Oakbrook Terrace, IL — Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois ( LCFS ), the second largest community-based provider of child welfare services in Illinois, including foster care and adoption, proudly announced that it has received the 2020 "Innovator in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ Youth & Families" seal from the HRC Foundation's All Children — All Families ( ACAF ) program. LCFS is one of the only organizations in Illinois being recognized at this top tier.
Today, the ACAF also unveiled Change-Makers in Child Welfare 2020 — a report highlighting the program's partnership with 100 organizations across the country working to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community, including children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. LCFS is one of these partnering organizations, which serve more than 600,000 clients annually in 28 states, and employ more than 15,000 workers.
"These are challenging times and we've all been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, but LGBTQ children and families, like other populations, have been disproportionally affected," explained LCFS President and CEO Mike Bertrand. "LCFS is committed to being an active part of a just society and we encourage others to join us in making a commitment to ensure we are welcoming to all. Because every child and family deserves to feel supported and affirmed."
"Today, children in foster care are facing a national crisis on top of a personal crisis. Our work to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in child welfare is more important than ever," said HRC President Alphonso David. "The organizations highlighted in this report are working with the Human Rights Campaign to ensure anti-LGBTQ bias does not get in the way of life-saving services for children and families."
The report's release comes during National Foster Care Month — a month aimed at raising awareness of the needs of children and youth in foster care across the U.S. — and a time when many are sounding the alarm about the particular risks foster youth face due to COVID-19. LGBTQ-inclusion work in foster care systems could not be more important. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care and face increased risk of both negative experiences and outcomes:
Up to 30% of youth in foster care are LGBTQ;
LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to report being treated poorly as their non-LGBTQ peers while in care;
LGBTQ youth have a greater average number of placements than their non-LGBTQ peers;
LGBTQ youth are more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to be placed in congregate care, including group homes.
"I think that all foster parents out there should give youth who are from the LGBTQ community a chance," explained Danny, a transgendered foster youth. "You shouldn't judge someone based on what they like. They still deserve to be in a good home."
Since 2007, hundreds of child welfare agencies across the U.S. have used ACAF's resources to enhance their efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for LGBTQ youth and families. Read the full report here.
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois is a leading provider of a variety of child welfare services, including foster care, adoption, counseling and preventative programs. As a welcoming organization, LCFS serves people of all faiths, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender-identifications. If you or someone you know is interested in providing a safe and nurturing home to children in need through foster care or adoption, learn more at www.lcfs.org or contact ( 800 ) 363-LCFS.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
—From a press release