Interested in participating in the annual All Children - All Families Agency Self-Assessment? Request to participate today!
Participating agencies are given access to comprehensive resources, including an online self-assessment tool, expert webinars on LGBTQ+ topics, technical assistance, and more. All at NO cost!
For agencies that are only interested in LGBTQ+ inclusion training and prefer not to engage in the Agency Self-Assessment process, All Children - All Families also has a National Training Program. Please note the training program is separate from the Agency Self-Assessment process.
HRC's All Children – All Families, a project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, promotes LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices among child welfare agencies and formally recognizes those agencies that are leading the field with innovative approaches to inclusion.
Research demonstrates the crucial nature of this work. LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care, many having been rejected by their families because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Too often these young people then enter child welfare systems that further traumatize them due to a lack of inclusive policies and practices. At the same time, the LGBTQ+ community remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care. For these reasons, the project focuses on supporting agencies’ efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being by improving practice with LGBTQ+ youth and families. Since the project began in 2007, hundreds of agencies across the country have recognized the importance of this work and utilized ACAF resources.
All Children - All Families resources are tailored toward child welfare agencies (e.g., public or private agencies that provide foster care or adoption-related services) and these agencies are eligible to be formally recognized for their participation. Organizations that fall outside of child welfare are still welcome to take advantage of the project's tools (online self-assessment, resource compilations, technical assistance, training and webinars).
Further, for private contract agencies, the participation process is going to be most helpful and applicable to those that are large enough to have the organizational infrastructure in place for policy and practice assessment and implementation. Smaller agencies (e.g., those with less than 25 or so employees) and/or those just getting started in service delivery may find the formal participation process doesn’t fit but they may still take advantage of project resources.
All Children - All Families engages with agencies on an annual cycle beginning in the fall of each year. An interested agency can request to participate at any time and the ACAF team will be in touch to connect the agency with the available resources given where the timing falls within the annual cycle. In order to be eligible for formal recognition for its participation, an agency must begin the participation process no later than December.
At the start of the cycle, participants are given access to a customized Agency Self-Assessment tool (completed online) which assists them in measuring their current level of LGBTQ+ inclusion. The assessment focuses on seven key areas of policy and practice benchmarks. Participating agencies that demonstrate a minimum level of LGBTQ+ inclusion will be formally recognized at the end of the annual cycle and celebrated throughout the year as benchmarks are met. The assessment also has best practices designed specifically for CASA/GAL affiliates and Adoption Exchanges.
In addition to the assessment, ACAF provides individualized technical assistance as well as group-based sessions to facilitate learning between and among participating agencies as they work toward benchmarks. Participating agencies also enroll staff members in the All Children - All Families Webinar Series to provide professional development opportunities specific to LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Participating agencies are recognized at three different levels of inclusion, depending on the extent to which they have implemented LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices and ACAF provides resources and technical assistance to help agencies at all levels. This recognition enhances agencies’ efforts to establish a track record of LGBTQ+ inclusion and build meaningful relationships with LGBTQ+ communities in their area. Read more about the tiers of recognition.
At this level, agencies are often at the early stages of inclusive policy and practice implementation. Benchmarks focus on establishing nondiscrimination protections, providing staff with online learning related to LGBTQ+ topics and improving LGBTQ+ inclusion in forms, paperwork and messaging. This tier’s requirements are meaningful and achievable for agencies beginning their work on LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Tier Benchmark Requirements
Non-Discrimination: Client Non-Discrimination & Employment Non-Discrimination
Staff Training: Webinar Participation Requirement
Rolling Out The Welcome Mat: LGBTQ+ Inclusive Forms & Visual Cues
Listed in All Children - All Families annual report celebrating agencies that have committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Recognized in “Field Forward,” All Children - All Families monthly newsletter reaching thousands of child welfare professionals.
Added to All Children - All Families map of LGBTQ+ inclusive agencies.
