Today, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS), the second largest private provider of child welfare services in Illinois, including foster care and adoption, proudly announced that it is being recognized in Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers in Child Welfare — a first-of-its-kind report highlighting more than 70 child welfare agencies across the country that partnered with the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) project to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community, including children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. These organizations serve more than 350,000 clients annually in 23 states, and employ nearly 11,000.
LCFS President and CEO Mike Bertrand stated, “LCFS is very proud to receive the Innovator Seal from ACAF. It is core to our values that all people that come to us for service know that they are welcome, we value them, and we are privileged to partner in service with them.”
“Thousands of committed professionals — from frontline workers to executives — know that LGBTQ youth are perfect just the way they are and that removing barriers for potentially qualified LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents is in the best interest of children,” said Alison Delpercio, Director of the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families Project. “While some of these agencies are taking their first steps toward inclusion and others have been leaders in innovating new approaches, more agencies should look to the policies and practices these organizations are implementing to protect against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and meaningfully engage their communities.”
The agencies featured in this report conducted an internal self-assessment, provided professional development to staff and implemented ACAF’s “Benchmarks of LGBTQ Inclusion,” which track policy and practice changes within agencies. Celebrating Everyday Change- Makers features three “Tiers of Recognition,” which celebrate the strides agencies have made toward becoming fully LGBTQ welcoming and affirming.
- Building a Foundation for Inclusion: 14 organizations
- Solid Foundation for Inclusion: 25 organizations
- Innovative Inclusion: 32 organizations
- This work could not be more important. LGBTQ youth are over-represented in foster care and face increased risk of both negative experiences and outcomes:
- Up to 30% of youth in foster care are LGBTQ;
- LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to report being treated poorly as their non-LGBTQ peers while in care;
- LGBTQ youth have a greater average number of placements than their non-LGBTQ peers;
- LGBTQ youth are more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to be placed in congregate care, including group homes.
Since 2007, hundreds of child welfare agencies across the U.S. have used ACAF’s resources to enhance their efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for LGBTQ youth and families. This new effort marks a major step toward improving the services provided to LGBTQ youth and prospective parents.
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois is a welcoming organization that serves people of all faiths, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender-identifications. If you or someone you know is interested in providing a safe and nurturing home to children in need through foster care or adoption, learn more at www.lcfs.org or contact (800) 363-LCFS.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.