TACOMA (June 26, 2018) -- Today, Amara, a not-for-profit organization that supports children in foster care and those who love them, proudly announced that it is being recognized in '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. These organizations serve more than 350,000 clients annually in 23 states and employ nearly 11,000 people.
Nicole Mazen, director of Amara's foster care program, stated, 'We are honored and grateful to be recognized in the HRC's report as an 'innovator' in supporting and serving LGBTQ youth and families experiencing foster care. It's important to all of us at Amara that we are an open, affirming, and welcoming environment for all children and all families. We are proud to work in partnership with the HRC to strengthen our commitment, developing and implementing new ways of supporting and advocating for LGBTQ children and adults impacted by foster care.'
'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.'
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. 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
This work could not be more important. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care and face 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; and
" 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 US 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. The HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.
Founded in 1921, Amara is a nonprofit organization that supports children in foster care, adoptees, and the families who love and care for them, in King County and Pierce County. It does this through three main programs. When a child first enters foster care, Amara provides them with a safe place to land at its emergency sanctuaries. If a child cannot return to their family, Amara prepares foster and adoptive families to care for children until the child is reunited with their family or relatives, or is adopted. Amara recognizes that adoption is a lifetime commitment and continues to be a resource post-adoption for adoptees and those who love them.
Courtesy of Amara
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