As a growing number of states pass laws permitting discrimination against LGBTQ people interested in foster care and adoption, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has released a toolkit to help the child welfare field better serve LGBTQ families.
The toolkit is part of HRC’s All Children-All Families program and provides webinars, assessment tools and best practices for professionals and caregivers working with people in the LGBTQ and child welfare communities.
Numerous national advocates are supporting the HRC’s pro-equality efforts, including the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, Voice for Adoption, the Adoption Exchange Association, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Child Welfare Strategy Group and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA).
“Now, more than ever, the groundbreaking All Children-All Families program must be woven into the work of every child welfare agency to ensure that LGBTQ children and families are treated with understanding, personal respect and professional competency,” said DTFA President Rita L. Soronen, in a press release. “With the program’s new tools added to its innovative and ongoing technical assistance, training and support, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation simply encourages each of us in child welfare to build up, rather than tear down, the significance of human diversity.”
The assessment tools help nonprofit and government agencies evaluate their own policies around LGBTQ inclusiveness. Best practices include how-to guides on everything from identifying LGBTQ-friendly foster and adoptive homes to talking to youth in group homes about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or SOGIE. Resources are also available specifically for working with youth involved in the juvenile justice system as well as those who are transgender and gender non-conforming.
Other issue areas included in the online library of resources are healthcare, homelessness and schools, as well as federal and state policy.
“Given recent efforts by anti-equality legislators across the country to grant agencies ‘licenses to discriminate’ targeting prospective LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents, our work to ensure that child welfare organizations are fully inclusive of LGBTQ youth and families has never been more important,” said Alison Delpercio, deputy director of HRC’s children, youth and families program.
There have been more than 110 anti-LGBTQ bills circulated in 29 states this year, according to HRC. Nine states have passed laws that allow faith-based foster care and adoption providers to decline to serve LGBTQ caregivers and, in some cases, youth.
The most recent additions to that list are Kansas and Oklahoma, where governors signed laws in 2018.