At this level, agencies have implemented the essential elements of LGBTQ+ inclusion in policies and affirming practices. Benchmarks go beyond basic non-discrimination protections to the policies and practices necessary to actively “roll out the welcome mat” to the LGBTQ+ community. These agencies have also assessed their practices specific to youth and parents to ensure LGBTQ+ inclusion and acted to make these efforts sustainable for the long-term. Organizations that achieve the Solid Tier receive the “You Are Welcome Here” Seal of Recognition.
Tier Benchmark Requirements
To achieve this level of recognition, the core policy and practice areas in categories 1-6 must be in place:
Staff Training: Webinar Participation Requirement & Basic Ongoing Training Plan
Rolling Out The Welcome Mat
Parent Best Practices*
Youth Best Practices*
Sustainability & Capacity Building
*Note to Adoption Exchanges: Adoption Exchanges participating in All Children - All Families will be assessed on Adoption Exchange-specific benchmarks instead of “Parent Best Practices” and “Youth Best Practices.” These Adoption Exchange benchmarks are required for the Solid Tier. Click here for more information.
In addition to the recognition opportunities outlined above, Solid Foundation organizations also enjoy the following benefits:
Awarded “You Are Welcome Here” Seal of Recognition with HRC’s brand, certifying you as an LGBTQ+ welcoming and affirming agency.
Included in All Children - All Families public listings (eg. webpages, outreach collateral, etc.).
Added to All Children - All Families map of LGBTQ+ inclusive agencies.
Celebrated on HRC’s blog with a post highlighting your agency’s Solid tier achievement (optional)
Press release template provided by HRC for agency’s communications (optional)
At this level, agencies are pushing themselves beyond the solid foundation they have built and implementing innovative approaches to LGBTQ+ inclusion in each of the seven key policy and practice areas. Benchmarks at this level also require agencies to demonstrate leadership in areas like policy advocacy or organizational partnerships. Organizations that achieve the Innovative Tier receive the “Innovator” Seal of Recognition
Tier Benchmark Requirements
To achieve this level of recognition, the core policy and practice areas in categories 1-6 must be in place. In addition, agencies must demonstrate at least one example of innovation in practice areas 2-7.
Staff Training: Webinar Participation Requirement & Advanced Ongoing Training Plan
Rolling Out The Welcome Mat
Parent Best Practices
Youth Best Practices
Sustainability & Capacity Building
Leadership & Innovation
In addition to the recognition opportunities outlined above, Innovative organizations also enjoy the following benefits:
Exclusively awarded Seal of Recognition as an “Innovator in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ+ Youth & Families”
Provided with a poster of “Innovator” Seal of Recognition for agency display
Become priority agency for features in All Children - All Families online learning offerings (optional)
Become eligible for HRC’s National Foster Care Month and National Adoption Month blog series (optional)
Featured in HRC social media postings (optional)
Support for agency-hosted Seal of Recognition presentation event (optional)
After an agency completes the All Children - All Families Request to Participate form, they can begin the first step of the participation process! To start, agencies should select a team of staff members who will collaborate on leading the organization’s engagement with All Children - All Families. Depending on an agency’s size, the team can range from two people to a 15-person steering committee (for larger, public agencies). In order to determine who will be on the team, think about which colleagues oversee the policies and practices that are included in the Benchmarks of LGBTQ+ Inclusion.
Next, all new participants should schedule an onboarding call with a member of the ACAF team. Returning participants do not have to have an onboarding call unless there have been substantial changes at your agency. If you have new staff completing the process, please email that information to the team.
Ensuring buy-in from leadership is essential to any organizational change effort. To assist in this important step, ACAF provides an “Executive Briefing” webinar tailored to agency leaders. All participating agencies are required to have at least one senior leader attend a briefing during the participation process and are encouraged to do so early in the engagement cycle.
Learn more and register for the Executive Briefing.
Presented by: All Children - All Families | 60 minutes
This webinar is designed for executives interested in gaining greater awareness about themselves and their organizations, and to specifically offer proven leadership and innovation approaches that can create a more LGBTQ+ inclusive organization. Learn how the All Children - All Families Benchmarks of LGBTQ+ Inclusion align with your agency’s diversity and inclusion vision, understand why cultivating champions on your leadership team is essential, and explore sustainability strategies to ensure changes stick over the long-run.
