Nearly all child welfare service providers collect and routinely analyze data for the purpose of reporting outcomes to funders, community stakeholders and for tracking progress toward the agency's strategic goals and priorities. Certain demographic information is required in data collection (e.g. race/ethnicity, marital status or gender). In the vast majority of data collection tools and systems, there is no requirement for, or capacity to indicate that a client is LGBTQ. As a result, there is very little accurate tracking and reporting on outcomes for LGBTQ clients. For example, few agencies have data on recruitment, licensing, placement and longer-term outcomes with the LGBTQ community, and many agencies rely solely on anecdotal "data."
There are relatively simple, and low or no-cost approaches to creating a data collection system that captures information about LGBTQ clients. For example, you can create an Excel spreadsheet to use as a supplement to your current data collection tools, which can capture information on sexual orientation and gender identity of applicants/clients.
Ideally, data collection begins at the first contact, whether it's a phone call in response to a recruitment ad or an email that comes through your website. By "counting" LGBTQ clients early on, you can identify which of your outreach activities or public relations approaches are effective with the LGBTQ audience, and you can track the services and outcomes as they move through the process.
Consider data collection in any and all of these program areas and processes that apply for your agency:
- Recruitment/outreach activities (on-site and off-site)
- Intake call
- Orientation meetings
- Application forms
- Homestudy forms
- (Past/present) client consumer surveys
For more information on data collection, visit hrc.im/acaf-sogie.