Participating in All Children - All Families
Interested in participating in All Children - All Families? Request to participate today!
Participating in All Children - All Families will give you and your organization the resources and technical assistance needed to make significant progress toward your goal of improving practice with LGBTQ children, youth and families.
All Children - All Families resources are tailored toward child welfare agencies (e.g., public or private agencies that provide foster care or adoption-related services) and these agencies are eligible to be formally recognized for their participation. Organizations that fall outside of child welfare are still welcome to take advantage of the project's tools (online self-assessment, resource compilations, TA, training and webinars).
Further, for private contract agencies, the participation process is going to be most helpful and applicable to those that are large enough to have the organizational infrastructure in place for policy and practice assessment and implementation. Smaller agencies (e.g., those with less than 25 or so employees) and/or those just getting started in service delivery may find the formal participation process doesn’t fit but they may still take advantage of project resources.
All Children - All Families engages with agencies on an annual cycle beginning in August/September of each year. An interested agency can request to participate at any time and the ACAF team will be in touch to connect the agency with the available resources given where the timing falls within the annual cycle. In order to be eligible for formal recognition for its participation, an agency must begin the participation process no later than November.
In August/September, participants are given access to a customized Agency Self-Assessment tool (completed online) which assists them in measuring their current level of LGBTQ inclusion. The assessment focuses on seven key areas of policy and practice benchmarks. Participating agencies that demonstrate a minimum level of LGBTQ inclusion will be formally recognized at the end of the annual cycle and celebrated throughout the year as benchmarks are met.
In addition to the assessment, ACAF provides individualized technical assistance as well as group-based sessions to facilitate learning between and among participating agencies as they work toward benchmarks. Participating agencies also enroll staff members in All Children - All Families Webinar Series to provide professional development opportunities specific to LGBTQ inclusion.
Participating agencies are recognized at three different levels of inclusion, depending on the extent to which they have implemented LGBTQ inclusive policies and affirming practices - and ACAF provides resources and technical assistance to help agencies at all levels. This recognition enhances agencies’ efforts to establish a track record of LGBTQ inclusion and build meaningful relationships with LGBTQ communities in their area.
The information below outlines the main steps that ACAF participants take during the year-long engagement with the project.
Team Building & Preparation
First, ACAF encourages agencies to select a team of staff members who will collaborate on leading the organization’s participation process. Depending on an agency’s size, this can range from a 2-person team to a 15-person steering committee (for larger, public agencies).
Ensuring buy-in from leadership is essential to any organizational change effort. To assist in this important step, ACAF provides an “Executive Briefing” webinar tailored to agency leaders. All participating agencies are required to have at least one senior leader attend a briefing during the participation process and are encouraged to do so no later than November.
Policy & Practice Self-Assessment
Each participating agency receives a unique link for the ACAF online Agency Self-Assessment. This tool guides an agency’s review of the Benchmarks of LGBTQ Inclusion. Agencies are required to complete the assessment by February of each year, at which point ACAF works with agencies to finalize their responses for that year’s cycle.
Policy & Practice Implementation
As an agency completes its self-assessment, necessary policy and practice changes will be clear. Throughout this stage, ACAF resources such as model policies and group technical assistance sessions are available to assist in implementing the improvements necessary to achieve the Benchmarks of LGBTQ Inclusion in a particular tier.
Group Technical Assistance
ACAF leads group technical assistance (TA) sessions for participating agencies, which serve as an opportunity for agencies to learn from their peers as they navigate the work of LGBTQ capacity-building. These TA sessions begin in August/September and run through January of each annual cycle.
Online Learning Participation
A key component of ACAF participation is the professional development available to agency staff through the project’s annual webinar series. Participating agencies are required to meet specific participation goals based on the tier they are pursuing.
After agencies submit their self-assessment, ACAF works with them to finalize their responses. This process includes opportunities to further discuss policy and practices, provide updates to ACAF and be informed of the agency’s final Tier of Recognition (by mid-May). Each year ACAF celebrates all participating agencies in its annual report.