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 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, 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. These TA sessions are organized around the seven key policy/practice areas and offered during the annual cycle. 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 process points that All Children - All Families participants will follow during the year-long engagement with the project. These process points will overlap.
Team Building & Preparation
All Children - All Families 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 could be as small as a two-person team, or as large as a 15-person steering committee (for larger, public agencies). Before beginning the process, this team should be identified.
Next, ACAF encourages agencies to familiarize these staff leads with the participation process by reviewing available web resources and attending an “All Children - All Families Participation: Keys To Success” webinar to ensure you are up-to-date on what it means to engage in the project.
This webinar will identify the highest priority next steps for participating agencies, including: strategizing around your organization’s ACAF online learning participation and discussing your goals for achieving one of the three tiers of recognition.
Ensuring buy-in from leadership is essential to any organizational change efforts. To assist in this important step, All Children - All Families provides an “Executive Briefing” tailored to agency leaders. All participating agencies are required to have at least one senior leader attend a briefing during the participation process (no later than November).
Policy & Practice Self-Assessment
Each participating agency is given a unique link for the All Children - All Families online Agency Self-Assessment. This tool guides an agency’s review of All Children - All Families’ key policy and practice benchmarks. It is recommended that agencies complete their self-assessment no later than August and, at a minimum, that the first thorough review of the assessment is completed before any technical assistance sessions. Work on the assessment is completed by February of each year, at which point All Children - All Families will work with agencies to finalize the tier of recognition met for that year’s cycle. This process will include opportunities to further discuss policy and practices, provide updates to ACAF, and be informed of the agency’s final tier status (by mid-May).
Policy & Practice Implementation
After an agency has completed its self-assessment, needed policy and practice changes will be clear. Throughout this stage, ACAF’s resources (e.g. model policies, group technical assistance sessions, etc.) are available to assist in implementing the improvements necessary to achieve the benchmarks.
All Children - All Families leads group technical assistance (TA) sessions for all participating agencies. These sessions are focused on specific benchmarks and serve as an opportunity for agencies to learn from their peers as they navigate the work of LGBTQ capacity building.
Online Learning Participation
A key component of All Children - All Families participation is the professional development available to agency staff through the project’s annual webinar series. Participating agencies will be required to meet specific participation goals and ACAF will help monitor progress. It is recommended that agencies begin their work toward these goals early in the process.
Annual Engagement Announcement
Each year ACAF will celebrate engaged agencies publicly and highlight examples of innovation. This recognition occurs throughout the annual cycle in various ways, and a formal announcement is made in the summer as the year of engagement comes to a close.