All Children - All Families: Tips for Successful LGBTQ+ Staff Training Efforts

Training your staff on LGBTQ+ inclusion can be a daunting task. How do you ensure that your agency employees are fully competent in serving and supporting LGBTQ+ children, youth and families?

Below, we've included a quick overview of what our strategies entail:

Assess your training needs 

  • Complete an assessment of your staff’s current LGBTQ+ inclusion to measure staff members’ LGBTQ+ related knowledge, skills, attitudes, experience, and perceptions of agency climate.
  • Engage many voices in planning your staff training and broader diversity and inclusion initiatives to consider the needs of all staff members and garner varied perspectives in the planning process.

Tailor training offerings based on the needs of different staff members

  • Train all staff members on foundation-level material to encourage collaborative, respectful discussion and buy-in.
  • Provide advanced, role-specific training for program and direct service staff to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary to support and serve their LGBTQ+ clients.

Identify quality training providers

  • When assessing your training options, consider training content, trainer expertise, and trainer experience. 
  • National training providers include:
    • All Children – All Families National Training Program. ACAF has developed an expert LGBTQ+ inclusion training program that can be customized for the needs of individual agencies serving children, youth and families. Learn more at
    • R.I.S.E. Training Model. Based at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, this training program teaches child welfare professionals foundational information about sexual orientation and gender identity, focused on the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in foster care.
    • REACHING HIGHER: A Curriculum for Foster/Adoptive Parents and Kinship Caregivers Caring for LGBTQ Youth.  (National Center for Child Welfare Excellence, 2015) This curriculum offers information about the needs of LGBTQ youth to help prepare foster, kinship, and adoptive parents to care for LGBTQ youth.
    • Online Learning Offerings – Many behavioral health and child welfare training providers offer basic LGBTQ+ training and webinars.
      • All Children – All Families has a webinar archive with over 40 recorded LGBTQ+ inclusion webinars here.  
      • The Center for the Study of Social Policy offers recorded webinars here.
      • The Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative Center for States compiles recorded webinars here.
  • Find local providers among these common sources:
    • Local LGBTQ+ Community Centers. Many communities have a local LGBT Center nearby. These organizations may have staff who provide trainings to local agencies, or know of the expert trainers in your area.
    • Local LGBTQ+ Youth Centers. Lambda Legal maintains a list of state and national resources for LGBTQ young people both in and out of care. 
    • State LGBTQ+ Organizations – There are often state-wide advocacy organizations for LGBTQ+ concerns that may also be able to point you in the direction of local trainers and experts.
      • Visit Equality Federation to find your state group.
      • Equaldex is another listing of LGBTQ+ groups, which may provide training or connect you to an expert in your area.
    • Local colleges/universities.
    • Word of mouth.

Conduct LGBTQ+ training on an ongoing basis

  • Agencies should ensure that all new hires receive LGBTQ+ inclusion training through agency-specific training or even an external provider.
  • Look for “low hanging fruit” when integrating LGBTQ+ content into current staff learning opportunities like team meetings or film screenings. 
  • Consider a variety of sources when planning ongoing learning, including online learning, partner organizations, in-service trainings, and more.
    • Online-learning offerings from local and national providers. 
    • Partner organizations’ training activities.
    • LGBTQ+ related workshops at local or state conferences.
    • In-service trainings on LGBTQ+ topics. 
    • Distribution of LGBTQ+ resources.

Consider building internal capacity with a Training of Trainers

  • Agencies often weigh the costs and benefits of relying on outside experts for ongoing staff training versus those of investing in the development of internal experts capable of delivering LGBTQ+ inclusion. The upfront investment of time and funds may be significant when committing to internal trainer development but the benefits of having internal trainers are numerous and long-lasting.
    • Things to consider include: Number of staff, current staff training capabilities, and access to potential trainers with existing LGBTQ competency.

Additional Resources

All Children – All Families maintains a comprehensive Resource List for serving and supporting LGBTQ+ children, youth and families at ACAF Resources. This list includes studies and reports relevant to the field, guides to best practice, and training resources.

For more information on All Children – All Families, or on how to secure quality LGBTQ+ training for your agency, email