Celebrating Adoptions Together’s Inclusion in the ACAF Project

Announcing Adoption’s Together’s 2019 Innovative Inclusion in the All Children All Families Project

Adoptions Together has been honored to collaborate with the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children All Families Project to make adoption accessible, welcoming and progressive for LGBTQ families since the inception of the initiative 12 years ago. As a founding member of the ACAF advisory board, our executive director, Janice Goldwater is honored to have played a key role in supporting the development of this initiative.  By partnering with public and private child welfare agencies, the ACAF project assists agencies like Adoptions Together to identify barriers that LGBTQ youth and families face when accessing services and help us to ensure we have the skills and compassionate understanding we need to better serve our community.

This year, our collaboration with the All Children All Families Project earned us the Innovator Seal of Inclusion, recognizing our foundation of work with LGBTQ youth and families as well as advocacy for policy reform and organizational partnership. Achieving the Innovator Seal has been a rewarding journey for our team’s commitment to this need. Over the past few months, our staff participated in training and evaluations designed to meet the seven benchmarks of the ACAF’s practice areas:

  1. Non-Discrimination: Together, we expanded our existing non-discrimination policy to also include our commitment to an equitable workplace for employees, volunteers and partners who collaborate with us to make meaningful change a reality for everyone.
  2. Staff Training: Our staff participated in ACAF online trainings and attended a comprehensive in-person training led by the Human Rights Campaign’s ACAF team.
  3. Rolling Out the Welcome Mat: Part of serving LGBTQ youth and families is demonstrating that everyone belongs at Adoptions Together. We pride ourselves in ensuring representations of LGBTQ families and individuals are part of our everyday message- not just when it’s “part of the story”, but because LGBTQ families are part of our story. Whether you’re browsing our website, viewing our annual report, or wandering the halls of our offices, LGBTQ families are part of the picture you’ll see that signal “you belong here”.
  4.  Parent Best Practices: When we work with adoptive parents, foster parents and parents involved in the child welfare system, it’s important for us to understand best practices to ensure LGBTQ adults feel included and welcomed at Adoptions Together. Our team participated in comprehensive training on LGTBQ parent recruitment efforts, LGBTQ parent training and best practices for affirming home studies with LGBTQ clients.
  5. Youth Best Practices: Expanding our ability to best serve LGBTQ youth is one of the most important goals our staff achieved through receiving our Innovator Seal this year. Because the number of youth in foster care is growing each year, and the number of LGBTQ youth living in foster care continues to over-represent non-LGBTQ youth, it is critical for child welfare professionals to understand their unique perspectives, needs, and how to serve them with every available resource. Learning about LGBTQ youth trends from the HRC, as well as ways to ensure all youth we serve feel safe, supported and understood has been a meaningful benchmark for our team as we continue our work.
  6. Sustainability and Capacity Building: Our team is committed to ensuring LGBTQ inclusion doesn’t stand in the way of our mission’s sustainability or our ability to expand our efforts to serve youth and families who need us. Creating a better understanding of our organizational culture, how sexual orientation and gender expression impact that culture, and implementing policy practices that are affirming to everyone are part of change that help us ensure we will be here for the community into the future.
  7. Leadership and Innovation: Part of our mission is advocating for continuous improvement of systems that promote the well-being of children and families. As a recipient of the Innovator Seal, we understand that this aspect of our mission is critically important to advocacy and change for the LGBTQ community. Our team is dedicated to being present, outspoken and innovative as part of this mission.

Serving LGBTQ youth and families is a cornerstone of our work. Our partnership with the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children All Families Project helps us to more effectively serve LGBTQ individuals in our community each day. The Innovator Seal Recognition is an honor to receive in 2019 and drives us to continue our pursuit to welcome all families in the future.

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