FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Maryland, Virginia, DC) – Adoptions Together, a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 that supports children and families in the DMV formed through adoption, guardianship, foster care, and kinship care, proudly announced that it is being recognized in 2021 Change-Makers at the highest level of inclusion – Innovative Inclusion. 2021 Change-Makers is the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s third annual report highlighting 119 child welfare agencies across the country who have worked with the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) program to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ+ community, including children in foster care, 1 in 3 of whom are LGBTQ+, and prospective foster and adoptive parents.
Janice Goldwater, Founder & CEO of Adoptions Together, stated, “For over 31 years, our team has worked to build, strengthen, and support all children and families, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, each and every day. We are honored to work in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and be recognized in 2021 Change-Makers at the Innovative Inclusion level. Our organization firmly believes that all people – regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race – deserve the love of a stable family to learn, grow, and heal throughout their entire life.”
“The third edition of our Change-Makers report shows that, despite the many hardships of the last year, more organizations than ever before are working alongside the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to make impactful change for the LGBTQ+ youth and families they serve,” said Alison Delpercio, Human Rights Campaign Foundation Director, All Children – All Families. “This year’s participants also demonstrated a growing commitment to intersectionality and ensuring organizational policies and practices do not reinforce the same systems of oppression that put youth and families at risk in the first place. By taking on these challenges, the change-makers featured in our 2021 report are models for youth-serving professionals everywhere.”
The release comes at a time when many have been sounding the alarm about the particular risks foster youth face due to COVID-19. LGBTQ+ inclusion work in foster care systems could not be more important. Studies have shown us that LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care, and that child welfare systems must do more to ensure that the trauma of foster care, where LGBTQ youth already face an increased risk of both negative experiences and outcomes, is never compounded by that caused by unsafe and non-affirming foster homes:
- Approximately 1 out of every 3 youth in foster care is LGBTQ+
- LGBTQ+ youth report higher rates of mistreatment while in care
- LGBTQ+ youth report more frequent placement disruptions
- LGBTQ+ youth report a higher likelihood of being placed in congregate care settings
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.
The 2021 Change-Makers report features three “Tiers of Recognition,” which celebrate the progress agencies have made toward becoming fully welcoming to their LGBTQ+ clients. Adoptions Together was recognized at the highest level, Innovative Inclusion. At this level, agencies are pushing themselves beyond the solid foundation they have built and implementing innovative approaches to LGBTQ+ inclusion in each of the seven key policy and practice areas. Benchmarks at this level also require agencies to demonstrate leadership in areas like policy advocacy or organizational partnerships.
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. Read the full report here.
About Adoptions Together: Adoptions Together, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, supports children and families formed through adoption, guardianship, foster care, and kinship care with specialized services offered at locations in Maryland, Virginia and DC. Through its expertise in family services, adoption, education, therapy, and public-private and community partnerships, the agency has touched the lives of more than 15,000 families and children since it was founded 30 years ago. Adoptions Together’s mission is to build healthy lifelong family connections for every child and to advocate for continuous improvement of systems that promote the well-being of children. One of the agency’s guiding principles is inclusivity: all families and children are welcome regardless of gender, age, race, religion, wealth, health, marital status, or sexual orientation. With a holistic network of more than three dozen innovative services that build and strengthen families, Adoptions Together is one of the most diverse independent social service agencies serving Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.