FOR IMMEIDATE RELEASE
Adoption & Beyond, HRC Join Record Number of Partners Working on LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
New Report: 172 agencies partner with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children – All Families program, including Adoption & Beyond, and together serve more than 1.4 million clients annually.
Adoption & Beyond is proud to be one of the 36 FIRST TIME partners.
OVERLAND PARK, KS – Adoption & Beyond is proud to be one of 172 child welfare organizations joining the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) program in 2023, as highlighted in a new report. Together, these organizations work to improve the services provided to the LGBTQ+ community, including children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents who are LGBTQ+. This year alone, this multi-organization partnership assessed 9,500+ policies and practices within child welfare organizations to ensure they meet ACAF best practices criteria — approximately 6,000 more than were assessed when this report was first released in 2019. This allowed for over 1.4 million children, youth, and families across 43 states to benefit from these LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices.
“Providing children and families with the most inclusive environment in which to grow should always be the number one priority,” said Phii Regis, Director of HRC’s All Children – All Families Program. “We are grateful for Adoption & Beyond’s work as part of this partnership — together, we can win the fight for equality and build safe and loving communities at the same time.”
“We are so excited to get this recognition, we have worked really hard to achieve it and we feel it’s important for us to be able to work with All Families and All Children,” said Steffany Aye, Director and Founder of Adoption & Beyond.
This report comes at a time when LGBTQ+ people, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, are under threat. Laws and policies protecting LGBTQ youth in foster care from discrimination are a patchwork from state to state. Only 13 states and the District of Columbia have explicit laws or policies in place to protect foster youth from discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. Seven additional states explicitly protect foster youth from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity. Approximately 1 in 3 youth in foster care are LGBTQ+, and laws that attack them on the basis of sexuality and gender put an already vulnerable community at risk. When they aren’t allowed in homes that support them, LGBTQ+ youth face higher rates of abuse and mistreatment than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Data shows 44% of LGBTQ+ youth in state custody were removed, ran away, or thrown out of their home for reasons directly related to their identity.
At the same time, there are an overwhelming number of LGBTQ+ families who have at least considered adopting or fostering a child in the future, but 55% of them feared being turned away because of their identity, and only 14% knew of an LGBTQ+-inclusive agency near them. One couple was quoted in the report as having been rejected from two child welfare agencies on the basis of their identity before finally being accepted to foster with an ACAF partner agency: “[I] got rejected twice from two different agencies and I didn’t see how going to another agency was going to make any difference. One day I was just browsing online, and I found a foster care licensing agency and they [had] the LGBT flag so I called them and I found that, yeah, they’re inclusive to everybody. It’s kind of like it was meant to be.”
With the work of ACAF, A record-breaking 10,650+ professionals were trained in how to make their agencies as inclusive of LGBTQ+ families and youth as possible. Additionally, all partner organizations that earned a Tier of Recognition with the program, such as Adoption & Beyond, now include “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” and “gender expression” in their client non-discrimination policy and communicate this policy to staff and clients. They also documented client forms featuring gender-neutral language, such as “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” rather than “Mother” and “Father,” and they display visual cues throughout common areas to communicate support and inclusion of LGBTQ+ clients and their families.
To learn more about Adoption & Beyond please visit adoption-beyond.org. To learn more about the All Children-All Families program, please visit https://www.thehrcfoundation.org/about/all-children-all-families.