LGBTQ Foster Care Project Honors Foster Care Agencies
Five agencies were honored by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ) Foster Care Project for their efforts in implementing LGBTQ affirming policies and practices at a recognition ceremony held February 25 at the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Those recognized were Abbott House, Episcopal Social Services, Harlem Dowling, Leake and Watts, and SCO Family of Services.
Tracey D. Little (left), LGBTQ Foster Care Advocacy Project Coordinator presented certificates of recognition Tracey Morrisey and Alex Navarro of Episcopal Social Services. At right is Nancy Chapman, ACS LGBTQ Coordinator.
Speaking at the ceremony, ACS Commissioner John Mattingly said that as a system we need good foster parents to be able to provide the best care for our children and young people. He added that ACS is putting resources in place to ensure that support is available to all foster parents. Commissioner Mattingly thanked the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center for its efforts in working with foster care agencies to create environments that are welcoming and inclusive of LGBT youths and adults that come in contact with the agencies. “This is just the beginning. We are committed to extending these resources to all our agencies.”
Among the components of the project are an agency needs assessment to determine the agency level of functioning in meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth and their families, and staff training on best practices, ACS policies, and human rights laws. Participating agencies learn from the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care, and LGBTQ affirming foster families through forums and panel discussions hosted by the youth and foster parents.
The LGBTQ Foster Care Project started in 2010 as a pilot program of the LGBT Community Center in partnership with ACS and foster care agencies to provide safe, high-quality and sensitive services to LGBTQ youth, birth parents and foster parents in the foster care community. Through the completion of this program, participating foster care agencies will meet the ten identified benchmarks (PDF) that represent satisfactory level of inclusiveness and cultural competency. The project has received additional funding to continue until December 2011, including the addition of three more agencies.
The project is headed by Tracey D. Little, Foster Care Advocacy Project Coordinator at the LGBT Community Center. Nancy Chapman, the LGBTQ Coordinator in the ACS Office of Child and Family Health is the lead ACS project partner. The other project partners are Lawyers for Children and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), NYC.