Post submitted by J.P. Regis, HRC Children,Youth & Families Program Manager
Throughout November, HRC is proud to celebrate National Adoption Month (NAM), a nationwide effort to bring awareness to the more than 400,000 children and youth waiting for a permanent family.
This year’s celebration coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) project. Since 2006, the project has worked with child welfare agencies to ensure all children in foster care have access to all families that offer safety, permanency and well-being.
While we know that LGBTQ parents are successfully raising children and that there an estimated two million LGBTQ adults interested in becoming parents, the LGBTQ community remains an untapped resource for foster care and adoption agencies. When ACAF launched, the project aimed to break down barriers for LGBTQ adults to become foster or adoptive parents. Over the years, the project has expanded its resources to ensure LGBTQ youth in foster care receive the support and affirmation they need and deserve.
The project’s national training program has conducted trainings all around the country; building the child welfare field’s capacity to provide LGBTQ-inclusive services to thousands of youth and families.
Nancy Ronquillo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Home & Aid in Chicago, Illinois, had this to say about the impact ACAF had at the agency:
“Working with All Children – All Families, we were able to find areas where we needed to make some improvements and provide excellent training to our entire Foster Care and Adoption services staff. The whole process has made our agency more effective at attracting LGBTQ parents which means we are doing a better job protecting the children we serve.”
The ACAF team sends its sincere gratitude to the handful of agencies that began this work with us back in 2006; from Family Builders in Oakland, California, to Adoptions Together in Silver Spring, Maryland. Since then, hundreds of agencies have utilized ACAF training and technical assistance resources. The current list of official participants spread across 29 states.
During this challenging time for some of those in the LGBTQ community, the ACAF team hopes that this success serves as encouragement to those interested in becoming foster/adoptive parents. There are agencies all around the country committed to providing welcoming and affirming services to help you create your family and ACAF is honored to be a part of that process.