?

Participation in All Children – All Families comes with access to innovative tools and resources that can help your agency achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for all young people in its care. ACAF’s Agency Self-Assessment reviews your agency’s policies and practices with an LGBTQ cultural competency lens. Agencies also gain access to the Baseline Staff Assessment; an online survey that measures your staff’s LGBTQ-related practice experience, knowledge, attitudes and skills. Participating agencies can also take advantage of ACAF’s comprehensive training program to develop foundational LGBTQ cultural competency, understand how to create safe and affirming environments for LGBTQ youth, and learn strategies to recruit LGBTQ resource parents. Achieving all 10 benchmarks of LGBTQ cultural competency can increase your agency’s visibility with our HRC-branded Seal of Recognition.

Is my agency/organization eligible to participate?

All Children – All Families offers resources, training, and technical assistance tailored to child welfare agencies and organizations – both public and private – that provide direct services to youth in out-of-home care and/or provide licensing, matching, support and placement services to foster/adoptive parents. Current participants include:

  • state- and county-level Departments of Child & Family Services
  • private foster care/adoption agencies on contract with public providers
  • adoption exchanges
  • CASA affiliates
  • and others

Review participating ACAF agencies to see if agencies like yours are participating.

Agencies with multiple divisions that provide a mix of child welfare services and services outside of that realm will be asked to indicate which specific division(s) provide child welfare services. These divisions will be eligible for the ACAF Seal of Recognition. For more information, see Participating on Behalf of Agency Division and Participating on Behalf of Multiple Locations. If you would like to request to participate in ACAF on behalf of your agency, visit this page.

What if my agency does not fit within ACAF’s scope?

Many of the best practices from All Children – All Families are transferable to any organization serving youth and families. Therefore, if your agency does not fall within ACAF’s scope, we are still happy to connect you with resources that may be applicable; many of which you can find here. If you are not sure, please submit a participation request and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.

Only certain division(s) of my agency fits ACAF’s scope. May we still participate?

Yes. If your agency would like to participate in ACAF on behalf of a specific division, see Participating on Behalf of Agency Division for more information.

My agency has several locations/offices; can we participate on behalf of multiple locations?

Yes. If your agency would like to participate on behalf of multiple locations, see Participating on Behalf of Multiple Locations for more information.

When will my agency be listed publically on ACAF’s website?

When an agency successfully completes the first step of the ACAF participation process, it is added to the list of official participants. This first step includes completing the Baseline Staff Assessment and the Agency Self-Assessment. See the questions below for more information on the steps to participating.

When will my agency be awarded All Children – All Families Leader status and receive the Seal of Recognition/be able to start using HRC branding?

Once your agency has met all 10 benchmarks of LGBTQ cultural competency it will be awarded ACAF Leader status. All Leaders must complete a usage agreement before receiving the Seal of Recognition files. This agreement outlines appropriate use of the Seal of Recognition. The Seal image may be featured on your agency’s website, recruitment materials, etc.

Steps to Participating in All Children – All Families

  1. Complete the Agency Self-Assessment and the Baseline Staff Assessment-- two online tools that assess your agency’s LGBTQ-competency.
  2. Work with ACAF’s Technical Assistance Specialist to make policy and practice improvements at your agency to achieve the 10 benchmarks. At this point agencies also receive a training needs assessment from ACAF’s National Training Manager. As part of benchmark 5, agencies must implement LGBTQ cultural competency training for agency staff utilizing local resources or ACAF training.
  3. Meet all 10 benchmarks, and receive the Seal of recognition as an ACAF-certified Leader;
  4. Agencies renew their Leader status every two years

For more information see How to Participate.

Onboarding Call

What purpose does the onboarding call serve?

At the start of the process, your agency will have an “onboarding call” with a member of the ACAF team. This call will offer an opportunity for ACAF to understand the unique needs and motivations of your agency and answer any questions you may have about participation. Some of the other goals of the call include identifying the scope of your agency’s services/participation (youth, families, or youth and families), establishing a timeline for completing the Agency Self-Assessment, and setting your agency up with the Baseline Staff Assessment.

