Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, released Promising Practices for Serving Transgender & Non-Binary Foster & Adoptive Parents, a groundbreaking new guide designed to help foster care and adoption agencies recruit, certify and support qualified transgender and non-binary adults to become resource parents for young people who need safe, welcoming homes.
“With more than 100,000 young people awaiting adoption across the country, it is urgent for all prospective foster and adoptive parents, including trans and non-binary adults, to feel safe and welcomed in our nation’s foster care system,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training. “Discrimination and disrespectful treatment too often create significant barriers for transgender and non-binary people wishing to become resource parents. All parents, no matter their gender identity, deserve the same opportunities to welcome youth into their families, and this detailed resource provides agencies with the information and tools they need to make that a reality.”
The guide offers information on inclusive policies, practices, terminology, and the current legal landscape for LGBTQ prospective parents. It also provides safe and affirming techniques for trans-inclusive data collection, recruitment, and training for agency staff and volunteers. It’s release coincides with National Adoption Month, which is marked every November.
“From Florida to California, foster care and adoption agencies have been reaching out to us, seeking more information on including and supporting both transgender and non-binary parents and youth,” said Alison Delpercio, Deputy Director of HRC’s Children, Youth and Families Program. “Through trainings, the implementation of inclusive policies, and the information contained in this guide, practitioners will gain a fuller perspective on the challenges facing transgender and non-binary adults and learn best practices on how to better welcome them.”
Delpercio continued, “Transgender and non-binary people are fully equipped to be loving and caring resource parents and many bring unique strengths to supporting children and youth with experiences in the foster care system. We just need to create the structures to support these parents.”
The guide also features the personal accounts of transgender and non-binary adoptive parents across the country. A transgender foster dad from California shares the fears he had before becoming a foster parent: “I was afraid of the process because I was certain I would have been humiliated for being transgender. In the past, I had to endure a lot of negative attitudes and verbal harassment simply for being transgender, and I was afraid of disclosing my gender history to my case manager for similar reasons. Since there were no other visible transgender and non-binary foster parents, I wasn’t sure what I was going to encounter.”
An estimated two million LGBTQ adults in the U.S. are interested in adoption, but the LGBTQ community often remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care. This guide will help agencies increase their pool of prospective foster and adoptive parents by ensuring they have the policies and practices in place to welcome and support LGBTQ resource families.
HRC’s All Children – All Families project promotes LGBTQ cultural competency among child welfare agencies through innovative resources, including an online agency self-assessment tool, comprehensive staff training, free technical assistance and more. Agencies across the country recognize the importance of this work and use ACAF resources to improve practice with LGBTQ youth and families.
Click here to read the report.