Thursday, March 19, 2009

LGBT Cultural Competency for Foster Care and Adoption Agencies

For the past two days our entire staff, including volunteers and interns, along with members of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services have been involved in All Children, All Families training. This training was run by Ann McCabe, a consultant to the All Children, All Families Campaign and a licensed Family and Marriage Therapist and Ellen Kahn, Family Project Director at the Human Rights Campaign. The training provided us with training on LGBT Cultural Competency for Foster Care and Adoption Agencies. Modules included Foundations of Effective Practice with LGBT Parents, Putting Out the Welcome Mat: Establishing Agency Communications, Spaces and Recruitment Practices that Embrace LGBT Families.

Over the course of over 10 hours we were exposed to and got to explore the issues which face the LGBT community in general and specifically when going through the adoption process. We discussed the potential barriers to adoption, like the explicit prohibition in 9 states, and ways we could address the concerns of those facing these challenges.

On the positive side, we also looked at the strengths that LGBT individuals bring to the table when choosing to adopt. Many of those in the community have had to overcome obstacles, grief and loss like so many of the children and youths we see. This compassion and understanding can create a strong bond.

We will be using the training we went through to implement strategies to plan outreach to prospective adoptive/foster parents from the LGBT community. Center staff will also review all agencies materials to assess if the Center materials convey the message that the Center is a welcoming environment for LGBT prospective adoptive parents.

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