After the team finalizes the Agency Self-Assessment for the year's cycle, we will send each participating agency unique login information. Once the tool is accessed, it will guide an agency’s review of the Benchmarks of LGBTQ+ Inclusion. Agencies are required to complete the assessment by the end of February each year, at which point ACAF works with agencies to finalize their responses for that year’s cycle.
As an agency is working to complete its assessment (November - February), necessary policy and practice changes will be clear. Each question in the tool is labeled with the Tier of Recognition that requires the best practice. If you respond "no" to a question that is labeled with your goal Tier of Recognition, that is the policy and practice implementation you need to complete by the end of February. Throughout this stage, ACAF resources such as model policies, individual, and group technical assistance sessions are available to assist in implementing the improvements necessary to achieve the Benchmarks of LGBTQ+ Inclusion in a particular tier. The assessment also has best practices designed specifically for CASA/GAL affiliates and Adoption Exchanges.
Each annual assessment cycle, All Children - All Families offers group-based technical assistance (TA) for its participating agencies. Each TA session provides the opportunity to connect and learn from peers in the field working to implement these policy and practice changes.
The sessions are 60-minutes and designed for the agency staff member(s) that are leading the All Children - All Families engagement at your agency. These leads should also consider inviting agency team members who are integral to the work towards particular benchmarks. It is highly recommended that prior to attending a TA session, participants have reviewed ACAF's Benchmarks of LGBTQ+ Inclusion and the Agency Self-Assessment.
A key component of ACAF participation is the professional development available to agency staff through the project’s annual webinar series. Participating agencies are required to meet specific participation goals based on the tier they are pursuing. Learn more here.
After agencies submit the self-assessment, ACAF works with them to finalize their responses. This process includes opportunities to further discuss policy and practices, provide updates to ACAF, and be informed of the agency’s final Tier of Recognition (typically by mid-May) that will be included in our annual report. Participating agencies are recognized at three different levels of LGBTQ+ inclusion, depending on the extent to which they have implemented LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices. The description and recognition opportunities for each tier are outlined below.
Participating in All Children - All Families will give you and your organization the resources and technical assistance needed to make significant progress toward your goal of improving practice with LGBTQ+ children, youth and families.
Click Here to Download PDF of Benchmarks for CASA/GAL Affiliates
CASA/GAL affiliates participating in All Children - All Families are assessed on the following policy and practice areas:
CASA/GAL affiliates should implement the following key practices to ensure that LGBTQ+ adults are welcomed and included as CASA/GAL volunteers. Where applicable, parent training and support materials should include considerations for caring for LGBTQ+ youth. Each practice below is required for the Solid Tier.
CASA/GAL targets LGBTQ+ volunteers in recruitment efforts (e.g., using ads featuring LGBTQ+ volunteers, attending LGBTQ+ events, partnering with LGBTQ+ community groups, and engaging current LGBTQ+ volunteers as ambassadors).
CASA/GAL ensures LGBTQ+ volunteers feel included in volunteer trainings (e.g., trainers are prepared to deliver LGBTQ+ related content and skilled in creating an inclusive space for LGBTQ parents).
CASA/GALS’s volunteer trainings provide information on creating a safe and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ youth (e.g., agency LGBTQ +youth policy, research on LGBTQ+ youth in care, affirming caregiver behaviors, etc.).
CASA/GAL provides LGBTQ+ inclusive ongoing support and education to existing volunteers.
CASA/GAL provides staff with guidance on conducting LGBTQ+ affirming volunteer interviews/assessments.
CASA/GAL tracks data on the number of LGBTQ+ volunteers served (e.g., information on number of LGBTQ+ volunteers approved and number of placements, etc.).
CASA/GAL identifies and utilizes a list of LGBTQ+ competent referrals for outside services for volunteers.