Agency Self-Assessment

One of the first steps in participation includes requesting access to your Agency Self-Assessment and answering the assessment questions on best practices related to serving LGBTQ youth and/or families.

Click here for a more detailed overview of the Agency Self-Assessment.

How do I gain access to my Agency Self-Assessment?

Click here to request to participate and ACAF will send your agency’s log-in information for the Agency Self-Assessment, which is completed online. Please feel free to email ACAF with any questions. ACAF will also work with you to schedule an onboarding call at this time.

How long does it take to complete the Agency Self-Assessment? 

ACAF recommends that agencies complete the first submission of the Agency Self-Assessment (ASA) within 30 days of receiving access to it. It is not expected that all benchmarks are met prior to submission. Some past participants have delayed submitting their ASA while they worked to complete policy and practice updates. The ACAF team does not recommend this approach. Instead, work to submit your ASA as soon as possible to allow technical assistance to guide policy and practice updates.

Does my agency need to meet all 10 Benchmarks of LGBTQ Cultural Competency before submitting the ASA?

No. There is no expectation that your agency will meet all 10 Benchmarks of LGBTQ Cultural Competency at the time it requests to participate. After submitting the Agency Self-Assessment, your agency will have the opportunity to work with the ACAF Technical Assistance Specialist to make policy and practice changes in order to meet the 10 benchmarks.

Who should complete the Agency Self-Assessment on behalf of an agency?

In most cases, agency leadership (e.g. Executive Directors, Program Directors, etc.) should complete the Agency Self-Assessment. Whenever possible, ACAF recommends taking a team-based approach to completing the ASA and shepherding an agency through the full ACAF participation process.

Can more than one person complete the Agency Self-Assessment?

Yes. While there can only be one official submitter, you may have as many contributors helping to complete the Agency Self-Assessment as needed. Everyone can log in and out using the same username and password. Please avoid having multiple people completing the same sections at the same time.

What resources are available to help my agency complete the Agency Self-Assessment?

The Agency Self-Assessment (ASA) features help text, model policies, and links to email the ACAF team for assistance. In addition, ACAF regularly facilitates a webinar that provides a comprehensive overview of the ASA, frequently asked questions, and helpful tips; you can click here to register for that webinar.

What should my agency do when/if questions on the Agency Self-Assessment do not seem applicable?

The majority of questions in the Agency Self-Assessment will apply to all participating agencies. When a “not applicable” option is available, agencies can choose this option if a question does not seem applicable to their work. During technical assistance, your agency will have an opportunity to explain why a question may not be applicable. The ACAF Technical Assistance Specialist will inform your agency if there is a way to apply the question to your agency’s work and provide guidance as to how to best answer or upload supporting documentation.

Baseline Staff Assessment

The Baseline Staff Assessment is an online survey that will measure your staff’s LGBTQ-related practice experience, knowledge, attitudes, and skills.

How will agency staff members receive the Baseline Staff–Assessment?

The ACAF team creates a unique URL link for each agency’s Baseline Staff-Assessment (BSA) that is sent via email to your agency’s main point of contact for ACAF. We will include template language that can be used by your agency when sending the link out to staff.

Which staff members should complete the Baseline Staff-Assessment?

All agency employees, including clerical staff, top management and any other employees who have direct contact with clients, should complete the Baseline Staff-Assessment (BSA). This should include all employees regardless of employee status, i.e. full-time, part-time, and consultants. While we encourage 100% staff participation, there is goal to have an 85% participation rate to ensure a comprehensive assessment.

Receive Free Technical Assistance

The next step in the process includes working with ACAF’s Technical Assistance Specialist to implement formal changes at your agency to meet each of the ten benchmarks and become a leader in supporting and serving LGBTQ youth and/or families.

When will my agency receive technical assistance?

Once your agency has submitted their Agency Self-Assessment and has achieved a minimum of 85% staff participation on the Baseline Staff Assessment, it will be eligible to receive technical assistance. As part of this step, the ACAF Technical Assistance Specialist will reach out to your agency to schedule a call for an in-depth review of your Agency Self-Assessment and discuss necessary policy and practice changes to meet the 10 benchmarks of LGBTQ cultural competency.

