FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 30, 2021
CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo | Gustavo@childadvocatessv.org
Today, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, a nonprofit organization serving foster children placed in the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System, proudly announced that it is being recognized in 2021 Change-Makers Report a report highlighting the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) program’s partnership with 119 organizations– a 19% increase in participation from last year — working 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. These organizations serve more than 1 million clients annually in 35 states and employ more than 24,000 employees.
Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates stated, “It’s an honor to be recognized by the HRC Foundation for the work we do with our LGBTQ+ foster youth. I’m convinced that having a well-trained, competent staff that understands the issues of LGBTQ+ youth, knows how to access resources and can train our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), will improve the outcomes for LGBTQ+ foster kids in our community.”
“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, HRC 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. With 32 new participants this year, ACAF also expands the program’s reach into six new states — Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico and North Carolina — and the District of Columbia for the first time. 92% of participants met a tier of recognition, and 14 of the returning organizations advanced to a higher tier of recognition.
- Innovative Inclusion: 44 organizations met all 25 applicable criteria and are going beyond to innovate their services for LGBTQ+ youth and families
- Solid Foundation for Inclusion: 40 organizations met all 25 applicable policy and practice criteria for LGBTQ+ inclusion
- Building Foundation for Inclusion: 25 organizations met foundational criteria, including non-discrimination protections
The report features profiles of four child welfare organizations that are setting the bar for LGBTQ+ inclusion while adapting to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to calls for an end to systemic racism — including in child welfare: Vista Del Mar in California; Extraordinary Families in California; Texas Casa in Texas; and 360 Youth Services in Illinois. The report also features interviews with individuals who have been impacted by LGBTQ+-inclusive services, including: Manuel Padilla, a foster parent in Colorado; and Victoria, a former youth in care and now trainer at Lawrence Hall in Illinois.
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 The Human Rights Campaign Foundation
The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ community.
About Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization created in 1986. We serve children aged birth to 21 years old who are placed in the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System for having experienced trauma in the form of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. We are responsible for operating the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program in Santa Clara County, which entails recruiting, training and supporting CASA Volunteers according to the National CASA Association standards. To learn more, please visit ChildAdvocatesSV.org.