Click Here to Download PDF of Benchmarks for Adoption Exchanges
Adoption Exchanges participating in All Children - All Families are assessed on the following policy and practice areas:
Adoption Exchanges should implement the following key practices to ensure that their services are LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming. Each practice below is required for the Solid Tier. If any of the services do not apply to an Adoption Exchange’s practices, there is an opportunity to indicate “Not Applicable” in the Agency Self-Assessment.
Adoption Exchange provides staff guidance on handling SOGIE-related disclosures in child-centered recruitment.
Adoption Exchange advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming practices in child welfare systems (both generally and case-specific).
Adoption Exchange provides LGBTQ+ inclusive post-permanency/ongoing support and education to families.
Adoption Exchange’s public education/information sharing resources are inclusive of LGBTQ+ specific topics.
Adoption Exchange provides other LGBTQ+ inclusive services.
Under certain circumstances, participants in All Children - All Families may do so on behalf of more than one agency location. Typically All Children – All Families staff will discuss this option with an agency at the beginning of the participation process, during the onboarding call. The "Agency Information" section of the assessment gives you the opportunity to indicate whether you are completing the assessment on behalf of a "single agency location" or "multiple agency locations."
In order to participate on behalf of "multiple agency locations,” assessment answers must apply to all locations listed and a list of each agency location must be uploaded.
Agencies are permitted to complete an assessment on behalf of multiple locations under these conditions:
Each location represents an actual "brick and mortar" agency site that recruits, licenses, supports and/or makes placements with foster/adoptive families and/or provides direct services to youth in out-of-home care.
Each location has full-time staff.
The policies and practices covered in Non Discrimination, Staff Training and Rolling Out The Welcome Mat are standard across each location (including evidence of how the policies are shared with staff members and clients).
Sufficient evidence can be provided that the best practices covered in all remaining sections are met at each location.
Note: If an agency’s multiple locations are in different states and each of the conditions above are not clearly met, it is highly recommended that the agency participates on a site-by-site or state-by-state basis.
If an agency meets the conditions outlined above, then once the assessment is completed, its multiple agency locations will be indicated in public listings of participating agencies in one of two ways:
If space allows, explicitly listing the multiple locations on the database itself. If the list of locations is longer than two or three individual city/county sites, then only the agency’s headquarters location will be listed on the database and "(multiple locations)" will be indicated next to the agency’s name and headquarters location, with a link to the agency’s website
The All Children – All Families map will also show a marker at the headquarters location with a link within the agency description to the agency website
Participants in All Children – All Families may do so on behalf of an entire agency or a specific division within the agency. Under certain circumstances (see below), it may be best for an agency to participate on behalf of a specific agency division.
Some of the agency’s service areas are outside ACAF’s scope (mandatory)
All Children – All Families assists agencies in their efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for youth in foster care by increasing agencies’ capacity to serve both LGBTQ+ foster/adoptive parents and LGBTQ+ youth in care. While many of ACAF’s benchmarks are applicable regardless of service area (for example client non-discrimination and employment non-discrimination) ACAF’s expertise as a program is specific to services for youth and families related to foster care/adoption/child welfare services.
For this reason, an agency with multiple divisions that provide a mix of child welfare services and services outside of that realm, will be approved to participate on behalf of the child welfare division(s). For example, “Lighthouse Youth Services (Foster Care & Adoption Services).”
The agency (usually public or a large private provider) chooses to focus efforts on one division (optional)
All Children – All Families takes a comprehensive approach to assessing an agency’s policies and practices related to serving LGBTQ+ youth and families. We strongly encourage agencies within ACAF’s scope to assess their full array of services. However, for some agencies (mostly larger public and private agencies), it may be preferable to participate on behalf of a specific division.
If an agency meets the conditions outlined above, then once the assessment is completed, all public listings appear as follows:
The agency’s name in all public listings of participants will make it clear that only the specific division is participating in All Children – All Families (e.g., New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Trenton, NJ)
All use of a Seal of Recognition and references to your agency’s status as achieving the “Solid” or “Innovative” Tier of recognition must be specific to this Division