What is covered during technical assistance?

Technical assistance offers an opportunity for an in-depth review of your Agency Self-Assessment. ACAF’s Technical Assistance Specialist will examine your agency’s policies and practices and determine how your close your agency is to meeting the 10 benchmarks of LGBTQ cultural competency. Utilizing the guidance of ACAF’s Technical Assistance Specialist and ACAF’s resources, your agency will be supported in implementing any improvements and updates that are identified to achieve all ten benchmarks.  

What support is available to an agency after technical assistance?

ACAF’s support does not stop once technical assistance is complete. You can always reach out to the ACAF team at for all inquiries and requests.

My agency has remaining benchmarks to meet after technical assistance. How will I notify ACAF when this is done?

In most cases, your agency will regain access to the Agency Self-Assessment (ASA) to update responses and attach any new documents (if applicable). Just as with the first submission of the ASA, once updates are complete, the official submitter should submit the ASA. ACAF’s Technical Assistance Specialist will review the changes and contact your agency with next steps.

How will my agency know when it has been awarded Leader status?

In most cases, the ACAF Senior Technical Assistance Specialist will reach out to your agency to confirm that it has met all 10 benchmarks. An ACAF team member will send a usage agreement to your agency for completion; this agreement will outline the permissible uses of the Seal of Recognition. (See “For All Children – All Families Leaders” for more information.)

Training Needs Assessment

As part of technical assistance to meet benchmark 5 for staff training, ACAF’s National Training Manger will complete a training needs assessment of your agency. Check out the following documents for more information about our trainings:

See here for a comprehensive review of this process and answers to frequently asked questions about staff training.   

For All Children – All Families Leaders

Once your agency meets all 10 benchmarks, you will receive Leader status and receive the Seal of Recognition.

How can my agency highlight its All Children – All Families Leader status?

Some agencies elect to host a Seal of Recognition presentation event to commemorate achieving Leader status. If your agency chooses to do so, there may be an opportunity to work with HRC on a joint/individual press release about the event and if available, a local HRC-representative to formally present the Seal of Recognition at your agency’s event.

What are the resources now available to my agency as an ACAF Leader?
  • Network with like-minded agencies and share best practices to keep your agency a leader in the field.
  • Use the ACAF Seal of Recognition to increase your agency's visibility with the boost of HRC's brand.
    • Improve your agency's capacity to recruit LGBTQ resource families.
  • Provide continual professional development for staff through staff training, ACAF online learning, ACAF Leader renewal, etc.
  • Gain access to ACAF's Champion Hub where you will have new resources, communication with other leaders in the field, and much more! This is expected to be available in 2017.
What does renewing Leader status entail?
  • Agencies are required to renew their Leader status every two years:
    • You will complete an Agency Self-Assessment which will include a Leader Renewal Survey that will assess how your agency has exemplified its leadership in the field.
    • Your staff will complete another Baseline Staff Assessment.
    • You will receive free technical assistance and a training needs assessment to ensure your agency still meets the 10 benchmarks of LGBTQ cultural competency.
  • Continuing education for current staff and new hires:
    • Your agency should provide ongoing in-service LGBTQ competency training to staff. This can include a variety of options ranging from brown bag lunches where the focus is a specific LGBTQ topic to staff watching a film and having discussion afterwards as part of a diversity series.
  • Ongoing efforts to address LGBTQ inclusion and cultural competence across all services:
    • It's important that your agency continues to focus on making improvement in the services your agency provides to LGBTQ clients. For example, this means that if your agency provides adoption matching/placement services, you should be able to demonstrate an improvement in completed placements with LGBTQ families in the past two years since your agency’s certification.
How will I know when my agency is up for Leader renewal?

Two years after your most recent ACAF certification, ACAF will inform your agency it’s time for your renewal. We will provide you with login information to complete a new Agency Self-Assessment and set up an Onboarding call to get the renewal process started.