Lighthouse Recognized by HRC Foundation for LGBTQ Inclusion Efforts
CINCINNATI (June 26, 2019)– The Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced today that Lighthouse Youth & Family Services has earned the highest seal of recognition from the foundation’s All Children-All Families (ACAF) Project. Lighthouse has received the “Innovator” Seal of Recognition for its work in building and implementing innovative approaches to LGBTQ inclusion.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for innovative inclusion as we work to serve LGBTQ young people and families,” said Paul Haffner, Lighthouse Youth & Family Services President and CEO. “This is a testament to the dedication of our employees. Each day, they unite compassion with cultural competency while supporting the safety and well-being of each young person. This is true of every service we provide, including foster care and adoption, residential treatment centers, street outreach, and emergency shelter. “
Lighthouse’s achievement is recognized in the just-released 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.
The agencies featured in the 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
“Lighthouse is committed to providing the best care possible to LGBTQ young people and that should be what they receive wherever they go for care. With that goal, Lighthouse Safe and Supported is offering free LGBTQ cultural competency training statewide to professionals who serve youth,” said Melissa Meyer, Director of Equity Initiatives at Lighthouse Youth & Family Services. “We will continue to implement best practices and share what we learn as we work toward creating a community where every young person has the opportunity to thrive.”
“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.”
LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care and face an 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.
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.